by John S
A father tries to recreate some memories and finds you can't go home again.
The fall is always my favorite time of year. After another brutal summer of heat and humidity the first fall breeze felt as good as a shower after a hard day’s work. Driving home the changing of the leaves from drab green to vibrant orange, red, and even some yellow reminded me of the trips dear old dad would take the family on to see nature at its most beautiful. The trips would always end with our first delicious cup of steaming hot chocolate since the previous winter. My brother Sal, who was two years younger than me loved the hot chocolate the best. He would continuously ask my annoyed father if “were we there yet.”
Now that I’m the father of two beautiful girls, maybe it is time for us to begin our own fall tradition. My daughters are ten and eleven. I believed they were old enough to start enjoying the beauty of mother nature. My wife almost laughed in my face. “If it’s not on a screen or a phone your two darling daughters won’t want anything to do with it.” After some of my best begging she finally agreed to our trip the following Saturday. I think she agreed more to prove me wrong than anything else.
Saturday arrived with a crisp breeze and the wonderful aroma of burning leaves in the air. It was time for the family to hit the road. After a breakfast of bacon, eggs and plenty of coffee for me and oatmeal for the kids we hopped into our oversized SUV and hit the open road. I’d spent a good part of the previous evening explaining to Janet and Mia, my very confused daughters, that we didn’t have a destination in mind. “So why are we going dad?” Janet, the older daughter asked. Mia, the younger, nodded her head in agreement.
“Let me explain it again, we’re going to observe nature in all its natural beauty and then get some really great hot chocolate.”
“But dad, couldn’t we just look at nature on TV? Mom makes great hot chocolate so why do we have to go all the way to the country?” Mia whined.
“No TV, we’re going to see the real thing.” I could see my wife smiling in the kitchen.
It wasn’t more than ten minutes on the road before Janet asked, “are we there yet?”
I tried to explain again that there wasn’t any there, there. We were just going for a drive with no destination in mind. As we got up into the mountains the scenery was breathtaking. Even the kids were impressed. Impressed didn’t last very long. In five minutes both girl’s eyes were glued to their phone screens. Even my wife was checking her text messages. What else could I have expected. With some sadness I turned the SUV around and headed back home. I have to give my wife credit, not once did she utter any phrase that contained the words, “I told you so.”
My wife’s hot chocolate and movies on the big screen TV are our new family fall tradition.