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A Walk To Remember

Oh, and was it a walk to remember.  It actually seemed pretty average, but isn’t that the way most memorable things usually begin?  The young plumber never sets out in the beginning to stomp on fire breathing dragons, save the princess, and ultimately become the most famous video game icon of all time.  But I digress…

To really understand, you need a bit of background.  Our property backs up to a small creek and Caleb and I usually spend a couple hours a week doing those profound things that fathers and sons have done for ages: trying to block or divert water, throwing various objects (mostly sticks and paper boats… OK, actually anything that we can lift or roll) in to the current, and sloshing back to the house with more mud on our clothes and shoes than we left in the creek bed.  Caleb especially loves to throw leaves and sticks in to the water, and it is never a problem, because thanks to my less than diligent landscaping there is always a plethora of leaves and dead branches.

Just down the street from our house there is a city maintained walking trail called the “Salisbury Greenway.”  About a half mile away there is a covered bridge that is sometimes our turnaround point for our evening walk.  That was the plan this evening, as innocuous as it may seem.

With the recent arrival of Joshua, and the cold weather, we hadn’t made the walk to the bridge in a few months.  Jessica and I were both commenting on how much Caleb had grown up since the last time we made the walk.  He actually walked along with us most of the way and didn’t need to be carried.  When we arrived at the bridge he pulled himself up against the railing — which is close enough together to keep him from slipping through — as he oohed and awed at this much larger and swifter body of water.  I even commented on how much deeper it was now than the last time.  (Our creek is one of the tributaries that runs in to this small river.)

As I stood there looking at all the areas, now submerged, that were dry just a few months ago, Jessica let out a “somebody just got hit by a bus” scream.  Because this is a pedestrian covered bridge, that particular scenario was highly unlikely, so I awaited the sound of a 23 pound splash hitting the water.  Yet when I looked over, Caleb was still standing up against the railing, peering down in to the water with a single arm extended through slats of wood.  I don’t think anyone can say for sure what is running through the mind of a 21 month old child, but I can speculate that it was something like this:

Oh! Look at this water!  This has to be five times as wide as the one we usually go to see — and it is deep too!  What a shame there are no leaves or sticks around here.  Maybe I can pry one of these boards loose.  Hmmm… no good.  They all seem to be as tight as my old man.  I can’t let this opportunity go to waste… hmmm… maybe if a pulled of a shoe.  But I really like these shoes my cousin gave me.  They light up when I walk.  Besides, it’s a half a mile back to the house and I really want to run around, not be carried all the way back home.

There has to be an answer (as he places his hand on forehead in “thinking” posture).  Alo, alo! What do we have here?  I thought I had a dilemma and all the time the answer was right before my eyes.

And with that he snatches the glasses from his face and and extends his hand over the water, which is right at the point we rejoin my tale above.  Whether it was because of, or in spite of, the raucous scream, the world may never know.  What we do know is that Caleb’s cute little blue glasses were tumbling lens over ear piece in to the depths of what had to be the geologically surveyed center of the river.  There was almost no splash as they slid in to the water like Michael Phelps going for the gold. (That ought to get the blog some hits in this news cycle, especially if I could also find some way to work in the words “bong” and “marijuana.”  Ha! It looks like I just did.)

With twilight setting in as the sun dipped to the horizon,  I descended through the briars along the bank and removed my shoes and socks, then rolled up my jeans.  Did I mention that this was the first warm day we have had in a while?  Within 10 seconds of immersing my feet in the mud, my toes started to tingle and ache.  Nevertheless I proceeded toward the MIDDLE of the large creek… at least the middle is pretty easy to find.  Did I also mention that the water had seemed a little high and swift from the bridge?  It turns out that jeans can only be rolled up so far, and unless I could find a way to transform mine in to “daisy dukes,”  I was going to be walking home in wet jeans.  It’s a good thing I had the foresight to give Jessica my iPhone before taking the plunge.

Somehow, after pulling up only one twig (that mysteriously looked like a pair of children’s eyeglasses) I saw the little blue glasses embedded in the sand under two feet of water.  I fished (ha!) them out and made a beeline for my socks and shoes on the shore.  Jessica was overjoyed.  Caleb ran down toward the brambles on the bank as I ascended. He jumped up, spread his arms and legs, and landed in an American Idol finale pose as he exclaimed “TA-DA!”  Hmmmm… there is something profound in that somewhere, I’m sure.

The air was warm enough that the walk back to the house didn’t leave me shivering.  Never being one to pass up a teachable moment, I took the opportunity to explain a few things to Caleb, like how much more expensive glasses are than sticks or leaves, and how the fish probably wouldn’t like that kind of lure anyway.  Oh, and how the next time he made mom scream like that he was going to be the one to clean out my boxers when we got home.

For all the excitement, as a parent, the buck stops here, and it was really our shortcomings the instigated the situation.  I guess we really should have taught him to say “My glasses need to be cleaned.  Could I have a tissue?”

So I don’t know if we can rightly call this “a walk to remember.”  At the same time, I don’t think it is one that we will soon forget.  (Sorry the pictures are a little blurry… it was getting dark.)