“You want to go on an adventure?’
“Surprise. If I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise.”
“Put on some sweats and get a hat.”
HMMMMMM. So much for the fresh haircuts.
You might think that I’m all excited. I mean, an adventure! Sounds …
But this is from the boy I love, who has taken me along on other adventures where I was either ill equipped or lacked the skill or did not possess the experience to participate fully. Disaster and/or pain followed on occasion.
Also, the hub, who is very fit and has great natural ability, is not a detail person. (see ‘hat’ above.) Rather than anticipate what might go wrong, as in, what to guard against, he will dive in, fully assured that he is competent to manage the task or handle any contingency that might crop up. He does not, however, give brain space to what skills may be lacking in his compatriots. And to be fair, most other fellows are more coordinated than am I.
How many times, as I picked myself up, rubbed a bruise, bandaged an abrasion, called 911, did I hear, “I never thought THAT would happen?”
Quite a few.
He tries to remember. I certainly try to remind him. He is usually patient with my lack of athletic agility as he says, “Ok, watch out for the….” as we approach a hazard. Or “Ok, that didn’t matter, do this” as I’ve failed to perform what he thinks is logical. Or, when the temper is short, “THINK.” Which, of course, means ‘think like me” which is a whole ‘nuther story.’
But I’m game for some fun and at least, my performance will be entertaining to him. So into sweats, sneakers, jacket and hat I jump up into my place in the truck.
Hat: in our house, we don’t have many hats. I DO have a collection of flimsy, frou frou hats that I have acquired from the hub who ‘loves hats on women.’ These come out for special occasions. I also have some baseball caps, none with baseball logos. From those two categories, I assume the second will go better with the sweats.
We drive 10 miles west, past a little town called Burlington and then onto a country road and then onto a smaller, curvy country round until we stop at a wooded hill on which is a two door garage. Beyond the woods, as the trees have thinned, you can see a large, harvested corn field. Ok, we’re in for some outdoor adventures; I figured it out.
The hub walks to the side of the garage, feels under something and retrieves a key. Said key opens a side door and when he enters, he is able to open a larger door and what do I see?
Many, many, many 4 wheelers, all splashed with mud. He chooses two and drags them out into the sun.
SO, THIS will be the adventure.
Until Saturday, I had never driven or even ridden on an All Terrain Vehicle. What I know about them is that kids tip them over the break things, mostly within themselves. I am long past the age where I fantasized that I am immortal on this planet or, at least, that I don’t break. So, as the hub explains that subtleties of steering, I’m all ears.
“Look, just keep it on level ground and you’ll be fine.”
Level. Got it.
Since I will control the speed, it should not be too hard to stick to the plan.
Except the next instruction is, “Ok, follow me,” at which time, he takes the lead toward a gully…that would be heading down…and then a hill….that would be heading up, and then onto the cornfield, which has countless rims and ridges left from the combine. So much for level.
Also, as we have had two days of rain, many indentures are full of water and mud. Now, I’m ok with mud. I’m also ok with driving this thing, but the leader keeps heading off to the hills around the field.
I have one speed control and with only an occasion gunning, I’m going to set the land speed record for S L O W, I can tell.
I have a flashback: after a few lessons on a very big motorcycle, the hub set me up and pointed me toward the same Burlington on a busy highway. I knew how to shift but was so scared of the power, I drove the whole thing in first gear. Many honks behind and around me.
I have another flashback: the first time I took a wave runner out, it was at Marco Island in Florida and I headed out to the Gulf of Mexico. Didn’t get too far as I idled the whole time. NOTE: you CAN make progress in neutral with the help of waves.
Onto the flattest section of cornfield I go. And is the case with power toys, once I get the hang of it, my speed increases. ZZZZZZZZip, ZZZZZZZZip, spash, and then I slow down. Again. And Again. Hey, this is fun!
It’s windy and the baseball cap falls off somewhere. What I needed was a stocking cap and when the Conqueror of Great Hills reappears, I grab his from off his head.
He’s a gentleman, all the way.
Yes, we had fun. Indiana DOES have glorious weather in the fall, between rain and sleet. This day boasted of blue skies and a breeze.
And special time together.
(tense change, here)
Later, I ran into some students who asked what I had been up to. I said, “We went ATVing.” Blank stares. They know of Mike’s illness and did not know if our activity was connected with it.
Then one little bright light, who has active grandparents, executed that elaborated eye roll and nod, and looked to her friends.
“She means they went 4 wheeling.”
Giggles and then, collectively, “OOOOOOOOOOOOOh.”
And to me, “No one calls it ATVing.”
I was surprised by the trip and then by how worn out I was at the end of the day. However, no bruises or blood. I’d say it was a success.