So I took the kids to the Land of Oz up in Beech Mountain last weekend. You may remember that back in the ‘70s, it was quite the theme park. It’s changed some. The Emerald City is gone,
Dorothy and her friends don’t sing anymore, and we saw several of the Munchkins texting. But a few themes remained the same – the tornado, the Yellow Brick Road . . . and my dad’s sun glasses.
The year was 1976. I was 10, my twin sisters were 8, and our trip to Oz was our most exciting trip to date. I will never forget us huddled together, slowly walking through Dorothy’s house, and then being quickly herded down into the cellar to ride out the tornado as the winds blew and the house rocked.
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And I remember trying to walk out of the lopsided house, the furniture all crooked. And then my dad realizing his sunglasses were gone – blown right off the top of his head by the harsh fans during the simulated storm.
So when I heard Oz was opening for a weekend, I jokingly sent my parents an e-mail: “Any takers? Dad, don’t bring your sunglasses.” A message came back right away – “We’re in. And I’m going to find them.”
And so it began. I rented the movie for the kids. And it’s funny, it wasn’t the green wicked witch, or the flying monkeys, or even the natural disaster that scared them. It was the witch’s legs, in those black-and-white tights with the ruby slippers, sticking out from under the house. But I quickly explained that nobody wears black-and-white striped tights. At least not with red shoes.
And I got them up to Oz. And my dad recounted the twister that took his sunglasses forever. But my 8-year-old, forever the optimist, was eagerly hoping and praying that they would be found.
Walking down the hallway in Dorothy’s house, we passed the living room. When suddenly my dad grabbed my son and pointed to the sofa. And there – on top of the cushion – lay a pair of sunglasses.
“And there they are!” he hollered.
Good one, Dad. How he snuck in and out of there to pre-set those glasses, I’ll never know.
We all laughed and looked at my son. To my surprise his eyes were bulging – he was stunned – he just couldn’t believe those glasses were there for 30 years.
And so now the story will continue through him. The Land of Oz – where Granddaddy lost, and then 30 years later found, his sunglasses.