If you have been following my stories, then you know that Lynn is my best friend. Lynn is a very good person and she would do anything for anyone; especially me because I’m her best friend. But, I would do anything for her too. Lynn and I have been friends for several years now, and her family has practically adopted me. I think the world of all of them and I feel right at home being around them. Lynn’s parents decided that for Lynn’s and her sister’s birthday they would take them to the mountains as a present. And fortunately for me, I was invited to go to Gatlinburg with them. And of course I jumped at the opportunity to go.
We left out on a Tuesday morning. We took two vehicles and were to meet up for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel that was about an hour away. Both vehicles arrive within five minutes of each other and we all sat down for a good breakfast. The waitress came up to our table and asked, “Are ya’ll here for all the hoopla?” And Lynn said, “What hoopla?” The waitress replied, “Didn’t you know? Smokey Robinson is sitting right over there.” Even though Smokey Robinson was a bit before our time, we all recognized his name and we started trying to think of songs he sang. Lynn and I both got out our Iphones and while Lynn was Googling it, I was on Youtube finding songs. Once I found one of the songs he sang, I turn the volume up as loud as it would go and I played, “I Second that Emotion”. We were all sitting around our table singing and I was trying to convince Lynn and her sister to go over and have Smokey sign their birthday cards. And they did. I even talked to Smokey and he was so nice. I told him, “Smokey, I love your music.” Then he hugged me and said, “I love you too.” And I thought, “I didn’t say I loved you, only your music.”, but I didn’t say anything, I just smiled.
Once we finished meeting Smokey and eating breakfast, we hit the road again. On the way to Gatlinburg, I asked Lynn what kind of activities she had planned for us. She said she wanted to go white water rafting and zip lining. Well, I had been white water rafting once in my life and really didn’t want to do it again. You see, my ex and I took a couple of trips to Alaska, and once we went rafting down the Nenana River. And, of course, my ex chose an all day trip so we were on that river for eight hours. Now, I don’t know why the Nenana River guide liked me so well, but he did. Every time we hit a rapid, he would make sure the water splashed on me and I would get soaked, and every time I would scream, “That water’s ice cold.” I don’t remember the guide’s name, but I called him Willie because he looked like a much younger Willie Nelson. I also remember being terrified the entire eight hours, and although no one fell out of our boat, the other boats were losing passengers left and right. I also remember when I got off of that raft that day and stepped onto dry land, I swore I would never go white water rafting again. So, you can see why I was reluctant to go white water rafting with Lynn, but I did. And unlike that previous rafting trip, I had the best time and I am ready to do it again.
The other thing Lynn talked me into doing was zip lining. It is very strange that she would want to do that because she is afraid of heights. I admit, I am afraid of heights too, but not nearly as much as Lynn. I remember once, we went to this amusement park and there was this ride called “The Shock Drop”. This ride took you straight up in the air about 100 feet and once it reached the top, it quickly dropped you back down to the platform. Well, we stood there and watched other people ride it and kids were riding it, so we thought, “How bad could be?” Lynn really wanted to ride it, so I said, “Okay, let’s do it.” We got on the ride and we buckled up. When the ride got full a few minutes later, the ride operator came around to make sure we were buckled in good. Lynn said to the guy, “I’m a bit scared.” He grinned and said, “You won’t be scared but about 50 seconds.” And then he pressed the “Go” button, and up we went. I bet we weren’t five feet from the platform and Lynn said, “Okay, I’m ready to get off.” I replied, “You’ll get off in about 50 seconds.” We went up and up and up and Lynn kept saying, “I don’t like this!”, and I kept saying, “Stop it, you’re making me nervous.” When we finally reached the top, I heard a loud click and down we went and I screamed so loud that I lost my voice for two days. Lynn didn’t scream, she just laughed all the way down. But we never rode that ride again.
I started thinking about this zip lining thing, and the more I thought about it, the more I was determined to do it. Besides, you only die once, so why not die having fun? I did talk Lynn into doing a short 2 hours trip, just in case we didn’t like it and she was fine with that. The morning arrived and we drove down to the zip lining place. They put harnesses on us and gave us leather gloves and a hard hat and went through the safety drill. There were about 15 of us and none of us had ever zip lined before, so I believe we were all a bit apprehensive when we boarded the bus to take us up the mountain. Once we reached the top, we all got off the bus and were given instructions on how to guide ourselves, how to break and they told us to make sure we jumped far away from the platform so we didn’t hit our butts or back or something. The entire time, I was looking down and thinking, “Damn that’s a long way down.” There were about five of the zip line employees with us and after we were informed on what to do, it was time for us to zip line.
I really wanted to go first just to get it over with, but I ended up next to last. Lynn did let me go before her. I stood there on the side of that mountain watching everybody walk on the suspended bridge to the first platform. They looked as scared as I felt, and even though I was scared, I was a little bit excited about it. Then it was my turn. One employee hooked me onto the steel cable and I slowly walked across the two foot wide walkway and arrived safely at the platform. Once I was ready to zip line, I looked down and thought, “Damn, that sure is a long way down.” Then the guy said, “Ready?” I said, “Ready as I’ll ever be.” Then I jumped off that platform and zipped all the way across. The guy on the other side caught me and helped me stand up and I was so happy I had made it across safely and then I thought, “Only eight more of these jumps to go.”
We all had the best time that day zipping from one platform to the other. However, there were a couple of incidences that I should talk about. The first one was when one of the participants zipped lined right into the tree on the platform. I was standing in line waiting for my turn and watching everyone else go across and I promise you, this guy hit the tree so hard I think the only thing that kept him from not being knocked out was his hard hat. Then, once I didn’t jump away from the platform far enough, and yes, my butt hit the wooden platform and as I was zipping away I heard the instructor say, “See, that’s what you don’t want to do.” I thought, “Leave it to me to set the example.” Not only did I hit my butt once, but I hit it again on the next platform. It didn’t hurt though, but when we were finished I kept thinking that something was wrong. As we were walking back to the hotel, I turned my butt to Lynn and said, “I feel like I still have that harness on, do you?” She said, “No.” And just as soon as we got back to the room, I bent over to take off my shoes and my favorite pair of jeans I was wearing split from the back pocket down. I didn’t hear the rip, but I felt the cool air hit my butt.. I started laughing and turned my butt toward Lynn and said, “Well, seventy bucks for a pair of jeans, a hundred to zip line and look at this. Priceless!” Lynn just died laughing. 😛
God Bless Our Troops!