As published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Familial smash hit: Bumper cars drive father-daughter joy
By Tom Squitieri
The good news finally came after weeks and weeks of waiting: Our favorite room, the Safari Room, was available the nights we had requested at our favorite bed-and-breakfast a mere stone’s throw away from our favorite amusement park — Knoebels Amusement Resort.
After sharing the glee with my young daughter Gabriella, I asked her what would be the first ride we would take at the park. The Ferris wheel, as in the past? Her first thrill ride, the Froghopper? Or maybe The Rockin’ Tug, which became a new favorite last year?
“The bumper cars,” she said quickly and resolutely. And the answer made me smile again, this time inside, and remember the root of her response.
Three years ago, at the same amusement park across the state in Northumberland County, Gabriella summoned up her courage to try the Skooter, the adult bumper cars. I was happy to oblige her — I always had enjoyed them at Kennywood Park as a young boy. Now, with the grown-up parent goal of enjoying the ride with my 4 1/2-year-old daughter, I was more inclined to avoid jarring collisions than when I was a determined, 14-year-old Mad Max crasher.
So we counted out the tickets, and Gabriella picked out a green car best to her liking. We settled into our seats, the klaxon blew and the cars lurched into action. It seemed to me it was 1966 all over again.