by Charles W. Dowdy
A small head hidden among blankets and the sides of a car seat screamed, "North Pole, here us come!"
Technically we were going to Chattanooga, which is
not exactly the North Pole. It was the day after
Christmas and we were going to the old railroad city
because our three-year-old twins are train crazy. We
were staying at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. The twins
were going to go nuts when they saw the train cars we
would be sleeping in, but about thirty miles into the
road trip my wife grew weary of trying to explain the
significance of our destination and went with
something topical, i.e. the North Pole.
Perhaps some of you not familiar with the age might think a Santa threat lacks teeth on the day after Christmas but my wife wasn't referring so much to the naughty or nice thing as the absolute, blind terror these three-year-old boys display every time they see the bearded jolly man in the red suit.
If you think this sounds a tad harsh then let me come to my bride's defense and tell you that up to that point our trip had been quite eventful.
The problems started with lunch. We made the tactical
error of trying to eat in a real restaurant after our
four children under the age of seven had been in the
car for five hours.
Apparently our Outback was on sedatives. The place looked like a club house for the AARP. I actually heard a napkin hit the floor when we walked into the room.
We were shown to a booth and for about fifty-eight seconds my children acted reasonably. Then, much to the consternation of the professional shuffleboard team sitting next to us, my wife and I totally lost control. As I watched my children interact, I couldn't help but think they fit in well on Fox TV, ascribing to a debating theory of simply trying to out-yell everyone around them. Without question the low point of the meal came when one of the twins tossed his full Sprite like a grenade at the waiter one table over. As I pointed out at the time, the cups were obviously not as childproof as they claimed. Still, you would have expected a guy working for tips to have shown a little more understanding.
But the Outback was nothing compared to the waterfall.
My wife always accuses me of hurrying to get somewhere when I have no reason to do so. Like perhaps it would be better to stop and smell the diapers along the way.
For once we were ahead of schedule when I saw the sign
for some state park and a famous waterfall. After
careful calculation I figured I could allot at least
twenty-two minutes to prove my wife wrong.
Of course, there was an upside to the waterfall. For
once my wife didn't mind being in a hurry.
Charles Dowdy is the father of four and the husband of one. Contact him at email@example.com.
Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!
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Double Trouble: Cross-eyed Twins
An open letter to my wolf
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