Summer 2019 – My introduction to Suicides and Water Slides

by Nathan Stout (of

Summertime was always vacation time in our household. Our whole family was local so the only travel we ever did was when we went on vacations. I’ve been (on vacation, not including traveling through or for business) to Florida, Matamoros, Arkansas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado, and many places here in Texas.

Today I’d like to recall my summer trips with my Grandad and his wife. Every other summer they took the boy-grandkids (from both sides of the family) on vacation. The girls went the opposite year. We went to many places and I don’t have lots of memories.. but a few stand out. Once we were staying somewhere in Arkansas and there was a waterside built on the side of a steep hill (a mountain more like). It was a single slide but it was winding and long. I think they paid and you stayed for as long as you wanted and rode as much as you want. What stands out most is this place had the first ‘self serve’ drink station I had ever seen. This was the early 80s and it was truly a rare sight. I couldn’t believe it. Why would you put kids in charge of making their own drinks??? Me and my cousins quickly discovered the suicide. Basically, you get a bit of each drink into your cup. To a kid.. this was INSANE behavior. It was like a teen playing with a gun, stealing, or taking drugs. For that moment, to that kid, it was like living dangerously. We thought we were the shit.

We were also taken on a trip to Panama City once. This as a like a teen/college party town. The roads were clogged with carloads of noisy teens… being noisy and such. To young kids like myself and my cousins it was like a circus. There were only two real memories of that place. There had been a hurricane in the gulf earlier in the season and when you got into the ocean your nipples stung with the torn up jellyfish particles floating all around. Very unpleasant. The other memory I had was that we were taken to a water park for a day. I don’t know what the name of it was but I remember that the pools had tall rock (fake) along the sides (aka you couldn’t just get out just anywhere) and the they were huge and had winding passages and were mainly empty. I guess people were doing the slides and other thrill-things. I thought it was cool. Very pirate-themed.

Some of our other vacations have been to Galveston, Texas. Not much memory there other than the souvenir shops. I loved going to those. They all seem to be the same no matter which Gulf beach you are on. The name of the city is on everything but when you look, it’s all made in China… lol.

Nathan Stout is at least 7 hours from the nearest beach and that is just fine with him.

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