Author: Bach, Gene

3 days, 40 years
Yesterday, Thursday, I turned 49 years old. Not the milestone that next year will be I’m sure, but it’s plenty old enough for now. It is interesting to note that since my wife’s birthday is on December 1st, and mine is on January 31st, for exactly two months each year I can claim that I am a year younger than she. It’s good for a few laughs to be sure but alas, what goes around comes around and my “come around” stared yesterday as soon as my eyes opened. However, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was not 49. I was not 48. For those three wonderful days I got to go back in time forty years and be nine again. You see this week I had the great honor of spending three days at Disneyland.

It had been about thirty years since I had been there at all. In fact the last time I can recall setting foot on that hallowed ground was on Grad Night when I received my release from high school. Before that I can remember first going with my parents back in the days of the “E” tickets. Remember those? These days you pay one price to get in and can go on any ride you wish for as many times as you wish. It was an awesome place years ago and it’s an awesome place today.

I think what makes Disneyland such a magical kingdom is that as soon as you enter the gates you become a kid again. Once you start to walk down Main Street you can almost feel yourself shrinking down to a nine year old. Nobody ages there. Nobody is sad. For three days I looked around and saw people of all ages wearing mouse ears, riding attractions designed for very young people and rushing across the square to have their pictures taken with cartoon characters. The one thing that was blatantly obvious was that no matter how silly people were acting, nobody cared; everybody was acting silly. They were all, to the person, acting young.

There were things new to me such as the Indiana Jones ride and the Buzz Lightyear attraction, Star Wars and 3D shows and I participated in them all; sometimes laughing, sometimes screaming, but always having a grand adventure. With all the new and exciting things to see and do the only “ride” I requested to go on twice was the Enchanted Tiki Room. The second time I was in there was on the last night of our trip just awhile before the closing of the park. As I sat watching the birdies do their thing, I thought back to when I had first sat there with my mom and dad many years ago and was so thrilled to be back that I had tears in my eyes. Singing with those mechanical birds was a big deal for me.

But, there was one thing that I had looked forward to for several months, ever since we decided to take the trip: the guy sitting at the Coca-Cola building on Main Street playing the ragtime piano. I missed him for the first two days. He did not have a set schedule and it difficult to catch up with him. After my emotional trip to the Tiki Room I wandered back to that area and sure enough, he was there, playing. I stood next to the Piano while he tickled the ivories, swaying and humming the tunes, and I drifted back to a sunny day many, many years ago when the piano was outside the building. On that day I had sat with my mom for nearly an hour while ragtime piano music filled my ears. I wasn’t there for long, perhaps a half an hour, but those few songs completed my journey.

I would like to take just a minute to urge each of you to try and throw away the chains of time and become a child again, even if for just awhile. If not at Disneyland, then somewhere else: anywhere that can take you to where you can forget all about the cares of this world. The benefits are many while the risks are few and it will well worth the effort. This will be especially useful for those of you who, like me, have a tendency to be too practical or serious. Folks, it’s important to have fun and it is far too easy to forget how to do that.

Now, put on your mouse ears and join me, “Let’s all sing like the birdies sing, tweet, tweet tweet, tweet tweet! Let’s all sing…”
Posted:  2/3/2008

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