I'm going to continue giving you little stories on Thursdays until you tell me to stop. I'm trying to think of a clever little name for my story Thursdays, but I'm drawing a blank. If anyone thinks of anything, they would have my sincere appreciation! Here's another one my mom isn't aware of! I think 30 odd years later she can handle it, though. I think the statue of limitations is up. She can't ground me anymore, anyway...
I first visited Disney World in the spring of 1978, just a few years after it opened, with my marching band. This trip marked both my first flight in an airplane and my first stay in a hotel. We were camping folk, there had never been a need. I dutifully made my bed every morning, to the great amusement of my more worldly roommates.
I'm quite certain that it goes without saying that I was extremely excited. It probably also goes without saying that 'extremely excited' is understating it a bit.
Young? Check. Cute? Check. Uncharacteristically free from parental supervision? Check. This was a recipe for bliss. Just add The Mouse and enjoy liberally.
All the candy bars, magazines and light bulbs (yes, light bulbs) I'd sold to finance this trip were finally paying off. I was in Florida. In April. With my best friends. In the almost brand spankin' new self-proclaimed happiest place on earth.
There was no downside.
We explored Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland thoroughly, as a pack of squeaky squealy teenaged girls. We expected wonder at every turn and we were usually not disappointed. We laughed until our sides ached, developing and nurturing inside jokes that continued to insure a giggle months after we'd returned home.
We marched in the afternoon parade and, as a part of this endeavor, were treated to a peak at backstage Disney. *shudder* We never spoke much of that. We saw characters without their heads on. They were, for the most part, excessively pimpled teenagers. It was like watching Jim Henson speak for Kermit. You know he's there, but you don't want to think about it. Very disillusioning. I shall speak of it no more.
Later that year, over the summer months, our family took another trip to Disney World with family friends. Now, having been there myself only months before, I considered myself sort of an expert on all things Disney. I didn't mind sharing my expertise. I'm a giver like that. I spent a lot of time assuring my travel companions that they needn't worry, I'd show them around. I had, if I haven't made it quite clear, a sort of inflated sense of self-importance about the whole affair.
The night before we were to head to Disney we were staying at a beach not far away. I snuck out of the camper once everyone was asleep to go to a bar. I was nearly sixteen and the drinking age in Florida at the time was eighteen. It was no problem at all to pass. It was a great bar on a pier right over the ocean. I don't remember the name of it, but I do remember that their claim to fame was their Bahama Mama. Drink three of 'em and you could write whatever you wanted on the wall. They made a damn fine Bahama Mama, I must say. At least by the standards set forth by my almost sixteen year old palate. I think I wrote something to that effect on the wall when I earned my turn with the Sharpie.
I returned to camp and no-one was the wiser.
That's not entirely true.
Dave was the eldest of our friends' kids - which still put him at two years younger than me. Dave was not adverse to a little blackmail among friends.
Now anyone who's downed a couple few delicious fruity rum drinks in the course of an evening knows that the evening spent drinking them is WAY more fun than the morning spent recovering from them.
The families' plan was to be on the road early early so that we'd be at Disney when the gates opened. Not a huge problem for anyone but the drivers, since we were traveling in campers. Since the drivers had NOT snuck out to drink rum with boys the night before, it was not a problem at all.
MY problems began, as you can imagine, when I woke up. Looking good, feeling good. Dave whispered in my ear at the next rest stop, "Don't worry. I'm not going to tell anyone."
"And in return?"
"You wound me! I don't want anything in return! I just want you to spend the day with me at Disney. Show me the sights..."
"Ride the rides with me..."
"I don't feel much like..."
"I sure would be sad if you didn't ride the rides with me. I can only hope I wouldn't let any information slip in my saddened state."
He had me by the short ones, kids. What choice did I have but to say yes?
We got to the park and developed a buddy system of sorts. My sister and Dave's sister would be buddies. Me, Dave, and his younger sister, Cass, would be buddies. Safety rules were discussed, tickets were distributed, meet up times were scheduled.
Being the senior member of my little group, as well as a self-proclaimed Disney expert, I assumed I'd be leading our little expedition. "I thought we'd start with..."
"Teacups" interrupted Dave.
"TEAcups?" I said, my eyes narrowing behind my dark shades and attempting to burn holes straight through him.
Cass started chanting, "Tea Cups! Tea Cups!" Dave joined in. Now this was just flat out playing dirty and he knew it. Cass was seven years my junior and I adored her. I could deny her nothing. Dave was not unaware of this fact. Teacups it would be.
Guess who took control of the wheel that controls the spinning in the teacups?
That was just the beginning of the price of Dave's silence.
He did what he could to torture the poor, stupid, know-it-all, hungover teen he held firmly under his thumb. But as a clear testament to the well-earned "Happiest Place on Earth" moniker, it was still a pretty darn good day.
Suck it, Dave.