It was supposed to be a little trip to pick up some pumpkins for the pigs.
Just a little trip.
What’s more, it’s through our version of Amish country and seeing the buggies out is always a treat.
But things didn’t go exactly as planned.
First off, I took a wrong turn. My son took this as a sign that we should not be doing this. A few pumpkins is not worth the time or the gas. Which I had precious little of.
So we stopped to refuel. We ran into a friend who told us about Santa and hot dogs and a raffle for our robotics club.
“Can we go? Can we go?”
Of course we could go. It was just a little trip to pick up the pumpkins. We’d be back in plenty of time. My son again attempted to talk me out of this fool’s errand. He does not like car trips. Even if they are little ones through Amish country. A life with no electricity holds no fascination whatsoever for him.
And perhaps there is a point when you cut your losses. When you realize you have already invested enough time and energy into a dozen or so pumpkins and it is time to move on. If so, that point is well beyond where my stubbornness kicks in.
And it would take less than an hour to get them, putting us where we wanted to be right on time. It would work out perfectly. Because who wants to sit around for an hour waiting for Santa? (Don’t answer that.)
At any rate, that’s how I ended up driving south for the second time (only this time on the right road), allowing me to make yet another wrong turn. This one, however, did not lead me in a convenient circle. This one led me down a gravel road that ended a little before I realized. As in I was suddenly on nothing but mud.
What’s a little mud? I have four wheel drive, right? Thing is, I didn’t. I pushed that little button and nothing happened. And I don’t know how many of you know this, but if your four wheel drive isn’t activated, you have rear wheel drive which is essentially useless in slippery conditions.
Then I began the long slow slide down the hill which ended with me facing east west on a north south road.
And I had given my daughter the cell phone. In fact, I had joked that if I wasn’t home when she got home to call the police and send an ambulance my way.
“This is why you don’t make these kinds of trips for pumpkins.”
My son was full of wisdom. So I sent him out of the car to push until we got the car out of the way as much we could.
All we had to do was get to a phone before my daughter left for Lincoln.
“Worst case, we go back to the car. Dad will be off by midnight at the latest. I think there’s a hotel in town, but if not, we’ll be fine in the car.”
And with that, we marched. A quarter mile through mud and another half mile through town. With my son pointing out each and every step would have been unnecessary had I only taken his sage advice. My goal was the gas station (and ignoring my son. Let’s not underestimate the value nor the self control behind saying nothing at all). But then I saw Subway.
Subway, precious Subway. What a sight to behold! Warmth and chairs and drinks and food and a phone.
And the worst case scenario became the best case scenario. Not only did I get hold of my daughter, but she AND her friend drove down to rescue us. We’d go home all in one fabulous trip.
But as we talked over soft drinks and cookies (can you believe that as I handed out cups, I told them they could get whatever they wanted?) you know what my children said the highlight of their week was?
Getting stuck in the mud and hiking to Subway. For them, it was an adventure. They saw tracks of deer, raccoon, coyote and even fox. They got to slip around in the mud and tease their mom and, for a little while at least, everyone knew how to drive better than mom. They laughed and hiked and loved the whole misadventure of it. And when asked what he thought the best part of the week was, even my son answered,
“Mom seeing the error of her ways.”
Which I think is thirteen-year-old-speak for “I kinda had fun, too.”