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A Mountain Perspective

A Day of Firsts

Chelsea Baranoski

(12/09) As I approach the half-way mark of my senior year, I feel like there is still much of the Emmitsburg area I need to explore. On Halloween, I chalked two things off of my senior "bucket list": going to the Big Slide in Rocky Ridge and going to the Ott House. Many of my fellow Mounties find it hard to believe that I have not been to these local landmarks before my senior year. I know of one freshman who has already been to the Big Slide five times! I believe that my long wait to go to the Big Slide and Ott's made the moment bittersweet.

I'll admit that I was a little nervous about going to the Big Slide. I am deathly afraid of heights and I did not know if I would survive something that towered so high in the sky. When my roommates and I arrived at the Big Slide, I pulled out my camera and took a picture. This would be the evidence that I finally made it to this Mountie hangout. My roommates and I decided to eat a picnic lunch before conquering the slide. I felt like I was on an elementary school field trip complete with picnic tables and bagged lunches.

After chowing down on fried chicken and candy corn, I came face to face with the bad guy. You would think that the sign exclaiming "USE ALL FACILITIES AT OWN RISK. NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENTS" would have scared me off. But this was not the case. If every other Mountie could make it down this giant slide in one piece, so could I. I was happy that the slide's ramp-like staircase did not give me a view of everything below me. Since I try to avoid escalators, climbing the stairs was a feat in itself. When I went down the slide for the first time, I tried to go slowly. The slide definitely isn't scary when you're gliding down it at two miles-per-hour. My roommates had different plans. When my roommate Fallon hopped on the slide with me, she grabbed my hand so that I would zoom down the slide at record speed. I screamed a little bit, but nothing compared to my scream when I was on that huge ride at the Great Frederick Fair. Eventually, I found the courage to go down the slide on a burlap sack. This increased my speed even more!

I definitely had a great time at the Big Slide. I put aside my fear of heights so that I could experience a Mountie tradition. And can you believe that my only injury was a bruise on my left elbow? I was sore the next day, but that's probably because my body is not used to climbing stairs half a dozen times.

After resting up from the Big Slide, I went to the Ott House for a Halloween party. I was excited to go to Ott's because I can never make it there on Wednesday (college night). I always have too much schoolwork to do. Now, I could rest easily because the next day was Sunday, aka "finish the homework you procrastinated all weekend day." Plus, it was Halloween, so I had to go out. I'll admit that I did not know if I was ever going to make it to the Ott House for Halloween.

My original plan of asking Ott's to pick up my roommates and me backfired. Ott's could only give us a ride back to the Mount. My mind raced. I tried calling a freshman to see if he could drive me and my roommates there, but he was going to party. I asked a sophomore if he could drive us to Ott's, but he was staying on campus for the night. Nuts! This was just my luck! I was so excited for Ott's and now it looked like I was not going to make it there after all. My roommates decided to trek over to Public Safety to see if they could help us obtain a ride. Thankfully, some bright yellow fliers advertising a cab service in Thurmont sat on the Public Safety desk.

This was our ticket out! We zoomed out of public safety and called the cab company. The operator said that a cab would arrive in 20 to 25 minutes. That was a lie. My roommates and I stood outside of the apartments in the freezing cold, the wind whipping our faces, anxiously awaiting the yellow cab. Indeed, the cab took a half hour or more before it arrived at the Mount. And when it did pull into campus, it passed our parking lot and headed to another parking lot. Now we had to scurry over to the cab and wave down the driver. Luckily, he saw us after a few waves and came on over. Nothing is ever easy in the life of Chelsea Baranoski.

Somehow my roommates and I made it to Ott's. When we walked in the door, the lady working there asked to check our ID's. When I pulled out my ID (not a driver's license, but a Maryland photo ID I got from the MVA), the lady kept looking at the card and then looking back at me. I could tell that she did not think I was twenty-one, even though my birth date was on the ID. After she did a double take, I asked her if she needed another form of ID. Would I really have to pull out my voters registration? She said that was ok and stamped my hand. I knew I would run into this problem. I'm 21-years-old, but people think that I look a lot younger. When I was about to enter college, a man thought that I was 12-years-old! I know one day I will be grateful for my youthful appearance, but right now it only causes problems.

Once I passed the ID check, I took in my surroundings. I noticed a collage of badges behind the bar. I even spotted one that said "Chelsea Police!" Halloween decorations overflowed the fireplace. Men and women in costumes swarmed the dance floor. Even Gumby was letting loose at Ott's! All of Emmitsburg must have migrated to Ott's, for it was hard to move! I felt like an ant in an ant farm. One of my favorite things about my Ott House experience was the band. The band played a mix of contemporary songs and oldies. I rushed to the dance floor the minute "Shout" and "Sweet Home Alabama" hit my ear drums.

I am really happy that Halloween was a day of firsts. Now I can cross the Big Slide and Ott's off of my list of things to do before I graduate. However, I still need to visit High Rock, explore downtown Frederick, go to the open house that occurs in Frederick the first Saturday of every month, go to the Catoctin Zoo, and the list goes on and on and on……

Read other articles by Chelsea Baranoski