Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Trip Is Half The Fun

I don't know how many times I've heard that in my life. “The trip is half the fun.” is usually what people say when the trip has become incredibly tedious and they want you to stop complaining about it. However, I have to admit that when I was a child and Josh, Sam and I would walk up town the trip was, in fact, half the fun. A lot of things can happen right on the side of the road that will give you a good laugh. I hope that these stories will share a few of our laughs with you.

The trip from home to the video house was a couple of miles I suppose. We would make that walk perhaps three times a week during the summer. The video house rented out video games as well as movies and that was what we were after. If we could scrape together two dollars we were off to get something new to play. The time between our house and the games was filled with conversation, observation and whatever entertainment we could find on the side of the road.

We would often pick things up that we found. It gave us something to talk about if it was anything of any interest and something to throw into the woods if it wasn't. You did have to be careful what you picked up and how. Not everything everyone throws out of a car as they drive along is safe to be handled after it's landed. We found all kinds of things over the years. Beers that hadn't been opened and things like that.

One time a friend of Josh threw his false teeth out of a car window. He had taken them out while he was eating and put them in his fast food bad. When he was done he threw the bad out of the window. He eventually realized what he had done and went back for them. He found the bag but the teeth had flown out. In the end he had to get a new set. One has to wonder if kids walking along that road found his teeth. Either way, the moral is don't litter, it's just not a good idea.

The only trouble we had with roadside garbage happened just before we got home one trip. Josh saw a broken beer bottle and decided to throw it into the woods before someone got cut on it. Just as Josh reached down to grab the bottle Sam stepped on it. They timed it so well that Josh jerked on the bottle just as Sam's weight stopped it from moving. The result was that the bottle sliced right into Josh's hand. Fortunately we were able to get him home and cleaned up in no time. The cut wasn't very deep and we even took the time to dispose of the bottle properly.

We were all more careful about what we grabbed after that. Of course, Sam still managed to cause more road side problems over the years. He had a tendency not to think about things. One day we had been out playing with water balloons right before we decided to go up town. For whatever reason, Sam brought a small one with him when we headed out. He was tossing it from hand to hand and generally seemed to be waiting for something interesting to throw it at.

Before long his patience provided him with a target. An older boy he knew from school came driving down the road in his truck. Just before he passed us Sam threw the balloon right out in front him. It burst on the windshield and the driver slammed on brakes.

“Run!” Sam yelled and he flew off through the woods. Josh and I followed as best we could since we were being chased by someone we didn't know at all. I finally realized that the young man wasn't interested in us at all, he was only after Sam. However, Sam had vanished. I had no idea which way he had gone and after standing in the woods and screaming for minute or so the pursuer gave up and left.

As soon as he was out of site Sam popped up out of nowhere. It seemed a bit of an over reaction to a water balloon on the windshield, but you can never tell how people are going to react to things like that. After hanging out in the woods for a few minutes we continued our trip. We felt that where ever that boy had been going before the water balloon he was probably back on his way. We didn't intend his ill temper to keep us from renting a game.

Not much further down the road we ran into a little unexpected confrontation. Not with the driver, as you might anticipate, but with the police. It turned out that the water balloon had broken the windshield. The officer was convinced that someone had put a rock in the balloon and that Sam was covering for either Josh or myself.

I'm not sure what the officer's grounds for suspicion were, but he kept asking Sam “Who are you protecting?” while looking Joshua and I over carefully. In the end we finally convinced him that it had, in fact, been Sam that had thrown the balloon and that there was, in truth, nothing in it but water. The end result was that Sam had to pay for the windshield. It was another lesson and Sam never did anything like that again.

Of course, that's not to say that it taught Sam to consider everything he did before he did it. I mean to say that when most of us come up on some poor dead animal on the side of the road we have enough sense to avoid it. Only a very small percentage of the population at large would show any interest at all in some road kill cat that was swollen up like some disgusting Halloween balloon. However, Sam is not with the majority on that.

When he saw the unfortunate bloated creature lying there his brain flicked off and instinct kicked in. As we walked past it he kicked it with everything he had. It burst, like some sick twisted nightmare of a water balloon. However, unlike a water balloon it sprayed hot, festering, dead cat everywhere. To say that we were covered in it would be untrue, but it certainly felt like we were. A little dead cat goes a long, long way. Sam could never explain why he had kicked it. It was a bit like why the man had climbed the mountain. “Because it was there!”

All in all those trips up town and back provided us with a good deal of adventure, excitement and laughter. Life itself is a kind of trip. We all come from somewhere and we're all going somewhere. Most of us could use a little more slow down and relax. The trip really should be half the fun.

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