Carolyn Croop

The Ride of Our Lives


(Part 1)

This is where the story ends
I had three favorite best true friends
They called us the four-ever friends
We stayed friends ‘til the bitter end

And this is where the story starts
A summer day when we were eight
Grace, Nicole, Abigail and Jane
I am Jane and these are our names

We got together for the Fair
But first we had to fix our hair
Because the boys would be there
And they could stare as we might glare

The rides were fun that we went on
But the rollercoaster was very high
A man worked there – he was a con
He said, “Free ride”, but he lied

People were passing the ride by
So we thought – free ride – we’ll try
As we stood beside the gate
I said, “This is going to be so great”

We decided to ride alone
Each picked a seat of our own
I chose center, so did Grace
Not first nor last, it was not a race

Abigail was in front
She said, “Look at me”
And did a stunt
Then buckled in and said, “Yay – free!”

Nicole went last and picked the end
I knew her first of all my friends
She was shy when I first waved, “Hi”
But we were close after we gave it a try
The rollercoaster started slowly moving
Down the tracks, it was our choosing
Into a tunnel, I had no doubt
That we would never get back out

In the tunnel there was a mirror
We all screamed, “Look, we’re age eighteen”

Abigail, being first, was out of the tunnel drinking beer
We told her, “Don’t”, but she got mean
We were all still friends
But that was quite the scene

She then yelled back
She was higher than us
I decided when I got there too
I would have a beer or few

As I ascended upward on the ride
Grace was center, so close by
I graduated school with A’s
She got a job with really good pay

Our friend, Nicole, was still below
She didn’t like to ride solo
So after school was done She married and had a son

In the mail I got a letter
Abigail said it gets even better
She made it up the ride to the peak
And got the career that she did seek

She was born the same date as me
But me at night and she in the morning
Her letter came with a warning
“There’s another tunnel, we will be thirty-three”

She then went on to tell me more
Her life was something of a bore
“The rollercoaster drops quickly down
I am almost to the ground”

Then she said she got a call
It was from Nicole who had the gall
To tell Abigail about her life
She married a billionaire and was the best wife

I could tell Abigail was jealous
That Nicole was now on top
For Abigail had quickly dropped
She lost her job and now she mops

She also said she heard from Grace
The best looking with the prettiest face
She was a little down like me
But we both enjoyed living by the sea

I then called Abigail immediately
She said, “I’m jealous you live by the sea”
I said, “Abigail, your life is fine
Maybe you just had too much wine”

She said, no, I was wrong
Her life will not be too long
The doctor gave her news last week
And it isn’t good, it’s pretty bleak

“But your letter said it gets better”
Her response was this to me . . .
“My dear friend it does you see
Although this time, not for me”

I didn’t know what to say
I usually talk night and day
She said, “Jane – just pray”
I cried and then said, “Okay”

We hung up, our call was done
The ride for us continued on
But now we were forty-five
And so glad to all be alive

The rollercoaster then went dead
We were directed to the exit
But checked the mirror
While we were led

Those were some years, we all said
We wanted to just go home to bed
But decided to talk first instead

A teacher now was Nicole’s role
It had always been her biggest goal
So she asked what we learned being there
On the rollercoaster at the Fair

Abigail spoke first
She said that jealousy is the worst
It’s not worth the pain
And there’s nothing to gain

Everyone in life has ups and downs
When I am down
You may be up
When I am up
You may be down

Our timing may not be the same
When you’re in pain and can’t see beyond the rain
Remember we’re all on the same ride of life

Grace then went next
She said, “When you’re down just give it your best
And if you’re so low, you can’t see the top
Remember the low is not where it stops”

I was last at my statement
I ended by saying this . . .

“Keep your feet to the ground and dreams to the sky”


(Part 2)

This is my story, but Part Two
I told it one time, maybe a few
Although I am now ninety-two
I tell it like it is brand new

At the end of Part One
My friends and I are forty-five
We left the ride that we got on
We went home and lived our lives

We were happy to be alive
But, oh God, not forty-five!
We feared old age and going gray
And then lost touch for years – not days

To recap this tale, I am Jane
Nicole, Grace, Abigail – my friends’ names
I found out later, it was those years
We all had a mid-life crisis with tears

Abigail, the Drama Queen
Thought she was too big and heavy
So she got very lean
And bought a car but not a Chevy

It was a bright red sports car
She looked like she was twenty-five
And said, “Look, I am a star!”
But gave it to a nice man to drive

For one day at age forty-nine
She met the man and had a date
They dined and had the finest wine
Then stayed together – it was their fate

Meanwhile, Grace, at forty-seven
Had a daughter – age eleven
Her daughter said, “You look old, I’ll dye your hair”
Grace said, “Sure”, she didn’t care

They bought the dye the very next week
Grace was blonde with one pink streak
She divorced from her husband
Learned guitar and joined a rock band

Nicole, whom was the teacher
Was guided in life by a preacher
But the crisis she had midlife
Made her question if she should even be a wife

She left the church for awhile
This was definitely not her style
She cried and cried when her dad died
And stopped believing and tried to hide

Me – I also had a crisis
But I sure did miss the four of us
You see – I divorced not once but twice
Played the dating game and rolled the dice

I always chose the wrong man for me
Two even used me for my house by the sea
I was a stepping stone for them
I cried, but prayed, then said, “Amen”

An invitation came in the mail
It was from Abigail
It said, “We’re fifty – Party at the Fair
For the four-ever friends – Be There!”

My life was not going right
So I showed up with delight
Abigail, Grace, Nicole were there
Funny – we all fixed our hair!

We talked about the years we missed
I bought them bracelets for their wrists
They were engraved, “Four-Ever Friends”
We said, “Until the bitter end”

The con man was still working there
He said, “The rollercoaster if you dare
The ride is free”, he said with glee
We thought – why not? We’re now fifty

We told the con – “Leave us on
Do not stop the ride for us this time”
The rollercoaster started to move
We screamed, “We’re fifty – time to improve!”

Our friendship began again like new
No one was on but us, so few
This time we chose different seats
We said, “We can’t be beat, no defeats”

We looked at life from a different view
Our friendship was like nothing else that we knew

Before the ride started going fast
We talked a while about the past
Nicole asked what we learned from then
I joked, “That I’d rather again be ten”

Abigail said something more serious She said she didn’t regret one thing
It brought a few tears to us
When she showed us her engagement ring

She said her life took a dive
But was so grateful to be alive
She said, “You can’t regret the past
Because good memories – there are vast

It’s hard to find them when life goes wrong
But I finally found where I belong
Maybe Grace can write a song
About life – whether short or long

Grace said, next, to my surprise
That all God’s creatures win the prize
I did not know Grace even believed in heaven
She certainly didn’t when she was twenty-seven

She then went on to set the pace
This was never at all like Grace
She said, “Be grateful” to us all
“Because you never know when you might fall”

I decided to be serious and not joke
I ended the talk like this . . .
Please note
I read a poem and here’s the quote . . .

“Life is a mystery . . . To anyone, at any time anything may happen”

I also learned we should stick together
For this way we seem to do much better
We all agreed never to again stray
I’m glad we finally learned our way


(Part 3) – Abigail’s Story

I am Jane, I’m ninety-two
Alone right now within my room
My story continues with Part Three
The one of Abigail, Grace, Nicole and me

To sum it up – Parts One and Two
We rode a rollercoaster at the Fair
We had ups and downs in our lives too
But glad we were there and not the zoo

When on the rollercoaster ride
We stayed in touch within our lives
But when we got off the rollercoaster
We never spoke to one another

At age fifty we got back on
And learned from our past mistakes
We bought the free ride from a con
But glad we did for our own sake Because the con man lied to us
He said the rollercoaster ride was free
It turns out friendship bares a cost
It’s time you give – you see

Here is the start of Part Three
Although we are all now fifty
These next parts will explain the past
Of each one of us from first to last

First I’ll start with Abigail
This is how I tell her tale
She was the leader of our pack
A good family is all she lacked

Although her mom and dad were rich
She always joked if she could switch
With Nicole
Abigail’s wishful goal
They did not physically beat her
But ignored her and her sister
She almost turned to crime and drugs
But turned to us – we gave her hugs

She almost didn’t finish school
We later heard about a betting pool
Kids at school placed dollar bets
That she’d be a drunk and live in tents

This made me quite mad
And Nicole and Grace were not too glad
Abigail was stronger though
And never let her anger show

I think that’s why I liked her so
For her inside strength that always glowed
She earned her Master’s degree – you see
And became a news reporter, unlike me

Abigail once told us three
Being fifty and never married
That she could never have children
Her biggest fear was being called an old hen

We told Abigail we admired her
And that we were happy she told us that
Just then we heard a great big purr
It was her baby – a fat black cat

Abigail never once lived in a tent
I wonder how many lost the bet
Although she did drink here and there
We told her too much because we cared

It was the reason she lost her job
But she sought help after dating Bob
She knew he was the man of her dreams
So she straightened up instead of coming apart at the seams

Now at fifty – she is getting married to Bob
He told her she doesn’t need a job
She only wants three bridesmaids at her wedding
And to say her vows while the sun is setting

That is the story of Abigail
Part Four will be of Grace’s tale
And then Nicole, our other pal
Will be Part Five
Six, me – my tale

Parts Seven and beyond
Will continue our lives past age fifty
The rollercoaster that we’re on
Has brought us a close friendship bond

A bond never to be broken by anyone
And so, for now, Part Three is done
The saga will continue on
The ride of our lives is so much fun!


(Part 4) – Grace’s Story

Here is Part Four
As promised before
The tale of Grace
With the prettiest face

After high school, as I said
Grace got a job with really good pay
The next part I tell you – I do dread
Her life, to her, seemed dark and gray

She married at age twenty-four
With no one there, just she and Dave
They turned out to be quite poor
Because they spent and did not save

Tragically, at twenty-seven
Her baby boy did not live past two
She stopped believing in God and heaven
She said, “Having kids – I am through”

Her life then became a little rocky
Her husband cheated after playing hockey
She knew of this, but let it go
She hurt deep inside, but did not let it show

In their thirties they got good jobs and saved
Then bought a house out by the sea
It was not her dream, but her husband Dave’s
She always catered to him it seemed

Grace became tired of her life so dark and gray
She visited a church for God one day
She learned of God and how to pray
Then believed and wanted a child some day

Grace was able to put the past away
And move on with her life from before
Grace and Dave spent time on the bay
And talked to each other a little more

They talked about the son they lost
And cried tears that had been locked inside
Dave said he wanted a child and that he was boss
Grace said, “Yes” and did abide

At age thirty-six – they were a team
For there was a new kid on the scene
Dave and Grace had a daughter named Colleen
But Grace was still unhappy and always cleaned

And that is the story of Grace through age fifty
There’s more to tell later on
And more about her house by the sea
Just a hint – later on there’s a man named Don

Nicole is next
Her story is fifth
It’s one of the best
And not a myth

Bye for now
I must go
I’m ninety-two
Time for bingo!


(Part 5) – Nicole’s Story

This is Part Five of the four-ever friends
It is where I tell the story of Nicole
She was a good friend until the end
And the only one without a battered soul

Nicole came from a large family
She never seemed better than you or me
You see – she married at age eighteen
Her husband later worked on Wall Street making quite the scene

At age nineteen she had a son
He turned out to be her only one
She stayed at home and raised him right
Her husband, Andrew, worked day and night

They attended church every Sunday
A preacher led them on their way
Down a straight and narrow path
Andrew went to college for finance and math

She spent her twenties raising her son Nicholas
She called me about once a week
To ask advice about his fuss
I said he’s bold and is not meek

Nicholas was hyperactive
She gave to him all she could give
She drove him everywhere and to the doctor
This was her life – good and pure

When in her thirties, Nicole’s husband Andrew
Surprised her with some happy news
He had just returned from where he flew
He got promoted, then she called so I knew

They bought a mansion for millions of dollars
Nicole used their fortune to go to college
It was always a goal of hers
To learn a trade and gain some knowledge

Nicole then became a teacher
She taught children whom had trouble hearing
It was good she was led in life by a preacher
But she controlled her life and was the one steering

She had always been close with her dad
One day she called to invite him over
He never called back which made her sad
He had died and left her a four-leaf clover

He left a note that he wrote . . .
“I know how much your friends mean to you
Each leaf represents each friend and you
Good luck will always touch your souls”

Nicole, Andrew and Nicholas
A perfect life it seemed
And really, it was
For good luck they were deemed

Except for daily ups and downs
Like everyone has sometimes
But you never saw Nicole down with a frown
She was always doing quite fine

Now, age fifty, Nicole was blessed
Her life had never been a mess
It was above and beyond the best
Unlike mine, Grace and Abigail’s – the rest

But we were happy for Nicole
She had the money and played the role
But having it all was not her goal
But helping others, people’s hearts she stole

The next part is of me – Part Six
The tale of Jane – I’m in the mix
But I am done with Nicole’s story
Nicole can be a tad bit boring

I will tell the next parts
After I’m done throwing darts
At age ninety-two
Bingo and darts – it’s what you do!


(Part 6) – Jane’s Story

It is now the storyteller’s turn for some fame
I am the storyteller and Jane is my name
Abigail, Grace and Nicole are my friends
Four-ever friends until the bitter end

Here is my life before age fifty
This part – Part Six – is all about me
I’ll begin with how I was raised by my mother
And beaten daily by my brother

This was always the hardest to tell
Because I had never told Nicole, Grace or Abigail
Until we reached fifty and had a long talk
At the Fair as we re-entered the rollercoaster and walked

They said they understood me better now
And that I should take a bow
For surviving my life thus far
And shining like the brightest star

I told them thank you but I’m not a star yet
For my dream is to be a great poet
And write a number one best-selling book
They said there’s still plenty of time if you look

So at age fifty I dreamed away
But before that – my life went astray
For a while it was going the right way
I dated a boy at age sixteen who stayed

We married at age twenty-three
We both had great jobs and were called yuppies
That stands for Young Urban Professionals
I wore designer clothes and had manicured nails

We bought a house out by the sea
We had two children – my husband and me
All was fine until I had a breakdown
In my thirties, at times, I could be found in a hospital gown

My husband had misunderstood the wedding vows
Because he’s gone from me – even now
He must have heard wrong “In sickness and health”
And thought it was “In sickening wealth”

We divorced – I was in shock
My life became rocky
And still not healthy
I lost the chance to become wealthy

I then met a man
I should have ran
He later married me
For my house by the sea

He always degraded me
And threw me to my knees
I sought help, got the phone and dialed
This was before giving birth to his child

I ended up in a homeless shelter
Then found a home for me and my newborn daughter
I lost my job by being ill
At age fifty – no job still

My children are a blessing from heaven above
All three of them I so do love
At age forty-eight I got word
My illness – they found a cure

I am now ninety-two
And I am in perfect health
Today is a day like brand new
Time for me to spread the wealth

For I will share a little more
Although this part ends at age fifty
And I assure you I don’t want to be a bore
I was with the queen and had some tea

Although that part happens later on
I won’t talk much more beyond
But just a hint – my life gets better
After the moment I receive a mystery letter

This should keep you in suspense
And so I must end and hence . . .
Enjoy each day that you have been given
And take the time to choose the path that you are driven

That means keep your dreams alive
Oh, my grandchildren just arrived
I sometimes ramble on and on
This time (for now) I am really gone!


(Part 7)

Here is Part Seven
Although it is now past eleven
My granddaughter wants to hear more of the story
Her name is Victoria – we call her Tori

The rollercoaster ride is fun
The ride of life that we got on
The one advertised as free
So we got on – my friends and me

The ride of our lives
It sure has been
Two now single, two are wives
Within our friendship – we all win

Another tunnel we did enter
We are all now riding center
A mirror shows we are now fifty-one
So glad we all jumped back on

Because life is great
Beyond the ride’s gate
For one day when I got the mail
It said I had won – and not failed

The sweetest letter I ever got
But it was mysterious which thickens this plot
For I didn’t know who wrote it
But I felt like I was in orbit

Whomever wrote the letter
Knew me from near and afar
He promised my life would get better
I walked outside to a brand new car

On the car there was a note
It said, “Will you marry me”
I said to myself, and I quote
“I would if I knew who you be”

I then called Grace, Nicole and Abigail
I told them about what I got in the mail
They all seemed a little bit different on the phone
I think they were in on it – and I was alone

Grace said to meet her at the bar
So I could show her my brand new car
Her band was there – and her guitar
I think she knew who loved me from afar

I watched her play when in walked Nicole
I was glad she did so I wasn’t solo
Then Abigail next walked through the door
We all went to the dance floor

Then all of a sudden my heart dropped
The music, too, even stopped
For there he was – the love of my life
He was wearing a tux and said, “Please be my wife”

I couldn’t stop staring into his eyes
For I hadn’t seen him since we said our goodbye’s
Many years had passed since then
I knew him from way back when

He must have known how much I loved him
He was the only guy who made me shy
The lights then went dim
I said, “Yes” as we looked into one another’s eyes

Grace went on to sing a song
She wrote it just for him and me
It made number one all week long
And we danced to it at my house by the sea

We got married and he moved in
I’m now telling this tale at age ninety-two
He still makes my heart go for a spin
He said the same is true for him too

Age fifty-one sure was fun
High up on the rollercoaster
I also wrote a book that was number one
Times Square even made a poster

Now three of the four-ever friends are married
Grace said not to be worried
Her band played at my wedding
She met a man – her way a wedding was heading

All is good at fifty-one
And throughout our entire fifties
The next part we are sixty-one
Four-ever friends – not enemies

As I might have said once or twice
I’m ninety-two within my room
It’s time for me to roll the dice
I’m playing a magic game – and with no broom

It’s with my grand kids – you see
Every week they visit my husband and me
So do the children – all three
So glad he said, “Marry me”


(Part 8)

Farther and farther up the tracks
Abigail, the leader of our pack
Decided it was time to chat
For the day, I left my husband, Matt

Nicole, Abigail, Grace and I
Talked together until midnight
Abigail decided that at age sixty-one
We needed to have a little fun

Abigail turned our talk into a game
She said, “It starts with you, Jane”
I said for each to say one thing
We don’t know everything

Each say one thing we don’t know
Nicole began and stole the show
She said I never told you this
But here it goes – here it is

Because I am a billionaire
I helped a young boy named Pierre
He was abused living on the streets
He was on the news saying, “I can’t be beat, no defeats”

It reminded me of us – all four
He was filthy poor
Only age fourteen and homeless
His life now great – no more a mess

Abigail then said, “I’m impressed”
Nicole said, “I did it for you Abigail”
“For me? I would have not have guessed”
“Yes, you had no children – now you’re blessed”

A tear came to Abigail’s eye
She stared right into the air
Later, she met Pierre
He now calls her mom – they did bond

Grace was next
She spoke of Don
Her husband was best
Unlike the con

She then went on
About her husband Don
Whom she met at my wedding
And I am no way forgetting

Grace said Don had been in jail
But a mystery person posted bail
The news reporter, Abigail
Said, “I posted bail for Don – Grace my pal”

Later, Don had passed the test
Like the con, he worked at the Fair
The owner had him arrested
For giving free rides and not charging a fare

You see – Don learned from the con
He was the boss
And said, “Don’t charge a cost
The con said, “Don come on”

Don said, “Why should I not charge a fee?”
The con said, “Because friendship is free
This rollercoaster is the ride of life
Anyone who gets on will be friends for life”

The con then told Don some more
About the first batch of four
Ever to try this ride
He said friendship is free – no lie

And so and thus
Each one of us
Told each of us
Something new that was

Suddenly, all three of them
Said, “Jane, we have not heard from you”
They first wanted to hear about my trip
My trip to London by plane – not ship

I told them I had tea with the queen
They said, “That’s awesome
How did she seem?”
“Proper – like her a bit I’ve become”

They laughed out loud
And said, “Jane – be serious”
I was proud
And said I was

I was being true
By what I said
“I’ve changed a bit for the better
Since Matt sent me that letter”

They said they knew it was true
They noticed the change
“You are never down and blue
Like you were before Matt rearranged”

Then they asked me
Why the queen and I had tea
I told them because she wrote to me
And invited me to have tea

You see – she saw the movie
The one made based on the book by me
And advertised in Times Square – you see
The queen adored the book written by me

Abigail, Grace and Nicole then said
“Don’t let all that go to your head”
They said, “Remember what you said”
I said, “What did I say that I will now dread?”

“Keep your feet to the ground and dreams to the sky”

I said, “Do you not want me around?”
And I started to cry

They were honest and said
The fame got to my head
I said they were right
We hugged and did not fight

I had just wanted a moment of glory
They said I had and it hasn’t stopped
It’s because all of my stories
Most were turned into movies –
Though some were dropped

They assured me they were happy for me
And asked if they could visit my house by the sea
I told them, “Yes”
And that they were the best

After that moment
My feet returned to the ground
I wrote many books and sonnets
The study room is where I could usually be found

They said, “Okay, tell us more
Something we didn’t know before”
I said, “I guess
I will confess”

I said, “Remember the theater play Nicole was in?
The one in which she played the lead role?
I got the part first, but let her win
I did this for Nicole”

Nicole had never known of this
Neither did the rest
We all laughed in bliss
Because Nicole was the best

She should have been an actress
I knew so – so I gave her the part
I smiled and said, “You’re like my sis
We will never tear apart”

And so the four-ever friends
Proved they were friends ‘til the end
I’m glad I was part of the four
Although I must say something more

Part Nine gets a little sad
I must now find my writing pad
The children and grandchildren left for the day
Victoria said she wanted to stay

I told her I would write it down
It turned her frown upside down
She said she can’t wait to read my story
I said, “For you I will write, Tori”

The reason I even tell this story
Is for my granddaughter, Tori
You see – some friends she recently made
They’ve talked about going on a crusade

She told me it was advertised as free
And that she wants to be like me
I’ll let her make her own decisions
Because without friendship – you’re just not livin’!


(Part 9)

On the journey
We continued on
We learned the name Ernie
Was the name of the con

Strange – but he always looked forty years old
The con said “free ride” so we were sold
The four-ever friends – now seventy-eight
I’m glad at age eight there was no wait

I could never understand why no one got on
Except for us four listening to a con
But at seventy-eight it became quite clear
Nicole’s death was drawing near

Then one day I got a call on the phone
I’m glad Matt was there and I wasn’t alone
Nicole had died – the con man lied
At her funeral – we all cried

Ernie was at the funeral on stage
The con who never ever aged
He talked about the four of us
And how it always was

He said we were the first on the rollercoaster ride
And was so sad Nicole had died
He said he never charged a cost
Because friendship can be lost

This is where I wanted the story to end
Because I had lost a very dear friend
But we all had to move on beyond the pain
Friendship costs much – I’ll explain

It bares the risk of losing
Friends that were your choosing
Our lives went on still
Until the years Grace and Abigail became ill

I lost them too – you see
Grace lived to be eighty-three
Abigail made it to age eighty-nine
Her husband still grieves but is doing fine

The story almost ended here
Until out my window there appeared
A horse-drawn carriage with a man inside
It was my husband Matt inside the ride

He shouted, “Get ready, get in”
He said, “Let’s take this for a spin”
I got inside beside Matt
We rode the carriage – there we sat

He held my hand for about an hour
Outdoors it was like a rain shower
He said,”I know you’ve suffered pain”
And joked, “I hope you like the rain”

He said, “How about we try
A slow and steady ride, my wife
Just you and I
My wife, my friend for life”

Because – as you see
Matt was also on a ride for free
They called them the Great Eight
His friends he met at the speed skate

He’s lost some friends too
But he is never down and blue
He said because of me
He’s so romantic as you see

And so the carriage ride moves along
Side by side where we belong
I hope it never ends
Life is good beside my best friend

And now this ends my story
With my husband – I’m in my glory
Abigail, Nicole and Grace
In my heart – they have a place

I miss them still
But life goes on
By my free will
Nothing to frown upon

Matt and I are on our way
To see our family for the day
Tori said she leaves today
With her friends on her crusade

I know her life will be just fine
But I must say just a few more lines . . .

Life is short – enjoy it to the fullest
And to yourself – be the truest

Next is for my grandson – my story starts here
Just then Matt said, “Take a break for an hour”
And gave me a bouquet of flowers
He said, “I love you” into my ear

I shouted that I couldn’t hear
He shouted louder into my ear
“I love you”, he said – I am quite clear
I just wanted to hear it again from my dear

For I am ninety-two and perfectly fine But like the I love you’s all of the time
He’s waving – stop talking for now
So I must now take my bow

Within my room, I’m ninety-two
Time to finish this book too
The next is for my grandson, Nate
He just turned eight – Matt says I’m late

Time to go – this story’s done
I had so much fun everyone
Parting is such sweet sorrow
I hope for another tomorrow

I say that everyday
Another tomorrow I do pray
A free ride I took – but I did pay
The ride of life . . .
I’m glad I played


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