In Indiana State there is a small town called Santa Claus. When Dan told me we were going to spend our Sunday there, I imagined a place where residents live in a perpetual state of Christmas cheer, constantly toting shopping bags and wearing battery-powered Christmas-bulb earrings. But when we drove into the town yesterday, the place seemed rather quiet and the nearest Christmas tree lights were not even lit. Then we noted the 22-foot tall statue of Santa Claus erected on the highest hill, and the town struck me more as a “Twin Peaks Does Christmas” TV special than the North Pole. It’s quirky, it’s small-town America, and it boasts of some of the best wooden and water coasters in the country at the theme park “Holiday World and Splashin’ Surf.”
That’s where we were headed.
I grew up in California with a Six Flags amusement park within a twenty minute drive. I had a season pass. I was so all over that Six Flags that I thought I owned the place. I knew the times of day that would yield the shortest lines, memorized the sprawling layout, knew how to dupe the coaster “too short” height limit by stuffing my shoes with rocks, knew each coaster so well that I would ride each one anticipating every loop and spiral with a yawn while sipping a latte, not spilling a drop. I OWNED that place.