IAN STEPLETON GRINS as his son grudgingly agrees to take a photo with dear (old?) dad at Great America. 	     Ian Stepleton photo
IAN STEPLETON GRINS as his son grudgingly agrees to take a photo with dear (old?) dad at Great America. Ian Stepleton photo

     SOMETIMES, YOU’VE GOT to accept that you’re getting old.

     Maybe that means not being able to visit places you did as a kid because you moved away.

     Or, maybe that means accepting that your body can’t do the same (dumb) things it did as a teen.

     Sometimes it’s both.

     For me, one of those experiences I felt I’d left behind was visiting my favorite childhood amusement park.

     Just 23 miles from my doorstep as a kid, I spent many a summer day there during my teenage years.

     The best summer? The time when my parents picked up a season pass — definitely got their money’s worth that year.

     With a churro in hand and all the time in the world, I would zip up and down the coasters to my heart’s content as I visited with friends or family.

     Then I came to Wisconsin, went to college and (gulp) became an adult.

     Suddenly, it was time to do “adult things” like working, raising a family, etc.

     Besides, the closest amusement park two and a half hours from here, down in Gurnee, Ill., surely wouldn’t be anything like the one from my childhood. Right?

     Wrong.

     As it turns out, visiting Great America was exactly like stepping back 25 years into my past — or so I discovered when I accompanied my son on a field trip to Great America last month.

     Only one question remained: would riding a roller coaster, a quarter century later ... break me? ...

To read the entire column, including editor Ian and son Andrew’s coincidence of geography, see the June 13, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.