Friday, June 24, 2011


"Dad!  Can I ride again?  Ple-eeese?  I just love The Rocket!"  

The Ocean View Amusement Park was just a few short miles from our house in Norfolk, VA.  Ask any Navy brat from the '50s and they'll be familiar with the town, the park and especially the rickety white wooden rollercoaster.  

My thrill on that ride led to youthful dreams of the ultimate thrill ride.  A few years later I gushed to Doug, my new fiance, "I'd love to parachute from an airplane one day!" 

Eventually the structural integrity of The Rocket was questioned.  Attempts to destroy it by explosives failed.  The park itself became plagued with vice activity. My fun place became scary.

Finally the roller coaster became part of history and was destroyed in the opening scene of a 1979 movie called "The Death of Ocean View Park" starring Mike Conners, of Mannix fame.  It was also featured in another movie called The Rollercoaster with Timothy Bottoms.

My youthful dreams gave way to other dreams as I married Doug and became a mother of three beautiful children.  I traded thrill for peace and joy as a homemaker.  We celebrated that joy my 30th birthday when Doug handed me my gift.

"What's this?"  I smiled.

He was almost trembling with excitement.  I could see this gift was special. "Open it and see."

When I did, I began to read a certificate:

This entitles Kathy Tippett Henderson to
training with an official instructor and
one parachute jump from an airplane. 

I could read no further.  My heart raced.  I looked up and Doug's eyes danced with delight at finding my perfect gift, making my dream come true.  

He beamed.

I gulped.

Finally able to speak, my voice rose higher and louder than usual as I sincerely asked him, "Are you out of your EVER LOVIN' mind, Doug? Is this for real?"

Puzzled, he stammered, "We-well, yeah.  It took some work but you said you always wanted to jump from an airplane so. . ."

"I said that when I was 18 years old, Honey!  I have kids now!  And BONES!  I'd never risk my life now!"  My fun place had become scary.

His smile wilted, chest and shoulders drooped as I rose from my chair-of-terror to offer meager thanks.   Pointless.  Finally I asked, "Can you get a refund, Hon?"

He did.

We've laughed about that over the years.  I've thought about why my dreams changed as I grew up.  Partly because the frontal lobe of my brain was not fully developed at 18.  That's what scientists today tell me.  Something about youthful inability to connect actions with consequences.

Like my beloved rollercoaster I've grown rickety but clocked miles of memories, thrills and even withstood some powerful life-explosives tossed my way.  Yet I too am still standing after the blasts.

I was one of those hold-your-hands-up-all-the-way riders!  I still lift my hands but in surrender to One Who loves me even more than Doug.  He too knows my dreams because my Beloved gave them to me.  I hold a certificate from Him too:

This entitles Kathy Tippett Henderson to 
eternal life with her Creator
and the ultimate thrill of heaven with Him.

Not quite sure when I'll redeem it, but it'll still be good.  My old bones will collapse one day too but I'll lift my arms in praise and be lifted to that celestial peak.  I'll thank my Gift-Giver for the perfect place He prepared for me, making all my dreams come true.

Do you have your ticket? Whether He comes first or we go, it's not too late today.

speed - check
flight - almost check
thrill - check

speed - check
"To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord."
flight - check
"The dead in Christ shall rise first then we which are alive and remain shall be caught UP together to meet Him in the AIR."
thrill - check
"So shall we ever be with the Lord."


  1. Victor Caine (my brother-in-law)commented on your link.
    Victor wrote:

    "I was stationed in Norfolk 1974-1978. We first lived just down te road from the park and drove by it every day. And the ship I help put into commission and worked aboard during those 4 years, the USS South Carolina (CGN37) was decommissioned & scrapped in 1999. :("

  2. Childhood friend and fellow piano teacher, Terri Johnson Seibert, wrote:

    "Mine too! thx for the trip down memory lane!"

  3. Patricia Carpenter (college friend) wrote:

    "I've ridden that myself many, many, many years ago."

  4. Joe Berry commented on your link.
    Joe was a young sailor boy in our church and part of our youth group during his stint.

    Joe wrote: "I just looked at your Kat's Pause and some of the pictures brought back some nice memories of Norfolk and thoughts of the fun that a group of people can have. Sure ruins some of the stories that they tell of Navy people. There were some nice people connected with it and of course the Navy brings those sailors in connect with nice people such as yourself and Fairmont Park FWB church. Had some great memories there. Thanks for the road trip back in my memory."

  5. Kay Singleton (friend from Curves, fellow writer, musician and preacher's wife) wrote to me:

    Great blog. Enjoyed reading and I’m looking for Jesus to come back soon!

    Love ya,
    Kaye ♪♪

  6. Doug Randlett (college friend, now teaching Kent at Liberty in master's class) commented on your link.
    Doug wrote:

    "My childhood amusement park memories started at Kennywood Park, Pittsburgh and concluded as a teen at Buckroe Beach Park, Hampton Va."

  7. Wonderful blog! When you read my book, you'll see that we also went to Norfolk on vacation in the early 1950s. Wouldn't it be cool if our families were there at the same time?

    Unlike you and my siblings, I was never much for roller coasters or anything that involved heights - which still frighten the life out of me. Jumping out of planes? Never entered my mind, even before the frontal lobe was developed! ha

    We do agree on one thing, though--Heaven! And I've got my certificate, too.