Saturday, April 07, 2007

Bounce While You Can

We had breakfast at Bob Evan's. A turkey and spinach omelet that left me hungry for more. Great service, fantastic food, low price. The American dream! Sadly, Cindy could barely eat. Something unfriendly has crept into her belly and taken up residence. Had to happen when we're half a day from home?

Next to the restaurant was a smallish mall dedicated to All Things Christmas. (Helped that we were bundled in our coats and still giddy from our snowball siege.) A miniature steam engine chugging along the crown moulding. Tons of holiday ornaments. An army of miniatures. Mile upon mile of lights. Even a guitar playing Santa Claus that sang to the kids and posed for pictures. I'm not a big fan of the holidays, but I enjoyed the sights and had a good time with the kids as they explored and experiment with all the different gadgets.

In the late morning, we trek to Ripley's Believe It Or Not Aquarium. The cold is now compounded by rain. And while I'm able to drop My Bride and The Kids off at the front door, I have to park then walk two blocks down the way. I couldn't feel my nose after one block. And it is APRIL! But the frostbite was worth the price of admission. The kids played with a remote-controlled Mars Rover. I snuck us into a private class about sharks (where MEG tried to run the show!) We played with live horseshoe crabs. There would spacesuits. The power went out. And we nearly caught our own sting ray!

Cindy's stomach continued to act up and we cancelled our dinner plans, but opted for a light meal at Burger King. The cashier was a young man on clutches. He didn't seem too adept with them. "I hope your leg gets better," I nearly said as he handed me my change. Then I noticed his left pant leg. He didn't actually have a leg. And there were horrible scars on the inside of his left arm. At first I assumed it was a car wreck. But the more thought I gave it, the more I came to believe he had returned from a tour in Iraq. And the best we could do for him was a job charging for Happy Meals. No tickertape parade. Maybe just a purple heart, a pat on the back, and an application for Burger King.

Then Meg breaks my trance. In her own very unique, very special way.

"Daddy, look at that girl," she tries to whisper. Of course whisper means the girl can clearly hear her and so can the people on the other side of the room.

I look up and meet her eyes.

"She's from Little People, Big World," Meg says in the exact instant I realize I'm looking at a Little Person.

The woman smiles. She's not a girl. And nods to me. I'm pretty much frozen in fear that she's going to pull out a gun and shoot me in the face. A deer in the headlights. Embarrassed and scared and looking for a quick escape route.

Instead, she nods and smiles to Meg, "Hi, darling," then continues to enjoy her meal. Diffuses the bomb like a trained professional. Silently acknowledging that she knows Meg was trying to be sweet about it.

Of course My Bride had to have "a talk" with My Daughter once we got into the car. But she's five. It is like having "a talk" with a pogo stick. She's just going to keep bouncing around the room no matter what you tell her.

I say: Keep bouncing, Meg. Bounce while you can, baby. Bounce while you can!
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