By Rick Moore
As a very stylish twelve year old, I wore my Panama Jack hat whenever possible. The truth is, I was more concerned about impressing others with my debonair style than keeping the sun from harming my skin. Since fellow students were not cool enough to wear such a hat, it became my secret weapon to impress the cutest girl in my class. Her older sister had dated my older brother, and our homes were only two blocks apart. We also shared an English class together at school. It was in such class I wrote her a note asking the big question: Do you want to go to the fair this Saturday? Check Yes or No. After folding the note like an expert origami master, it was passed from desk to desk, all while making sure the teacher wasn’t looking. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her open it, mark her response, and discretely refold the paper to make sure none of the other students could take a peak. As the note made the return trip back across the classroom, the anticipation built. Being calm, cool and collective, I placed the note in my pocket until the bell rang. I then strolled into the boys room, headed for a stall, said a quick prayer, and opened the note. To my pleasant surprise, not only was there a huge check by the word Yes, but she also drew a heart next to the check mark!
Since the entrance to the county fairgrounds was within walking distance, we agreed to meet at her home and walk from there. I wore my Panama Jack hat and she wore a pretty pink dress. After buying our tickets, we rode the bumper cars and the Ferris wheel, and then headed for the midway to play a specific game of skill that I was pretty good at. The way that specific game worked is, if someone can knock down all of the milk bottles by hitting them with a softball, that person can then select from any prize hanging on the wall. I do not remember how many times it took, nor how much money it cost me, but eventually the bottles came down. My date was able to pick out any prize she wanted. She chose a straw hat. While it was a bit different from the Panama Jack hat I wore that day, we now both wore straw hats. Strolling side by side through the fair ground, we were like two peas in a pod.
One of my favorite memories of walking the midway is the smell of fresh cooked onions and bell peppers at the Polish sausage stand. I could attend the fair without eating the funnel cakes or the cotton candy, but we absolutely had to have polish sausage sandwiches. After eating, we had two remaining tickets, so we decided to ride on one last attraction before leaving; the Tilt-a-Whirl. Not to give away the ending, but never, ever ride a Tilt-a-Whirl after eating Polish sausages. As we spun around, the taste of bell peppers began to fill my mouth. The good news was the throw-up did not land directly on her pretty pink dress, and my Panama Jack hat was fine. The bad news was, the straw hat she was holding in her lap would never be the same. I walked her home that evening and then ran to the house for a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. It’s not clear why she never went on a second date with me. Who knows? Girls can be so fickle.
There are three coping skills that can help prevent regurgitation. These same skills have helped me with life in general. They are: meditate, take deep breaths, and shift your focus. Why not give these coping skills a WHIRL yourself? Every time it seems the WORLD starts spinning out of control, or things are off TILT, try to apply these three remedies. As for dating advice, you’re on your own.
Rick Moore is Communications Pastor at Destiny Worship Center.