By Larry Simoneaux
Beyond here be dragons and fair warning is hereby issued. You now have no excuses because, if you continue reading, you’re going to be dragged into the world of grandparentdom.
Note: This is my column, and I hereby pronounce that word to be perfectly acceptable. If defense lawyers can give birth to “affluenza,” then I can have “grandparentdom.”
There. Matter settled.
Most likely, I just lost a bunch of readers who haven’t yet had kids of their own, let alone grandkids. Consequently, they cannot conceive of the fun associated with grandparents and grandkids facing a common foe, i.e., parents. The ones who are constantly forbidding things like serving ice cream at breakfast. On that last, I can assure you that it is an epicurean delight only matched by coupling it with with day-old cherry pie directly from the refrigerator.
I digress. Grandparent stuff follows.
My wife and I have been trying to figure out what to do were we to make a trip anywhere this year. Though we spend a lot of time thinking about leisurely vacations in faraway places, we both are, basically, homebodies. Thus, we’re perfectly content traveling to nearby locales.
My wife favors destinations with wineries, odd museums and great scenery. For my part, I’m given to wandering around locations like Crater Lake or the Dry Falls area. I’ve always had the history bug and seeing sites where nature did a fair bit of landscaping suits me fine.
But, then, always in the back of our minds is the fact that our granddaughter, Lori, is now located in Florida.
Florida, as in Disney World. And Epcot Center. And Flamingo Gardens. And many such places that would bring a smile to any 9-year-old’s face.
And so, there was the phone call to our daughter to check on any plans that might’ve already been made for later this spring. Just prior to that call, however, my wife remembered that Lori is — and has been for a while — hooked on the subject of manatees.
Large, gray, docile sea creatures that fascinate her.
Minor aside. I spent a lot of time in the early 1980s working in the Ten Thousand Islands — an area near Naples, Florida. While there, I actually had a manatee surface next to our boat while I was trying to retrieve some instrument or other. Scared the bejabbers out of me and, I swear that I saw that Manatee smile just before it submerged. Can’t dislike any aquatic mammal with a sense of humor and a bit of bad breath to boot.
Anyway, my wife did a bunch of looking around online and has already found about a half-dozen places where manatees can be viewed. Our daughter thought this was a grand idea and an itinerary is being looked into in which we spend several days at some lodge or other later in the spring. All of which is to be a surprise to our granddaughter.
Being that we will all be in Florida, there’s also the likelihood of visiting beaches where the sun is a constant, the sand is pure white and the waves are actually heated to a reasonable temperature.
Being the caring and concerned grandfather that I am, I will also ensure that my granddaughter’s intake of pizza, cotton candy and hot dogs is not neglected and that the purchase of whatever manatee likenesses necessary to properly decorate her bedroom will not be forgotten.
Evenings, of course, will be spent in serious discussions regarding swamp beasts, the Bermuda Triangle, and the proper bug-zapper to be purchased when the mosquitos appear later in the year. Trust me, there’s great fun to be had in listening to some blood-sucking insect getting its comeuppance.
Lap time will be mandatory. Hugs compulsory. Bed time stories a ritual.
Did I mention ice cream? Chocolate fudge, of course. I’ll not allow her education in the arena of great flavors to go wide of the mark either.
All in all, it’ll be a tough job, but we’re up to the challenge. Italy, I guess, will just have to wait another (and another) year.
There are, you see, priorities to be observed.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org