Vacation for our family was usually spent at Medicine Lake in the La Sal Mountains, and an exceptionally long vacation would mean three nights instead of two camping out there on a holiday weekend. But another summer highlight was our family’s annual trip to Lagoon, Utah’s most notable theme park north of Salt Lake City. My brothers and I would count the days until we could go on the promised trip to our version of Disneyland. And we would count how many discount coupons we had painstakingly cut out of milk cartons that would give us extra rides on the roller coasters, boats, planes and little cars.
Lagoon’s rickety white board roller coaster is still my favorite feature there, and it stands sentinel in front of all the newer rides and thrills that have been added. Some of the old attractions are gone, like the haunted house and the fun house, which were actually so terrifying to me that they weren’t much fun.
Inside one of my old jewelry boxes there’s a good luck token from my 6th birthday spent at Lagoon. All I wanted for that birthday was a troll doll, a rabbit’s foot, and a trip to Lagoon. On the midway, one could drop a coin in a machine that would seemingly melt into a good luck charm custom-tailored with your name on it. I still have the token imprinted with an American flag and a four-leaf clover which reads, “Happy Birthday Sena, 6 Years Old. Good Luck.”
I’m turning 50 this week. Such occasions might be marked with a trip across the ocean to foreign lands and foreign fun houses. But I’m too busy to get away, and most of the people I’d like to celebrate with are right here in Moab.
My first thought for a close, fun way to enjoy my half-century was to go to Lagoon. But that won’t happen this week. There’s too much going on here. So I’ll stay and enjoy my friends and family with dinner at the Bar M. Valerie Brown will make a spectacle of me in her cowboy show, and we’ll all laugh a lot. Then maybe I can sneak a cool night at Medicine Lake in a few days. Perhaps I’ll even get out on the river to cool off.
That’s still the rhythm of summer for me.