Father-and-Son Time

by

My son, the health nut.
My son, the health nut.

One of the benefits of working for yourself is that on certain days you can choose not to work, which is what I did last Friday.

It’s not that I didn’t need to work; it’s just that my wife was sick and The Animal had been driving both of us crazy. So I figured the best thing to do was to get him out of the house and see if I could drive him to exhaustion in the unseasonably warm, mid-May heat.

I decided to take him for a bike ride. A very long bike ride. With his little legs pumping at about three times as fast as mine in the thick, humid air, I knew he’d be tuckered and rendered harmless out in no time.

After making our way across town, we took a shortcut through the Beaver Cemetery, aka, the Beaver Cemetery, Mausoleum and Fitness Complex.

“Yes!” he said as we entered the graveyard. “This is my dream!” Then he kicked it into hyper-speed, zooming past the lines of tombstones on his Lightning McQueen-themed mini dirt bike.

Popping out on the other side, we passed through the McDonald’s — or “Old McDonald’s”, as he calls it — parking lot and were heading around the back of the Dollar General, when suddenly I heard a skidding sound followed by a crash. I turned around to see the poor little guy flat on the asphalt, his legs twisted up in the pedals.

Cue the tears.

Fortunately, he’s a tough little dude, and I was able to convince him that the large, bloody, gravel-infused gash on his elbow was actually a badge of honor. If it had been my daughter, on the other hand, the ambulance would have shown up already just by following the screams.

Finally we reached Tamaqui park—one of those good, old-fashioned playgrounds featuring the kind of rusty, all-metal equipment that pretty much guarantees you’re going to get gashed, burnt, or knocked out cold. There we found another brave 5-year-old named Alex tempting fate on the iron pipe jungle gym. 

Immediately The Animal approached him to show off of his fresh and still bleeding crash wound. “If you were in my family,” he said to the wide-eyed Alex, “you’d probably die.” 

Boys really know how to make friends with anyone.

It wasn’t long before he grew tired of the swings and the two-rails-with-the-iron-bar-suspended-in-the-middle-by-chains thingamajig, so we jumped on our bikes and rode over to another “new” playground over by the old Vanport school. After spinning him around on the merry-go-round a couple times, I let him go off to play on the tube slide while I sat down and tried not to throw up from nausea. 

In case you're wondering why we call him "The Animal"
In case you’re wondering why we call him “The Animal”

Since we both had to pee, and since I wanted french fries, we headed back over to McDonald’s (Shhh! Don’t tell my wife!), where after using the restroom we split a medium fry and enjoyed a couple vanilla cones. I taught him how to dip his french fries in ice cream, and he taught me how to dip them in both ketchup and ice cream. 

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

On the way back we stopped at Castle Toys & Games to pick up a present for my nephew’s birthday, and I bought a little more time for my wife. Meanwhile The Animal played with the toys and trashed someone else’s place for a change. (Thanks, Linda!)

By the time we got back home later that afternoon, my wife was feeling better after a few hours of peace and quiet, which is pretty much non-existent in our house these days.

I, too, was feeling great after spending a fun, carefree, work-free afternoon with my little guy. And although he was tired, I think he had a pretty good time as well.

Bloody gashes and all. ~

_____

Copyright © 2015 Valentine J. Brkich

 

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