Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Dizzy Christmas

“How much does a ferris wheel cost?” I was asked at a few dozen meters above ground. With tears in our eyes from the cold, the fall breeze chilling our exposed necks, it’s no wonder birds have feathers for flying around up there.

“Lots.” I said, grinning from cold ear to cold ear. “And if I could, I would buy you one.”

Content with my answer, my partner in ferris-wheel-riding grinned, and we held on dear life.

But for us that day, as well as the night before, our ferris wheel cost us $2 a ride.

The Greater Victoria Downtown Business Association hosted ferris wheel rides in Cenntenial Square, just outside City Hall. Although ferris wheels are a summer tradition, to ride one with Christmas lights twinkling on the surrounding trees and buildings was something we never thought we would be doing less than a month before Christmas.

Our fair weather made ferris wheel riding possible, but as rain had been pummelling the city the week before, I was determined to ride the wheel with my family, in the spirit of Christmas togetherness, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Luckily we had clear skies on both days we went.

The night before at almost freezing temperatures, my whole family of four waited an hour and twenty minutes to ride the 4-minute ride. I pointed out that line-ups at Disneyland (which they have been begging to visit) are over two-hours long. Their moaning stopped short. And I reminded them it’s not every day we ride a ferris wheel at Christmas, and what a neat opportunity this was, and ‘thank you for doing this for your dear sweet mother who does everything for you.’ Their moaning stopped short.

And finally, at 8:45pm, we handed over our twoonies. With me and the uber-teen in one car, and the husband and the tween in the other, snot and tears ran down our faces from the cold as we rose up, over and around for three spins forward, then up, over and around for three spins backward. I leaned forward to snap a picture of the Christmas lights below, scaring the you-know-what out of the uber-teen. “You’re gonna kill me for the sake of a stupid picture!” he bellowed as our car that had precariously tipped forward with my movement righted itself.


Both the uber-teen and tween AND the oldest of the men declared that they DID have a great time, and that it was (with smug smirks of resignation) really cool, indeed. “Pretty neat – thanks for forcing us to come here!” They exuberantly proclaimed as we walked away. Bless their hearts.

They all truly DID have a great time.

So, knowing that the ferris wheel would be in town only one more day, the tween and I headed back downtown the next day – the other two were out earning a living (so we could go on more rides).

This time, daylight made things a whole lot scarier – and MORE FUN. It’s one thing being in the dark, rising up and over, higher than the rooftops that you can barely see. But it’s another to be doing so in the daylight, where you can truly SEE how high you are.

And this time, we were first in line. And we screamed. And we hollered. And our cheeks were red from the cold. And it was as exhiliarating as the night before.

I will never forget riding the ferris wheel with my two teenage boys while Christmas music blasted from the speakers. The looks of sheer joy on their faces rivalled those of Christmas morning.

And when the tween asked me that sunny morning how much a ferris wheel cost (my research would later reveal anywhere from $275,000 to $310,000 if not MORE, depending on the size), and I promised him I would buy him one if I had the money, I realized – this darn well makes up for the all the kiddie rides in the mall I had to refuse my screaming sons of when they were toddlers.

And as we walked away, wobbly-legged and flushed from excitement and cold, he proclaimed words I whole-heartedly echoed and will never forget, “It was the best day EVER!”

Not bad for $2.


  1. The best day ever -- what a comment. Put that in your memory box, ready to warm your heart on the bad days.

    1. Hi Alice - yes, indeed, words to remember, and big dizzy memories to cherish indeed! Thanks for reading! Take care, Lisa

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