October 7, 2002
It was the summer of ’92 and I had just completed kindergarten, being six years of age. My grandfather’s company picnic was planned for the last weekend in July, as usual, and my grandma got tickets for us. The company picnic was to take place at Waldameer, like it does every year. My grandparents live in Elk County, so every year during the week of the picnic they come up to Erie. They were going to bring their camper up so that they could camp at Sarah’s Cove Campground. This is how the fiasco I got myself into all began. I did not learn one lesson this week but two lessons, both the hard way.
School was out for the summer and the weekend of the Picnic consisted of very nice weather. My family and I went up during the weekend to visit my grandparents who had also brought two of my cousins with them. I brought my bike, still in training wheels, with me so that I could ride it on the trail. I told my grandpa I was ready to ride my bike without training wheels, so he took them off for me. In an hour or so I had the hang of it and was riding all over the place. My cousin, who was already able to ride a bike, and I decided to go on a bike ride around the campground. I did very good not wrecking even once, until we reached the bridge.
I may have made pretty good progress at riding a two-wheeler but I was not prepared for the bridge ahead. The bridge had no railing and contained to steel posts that came up through the middle of the bridge for support. I began to ride around the pool and turned too much to the right, this is when I began to fall. I fell off the bridge into the water and rocks below. Being only six, I ran back to the campsite crying. My mother came to the bridge with me and got my bike out of the water. From then on I was sure to be careful when riding my bike or any other vehicle on dangerous terrain.
There was also another incident that occurred during this weekend of camping with my grandparents. My two cousins and I were riding bikes around the campground when we met this kid, who was about our age. This kid had with him a bucket that contained a huge snail inside. We wondered where he got that snail because we wanted one too, so we asked him where he found it and he told us he would show us the spot. Since we were only six we trusted this kid too much and followed him off into the woods to find snails. The kid led us through the woods for about a half of an hour to show us the spot where he found his snail. After awhile we eventually realized that we were lost and that the kid had no idea where we were going.
We had never been in a situation like this and were at a loss as to what we should do. Just then we saw two men biking at the top of a hill. We headed toward where we had seen the bikers and when we reached the top of the hill we found ourselves on the side of a road right next to a BMX course. This was not much of an improvement but it was something at least now we had contact with people. All four of us were only little kids and if someone with bad intents had stopped we probably would not have thought twice about getting in his vehicle. As luck would have not even a minute later a police cruiser rode by and seen four kids standing on the edge of the road and stopped to see what was going on. We told the police officer what had happened and he gladly took us back to our campsite. My parents punished me for running off into the woods and not even letting them know I was gone. I learned a couple valuable lessons that day. One was that you should always let someone know where you are going and what you are doing in case something should happen two you. The other lesson I learned is that God will always provide assistance to those who need it.
The weekend spent camping with my grandparents was certainly filled with excitement. My experiences also taught me many of life’s lessons, the hard way. The experiences I had prevented me from getting myself into those types of sticky situations in the future. We did, after all the excitement, go to Waldameer and we had a great time the weather was great and we all had fun.