Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spring Break with Zelda and her Two Darling Daughters, Agatha and Noreen. Part II

Yesterday I was fondly reminiscing, er, okay, just plain reminiscing about my spring break vacation with Zelda and her little girls, Agatha and Noreen. But I realize that I left the story unfinished.

I mean, we’d barely arrived when I stopped writing about the trip. Now, perhaps that would be the smart thing to do since Agatha and Noreen are on Facebook and might actually read my blog. And they might never speak to me again.

Nah. That’s not possible, is it? I mean, both of them have children of their own now. They probably know that on a rare occasion, children can be a trial and a handful – don’t you think? Or maybe their children never EVER get bored and kick the back of the driver’s seat such that the driver spends the majority of the trip either glaring in the rearview mirror at the culprit or glaring at their mother for having had the nerve to reproduce.

Oh, wait. Nowadays people with kids drive big SUVs or mini-vans and the kids can’t even reach the back of the driver’s seat with their little feet. Not only that, but they’re strapped into car seats these days until they’re at least – what? – fifteen? Plus, vehicles that transport children now come equipped with DVD players – a truly blessed invention – to keep children mesmerized throughout the entire drive.

And if all that fails, parents now routinely administer kiddie tranquilizers – don’t they?

(Perhaps I’m misinformed on that last thing.)

Ah, I’m just joshing here. We actually had a lovely vacation. (Other than the drive. Sorry. Just had to say that again.)

We spent hot, sun-filled days hanging out at the beach and relaxing and laughing at the girls’ antics. I recall a specific incident when we were at the beach and Noreen was happily munching on a slice of watermelon. She gave me a big, cheesy smile as I snapped her photo and then, seconds later, dropped her watermelon right in the sand. The look of shock and surprise on her little face when she picked up the sand-coated piece of fruit had me laughing so hard I couldn’t focus to take another picture. She even tried brushing off the sand – to no avail. Finally, her mother took it from her and threw it away. But it was definitely one of those Before-and-After/Happy one second then Sad the next Kodak moments.

Zelda and I even had an opportunity or two to go out for an adults-only evening while her father babysat the kids. Zelda loved seafood and I did not, but I tried shrimp for the first time in my life and remember being proud of myself for being so adventurous. And I vaguely recall dancing and bar-hopping one night with Zelda’s younger sister, um, Darcy. Darcy definitely knew the nightlife side of the area, but – y’know – what goes in Palm Beach Gardens stays in Palm Beach Gardens. Or something like that.

Our final treat was that Zelda’s father presented us with four tickets to Disney World. It was on our way out of town and, now that I think about it, perhaps it was his way of getting rid of us a bit early? No, I’m sure he absolutely loved having all of us under his cozy little roof.

No matter, we all had a great time hangin’ out with the Mouse before hittin’ the road again for home.

The comment that Agatha recently made that prompted this little trip down Memory Lane had to do with her mother ordering a Bloody Mary and nearly getting into a brawl with the bartender.

As the other adult in question during this trip, my first thought was, Where was I during this incident? I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of any such altercation. Shouldn’t something this memorable be readily retrievable from the memory banks?? Clearly, I need to speak with Zelda.

Perhaps I had more than my share of Bloody Marys by that point and was a little foggy myself? I don’t know. But what I DO remember about our return trip is that we had smartened up by then and drove through the night.

When one of the little angels asked their mother what time we would be getting back to Columbus, Zelda replied that it would be near dinnertime. Which was about 24 hours hence. (Zelda was, of course, padding the estimate a little as well as factoring in innumerable potty, leg-stretching and refueling breaks.)

MY thought was, Oh, it is SO not going to take that long – not if I have anything to do with it!

Zelda took the first shift and drove at a sedate, well-within-the-speed-limit pace. And then a short time later we made the first inevitable pit stop. (And don’t let Zelda ever try to tell you that the pit stops were only for the kids, either. She has a bladder the size of a pea.)

Anyway, at this first pit stop, I gassed up the car, loaded up on caffeine and a big bag of M&Ms, and commenced driving as if I were being chased by the very devil himself.

I drank Diet Coke and ate one M&M every 5 miles (to keep myself awake and sharp - and having to count tends to keep me focused). I stopped only when the gas gauge hovered around Minus E, something I don’t usually do but did so only because it was an emergency. As all three passengers were sound asleep, I quietly refilled the tank, emptied mine and bought more Diet Coke. I drove all night long and, when the car began to fill with morning light and everyone began stirring, we were (thankfully) near the Ohio border.

By this point, I was exhausted and Zelda was refreshed, so we stopped somewhere for a quick breakfast before Zelda took over the wheel. And we were home well before lunchtime, which was such happy news for me, I nearly kissed the ground when I got back to my peaceful, quiet abode.

Later that day, after a LONG nap, I reluctantly got back into my car to drive to the grocery store to stock up for the week ahead. The first thing I noticed as I neared my vehicle? Lots of little smeared handprints and crayon marks all over the back seat windows. Ah. What a sweet token to remember Noreen and Agatha by, huh? (PS, I hate cleaning windows, particularly car windows. And most especially, those hard-to-reach back seat car windows.)

And, okay, so my version of this story is filled with a bit of exaggeration. In truth, every single time I think of that trip, I smile. Because, despite my complaining about the drive itself, I really do love Agatha and Noreen – and I really did have a wonderful vacation with them.

But since that trip, I have never once suggested to anyone that we drive to Florida on vacation. No forehead flicking reminders required.

The End.

No comments:

Post a Comment