The Day Off That Wasn’t

The Day Job yesterday didn’t have hours- schools being closed for the Veteran’s Day holiday. I looked forward to doing nothing, but at the same time dreaded it. Again, as a full-time part-time worker, days off are dollars off, and shoestring budgets cannot often support the weight of a day off. As luck would have it, I got a call from a friend of mine who was looking to get some property management work done before it gets too cold to do anything. I agreed, and spent four hours negating the negative intake for the day. When I got home, I felt productive, and got a wild idea.

I was going to take The Narrator out hunting. Except I then changed plans and decided we would make a run on a 2.2 mile hiking trail that starts on one side of a small saddle between two mountains, and ends on the other side of it, within walking distance of my parent’s house. My wife had some errands to run, so we packed the kids in the car, she dropped The Narrator and I off at the trailhead, and headed to her errands with Mini-Me in tow.

The hike seemed like a great idea to start with. The PROBLEM was, that we started at around 3PM. Daylight burns fast in mid-November. I had counted on The Narrator having a slow pace, but as I mentioned before, it gets even slower when he starts to talk. And talk he did.

On the entire uphill part of the trip, I was watching the sun through the trees, thinking that 2.2 miles with him would take 2.2 days. The last quarter mile or so, I slung him on my shoulders and finished the climb. He’s 60 pounds. I am now a half an inch shorter from having been compressed. I set him down when we reached the top of the trail.

However, it was worth it. We had a lot of fun.

As we started downhill, we stopped for a little snack, and we started to talk. He asked me why I liked the woods so much.

“Well,” I said, “The woods are a great place to be to just relax. They’re peaceful, quiet…..”
Boo-boop-boo-boop ….A text message from the wife comes through checking our progress. Outstanding timing.

“Daddy” He said.
“I’m scared we’re going to be here in the dark.”
“Don’t worry. I know where we are, and we’re almost out anyway. You can hear the road if you’re quiet enough.”
“But I’m just a little bit scared.”
“There’s nothing to be scared of.”

…..immediately after I opened my mouth and told him there wasn’t anything to be scared of…a friggin owl starts up in the trees not far from us. It’s a good thing The Narrator was sitting down when it happened, or I would have had to chase him when he started running. After he calmed down a bit, he started to appreciate how cool it was that we had heard it, and from then on, every few minutes, he wanted to stop walking and “just listen.” I’ll make a woodsman out of him yet.

We cleared the woods with plenty of daylight left, although the last leg of the journey on the road to my parent’s house, I ended up piggy-backing him again, he was all done walking.

My wife came and picked us up just as he was having pumpkin cookies and hot chocolate, and we headed home.

I made one brief stop on the way home though. A while back, I picked up a small American Flag from a VFW event. It’s been in the car over my visor for over a month. Every time I hit a bump, it slid down and hit me in the head. I got an idea that night and realized that there was a much better place for it than in my car.

We’ll remember that one of my hobbies is poking around cemeteries looking for history. I found a stone locally a while back that really intrigued me.

My little flag looked a lot better in front of this memorial than it did on the visor of my car.

At home we did dinner, bath, and bed, and for once, my wife and I managed to go to bed at the same time, in the same place, before midnight.

All in all, for what was supposed to be a day off, I think it went rather well.


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