We picked up our youngest daughter yesterday and met our son and his wife and two kids at California Adventure, (a park adjacent to Disneyland.) It seemed that they'd been to Disneyland recently, so they thought we'd try the other park. OMG! I am not a lover of crowds, and just getting into the parking structure was an ordeal. I'm glad we weren't going to Disneyland because it was crowded enough where we were and everybody said that Disneyland was much worse! The only person in the whole wide world I would go to such a place on a major holiday is my little grandson Ben. At 2yrs and 2mos, the little guy was very excited. His brother Luke is only 3mos, and Luke was just happy to be picked up out of the stroller and bounced on our knees every once in a while, he actually seemed to enjoy the music and noise and passers by.
So, I volunteered to watch the baby while the others went on the rides. Watching the people, I got to thinking about the first time I ever went to Disneyland. My mother and father divorced and dad took a job in Orange County. The summer I was to turn 11, my sister, (she was to turn 9), and I flew down from Portland Oregon to stay with Dad for a couple of months. He promised to take us to Disneyland.
Dad bought us special outfits to wear. (I'm giving away my age for the sake of the story, OH WELL!) I'm the same age as Disneyland, born in 1955. People dressed so spiffy back then. It's true! I sound like some old fuddy duddy, but sitting there people watching yesterday I was amazed at how slovenly some were. Good grief, some were down right gross, even wearing dirty clothes.
And, another thing, people are so rude nowadays. Really rude. Even the employees. Shortly after we arrived I went to an espresso cart and ordered a hot coffee for my husband, and I asked if they could make an iced coffee. The dour clerk said, "I guess so." I watched her fill a cup with a small scoop of ice and then pour steaming hot coffee over it. She handed it to me with two lone-ranger-soon-to-be-melted pieces of ice floating on top. "Could I have a cup of ice?" I asked. The operative word here being ICE! She frowned and snapped, "We can't give out cups!" I'd been charged 4 bucks for a few ounces of coffee and a few ice cubes, I thought she could have spared an extra cup of ice, but didn't say so. "Oh," I said, doing my best to remain polite, "then could you put some more ice in here?" By then ALL the ice had melted. She grabbed the cup and filled it with ice, pushing the lid on so tightly atop the overly full cup that coffee poured out the little cross cut for where the straw would go. She slammed the cup down on the counter, covering me and the man standing next to me with sprinkles of coffee, then turned her back. I grabbed a boatload of napkins and sopped up the mess, thinking, "Walt Disney must be rolling over in his grave!"
What hasn't changed? Families. Dad's and Mom's and kids and grandparents delighting in one another's company. We stayed for 10 hours. And I got to know Luke better, and Ben cried when he had to leave us, because he wanted his grandma and grandpa to go home with him. (I learned that he fell asleep five minutes after his head hit the car-seat, and I felt better.) It was a terrific day.
All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.