We get in the car and we go

“Want to go camping?” Sally asks.

“You mean in July? In this heat?” I ask.

“Sure,” she replies. “Next week. We get in the car and we go.”

“You realize that it’s 105 degrees outside,” I tell her. “And that it’s not going to cool off till Thanksgiving.”

“Come on,” she says. “We get in the car and we go.”

Sally eventually won me over, and on her 40th birthday, in record heat, on a day when Slade threw up on Sally’s face and hair, we went camping.

Camping used to be easy. We’d buy some hot dogs and beer, throw the tent in whatever junker we owned, and drive away.

Things are different now. We have kids and dogs and all this stuff that owns us as much as we own it. Simple jobs just aren’t these days.

It took us hours to plan and pack and organize to leave town. It proved draining work, and in the middle of loading up the sunscreen and the peanut butter and the changing pad in white afternoon sunshine, Slade, who’d been fussing the better part of the day, threw up on Sally.

“I think I’m going to break,” Sally stated, oatmeal vomit running down her chin and dripping inside her shirt, the day pulling her down like a heavy stone.

“Some birthday,” I offered.

“Some birthday,” she agreed.

Sally, of course, didn’t break. She never does.

And that evening, an hour before sunset, in the family wagon overloaded with crap, we arrived at our destination, 5.27 undeveloped acres we own in the Texas Hill Country with big hills and springs and an abundance of porcupines.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Sally, Eli, and I went for a swim in the spring-fed pool while Slade kicked and cooed in his jogging stroller and the dogs trotted and sniffed.

“I’m better now,” Sally shared, floating in the cool water. I realized I was, too. I realized we all were.

That night, Sally and I laid on a blanket, listening to the springs bubble, watching the freetail bats flap overhead, scanning the black sky for satellites and shooting stars.

“Some birthday,” I said, the dogs and the boys finally sacked out, the air warm and still and perfect.

“Some birthday,” Sally agreed.


5 Responses to “We get in the car and we go”

  1. 1 Teri July 29, 2009 at 7:50 am

    you live such a charmed life. vomit and all. Happy Birthday, Sally!!!!!

  2. 2 lesleyfamily July 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Charmed life, eh? I suppose it is, even if it feels like it’s an imploded life most of the time.

    Hey, I thoroughly enjoyed “God is not Great.” I suggested to Sally that she read it, but she’s deep into stories about sympathetic serial killers and cute vampires as of late.


  3. 3 Teri August 3, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Yea, life usually feels imploded. I guess because we spend so much time dealing with the shit (literally and figuratively). It is hard (probably impossible) to step back from the crap and see the charm. But I’m definitely jealous of the cute kids and the spot in the country (in Texas) where you can go swim and relax.

    I just love God is not Great — such a perfectly factual screed. I read lots of crap, too. A couple of friends are obsessed with British mystery writers, so I’ve been reading Dorothy Sayers and who knows what else all summer. It is nice and mindless, but better than TV.

  4. 4 Teri August 3, 2009 at 7:36 am

    PS: I am now obsessed with Belgian beer thanks to you. I’ve found one called Matilda that I rather like. What else do you suggest?

  5. 5 lesleyfamily August 13, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Ah, yes. The Belgians. They’re yummy.

    We don’t get Matilda here in Texas. As you well know, this state has all kinds of dumb liquor laws. Getting the okay to sell beer from other countries, or other states for that matter, is evidently is big hassle, which means our selection of imports is limited. Stupid Texas.

    I have two recommendations. 1. La Fin du Monde. It’s light, fruity, bananay, citrusy, vaguely sweet, hyper carbonated, and potent as shit. 2. St. Bernardus Abt 12. It’s malty and bubbly, and smells like grapes and cloves. A buddy of mine says it’s chocolately, but I think he was drunk when he made that observation. At 10 percent alcohol, a couple of these will make the room spin.

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