The Green Mile. Otherwise known as the longest 1/4 mile hike that did not have the courtesy to have a cliff that I could jump from at the end.
So we're in Tennessee and thought, "Hey, while it's nice eating then napping then eating some more, why don't we actually go for a hike today?". The fact that I didn't get raptured right then and there so that I wouldn't have to experience today does not build a strong case for a higher power.
And you and you and you and....oh, not you
It had been raining all night and some of the morning but it looked like it's clearing up so we pile in the car to head to Conasauga Falls, which mom and dad have never hiked before. Shrimp's driving, dad's in the passenger seat, and me and mom are in the back seat with Echo. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of driving in the car with dad, let me see if I can capture the essence for you. The radio is never on, because he's basically his own talk show. Think you can pretend you're sleeping and he'll stop talking? Wrong. He'll just carry on both sides of the conversation- no need for input! Did you miss what's happening in the news for the last 5 years? Don't worry! He'll recapture every highlight- with commentary- in detail, even if you ask him to stop.
Punch me in the face- please!
For a 'real life' example, last year we were coming home from god knows where, same cast of characters except I'm driving with dad in the passenger seat. He's talking non-stop about Glenn Beck and what kind of a-hole statement he made recently and despite the fact that I'm begging him to stop, I think he thinks I'm joking so just keeps going on and on and on. Kind of like Glenn Beck, come to think of it. He'll be thrilled that they have something in common. Finally, I tell him to grab the wheel because I'm going to throw myself from the moving vehicle and will hopefully be crushed under wheel of an 18 wheeler so that I can have a reprieve from the blow by blow. At this point Shrimp pipes in and says that maybe Jesus will take the wheel. I said that even Jesus would rather be nailed to the cross rather than listen to this for two hours. Okay, so you get a sense of what we're dealing with? Good.
Maybe if Jesus had taken the wheel for that lady in the Keys instead of her ex she would have made it to her date on time.
Dad and Shrimp both have a lot in common; they both carry on dialogues completely independently, using improv voices when necessary, and they both have a serious case of the Grandma Complex, which causes them to sporadically chip in with whatever could possibly go wrong if we continue on this treacherous journey. The end result is that once we make the turn-off for the falls and begin the 3 mile car ride to the top of the mountain, so begins the speculation as to what is going to happen if we a) run off the road and plummet down the mountain or b) run out of gas, then plummet down the mountain. Dad works out what he's going to say to the redneck when we require assistance obtaining some 'fine petroleum products' and then works out what the redneck is going to say in return. You apparently cannot be too prepared. Oh, and in case we do plummet down the side of the mountain and are trapped for days in the car together (I will literally gnaw my own wrist), Shrimp already said she won't share her snacks since dad made fun of her for having so many so dad has come up with the contingency plan that he will eat his own foot. Riiiiiiight, because that's the 'beefy' part on dad's body.
I call dibs on the big toe!
We finally make it to the top of the mountain, park the car, and suit up. For dad, this means straw hat, camel pack, and walking stick. We begin what is supposed to be a 1/4 mile hike to the falls but I swear on everything that is holy, that walk was at least 10 miles. Dad and Shrimp are bringing up the rear so they are free to extrapolate on their hillbilly contingency plan, including just how they're going to cook dad's foot or if they are going to find this elusive redneck and ask them if they could partake in some of his beef products (Excuse me kind sir, would you be so kind as to allow me to wrap my lips around your weiner? Hot dog, that is.) I'll let you have one guess as to who came up with that line. It was like an SNL skit but without Alec Baldwin. Or the funny parts.
Scweddy Wieners- a staple at every picnic
I can't wait to get this guy skinned and on my head!
Before long, dad's complaining about his Downhill Toe Syndrome and tells us every ten feet that he can't make it anymore so we should 'just leave him behind'. Okay. But apparently he realizes that if he's not there, then who's going to point out that it looks like it's going to rain and then tell us to 'watch it' constantly, because we are obviously hiking blindfold with a 3 year old. The few other times I tune in to the conversation behind me I hear snippets of 'drink out of the skull' or 'lizard skin hat' so I silently count the many, many ways I could dispose of both of their bodies where nobody would ever know and voila, the time flies by!
Eventually we make it to the falls and they are gorgeous. We play in the water for a while, the clouds part and it's an amazing, sunny day. Echo plays kerplunk but instead of throwing the rocks in the water, she throws them at us but follows it up with, "Don't worry, you're okay" so that we don't have to concern ourselves about the bruising. Finally, there's no way around it, we head back up the path and back to the car.
What's the worst that could happen?
The conversation continues in the same vain, although now they've determined that Dr. Scholl's will work as a foot tenderizer and Shrimp's patience is growing thin as Echo grabs every plant she walks past, even as she says, "I not touch it!". We're pretty sure her definition of touch is completely different than ours.
Like Dante travelling through the 7 circles of hell except not as pleasant, we finally emerge from the forest and into the parking lot. At this point, dad turns around and says, "That wasn't so bad!". I will shoot myself in the meal foot before that hike ever happens again. I don't even care if that's the path to getting raptured- keep a seat warm for me by the coals.
I'll take it if it means I can erase that hike from my memory like mind bleach.