I've been boggling at and worshipping that old oak tree in Tallahassee for the entire almost fifty years I've lived here. It is now part of a park that Tallahassee built some years ago where there used to be field that flooded constantly. The area where the field was had been part of a river and back in the early days, they'd tried to stem the flow of that river and even built a rather major road over it and that, too, flooded constantly, resulting in the deaths of more than a few people. But when they built the new park, called Cascades, they incorporated the river system in it and there's now a huge pond where flooding can naturally take place and it's pretty cool. I had never been to the new park before today. Never. Not once, even though there is an outdoor stage area where some damn good concerts are held.
I just don't do crowds anymore, as you know.
But I was on Mer duty today and while Levon was still at his little day camp, August and I had some spare time to spend so I decided to let the boy show me around the park. He's been there many times as it's only about a mile from his house. There's a walking trail and there is the lovely pond and there's a splash pad for kids, a few playgrounds here and there, a large Viet Nam war memorial where I thought about Ross, and also an area called "Smokey Hollow" which is a tribute to the legacy of a once thriving Black community in Tallahassee. You can read about that HERE.
August did not want to go explore that area and it may have just angered me to see the ghost and ashes of what once was but I do want to see it at some point.
After August and I had done as much of the park as he wanted to, we went to the Co-op where I got very important things like dried soybeans and Tamari. We mostly chatted, the two of us. He is such a funny boy. At one point he said to me, "Well, you certainly are a lot of fun today."
He is perfecting his sarcasm. I laughed and laughed. He pointed out that that was the first time I'd laughed all day. He was probably right. He likes to tell me these amazing made-up stories, some of them long and detailed, some short and sweet, all obviously patently untrue. We discussed that, how it's very cool to make up stories but you have to tell people they are made up, otherwise, you are lying and lying is not good. Was he familiar with "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"? He was. He was also not very concerned about the message of it.
I wasn't very serious about any of it. And he has a tell which is that before each of these stories he says, "You might not know this but..."
We ended up laughing because at one point I told him that something he'd said was a Big Whopper Lie and he started accusing me of telling Big Whopper Lies every time I said something but it was all in fun. The kid is smart and he knows I know.
I told him that I'd take him and Levon out to lunch and he talked me into taking them to Wendy's. That way they could get a toy AND a lunch. Of sorts. Whatever. So we picked up his brother and went to Wendy's and my god- talk about self check-out. I don't think you can order at Wendy's inside except through their self-ordering kiosks. I was flabbergasted. The only window in the area where there are employees had a sign that said, "Pick-Up." So there you go. No menus anywhere except for the kiosks. They weren't that difficult but I did ask a nice employee with short green dreads to help me with my first order and he did and was quite polite about it and not condescending at all. So I managed to get all of our food ordered and paid for and then there was a sign by the pick-up area that said "Mary, processing order" or something like that. And then our food appeared at the window and we took it outside after washing our hands and they ate their kid meals and I ate what I always used to eat at Wendy's when I went to Wendy's which is a plain baked potato and a small chili. I put the chili on the potato and douse it all with their chili sauce and hey! It's sort of delicious, actually. It's got fiber in it and not too much fat. Better than a bacon cheeseburger and an order of fries. At least the potato is real food and the chili appears to be mostly real.
AND THEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY!
We went through a car wash. I swear, you would have thought we were on Space Mountain. First they instructed me to turn off the radio because the sound of the car wash is much better that way. Okay! They screamed and yelled and yahooed and yipped and clapped. The lights! The swirly washer strips! More lights!
The bubbly soap! The rinsing! The sound of the water and the rollers as they did their work! More twirly strips! "Thwap, thawp, thwap!" And then- the drying.
Heaven. Heaven, heaven, heaven.
I was sad when it was over. I sort of wanted to go back through it to experience it all again through their eyes.
Everything after that was sorrowfully anti-climatic. We went back to their house and read some books while they ate their animal cracker treats and as always, I got so sleepy with their warm little bodies pressed up against me that I found myself dangerously close to that sort of in-between place of being awake and drifting off, thoughts coming that herald the shutting of the eyes, even as I read on.
After we finished The Five Hundred Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, I let them take turns playing Monument on my phone, fifteen minutes each. And then we watched a few videos of wild animals attacking each other. There was no blood but damn- crocodiles can move fast and rhinos can definitely mess up a wild pig and have you ever seen giraffes fight? Holy Shit!
"Why not?" I replied. And so they did.
I just got a call from Mr. Moon. He finally has his new phone. Hurray! All day I kept thinking of sending him pictures and texts but there was no point. I know I haven't missed him having a phone as much as he has but I have felt a little bereft that we couldn't communicate as easily.