I like to think of myself as the king of adventure. Of course, some folks would describe that as a delusional misrepresentation of truth. My eight-year-old grandson would tell you that you’re mistaken. He knows that it is true because I’ve subtly and not so subtly suggested the concept to him for the past several years. Bottom line – we always have fun! In addition, we don’t always color inside the lines. I even let him steer my truck once from the gate up to the house without fastening his seat belt. After all, he was sitting in my lap. How much safer can you be than that?
“Busted” is probably a good word to use. My grandson didn’t know that we’d both be better served if his dad didn’t know. However, when it comes to kids, I think it is important for them to know that: “We don’t keep secrets”. It is a good theory to learn. Sometimes my grandchildren’s dad can take on some of the General’s characteristics. After all, she is his mother and half of his DNA came from her side of the family. Long story short, he was not a happy camper!
Believe it or not, I was the subject of his discontent. I won’t say that he talked to me like I was a step-dad instead of blood-kin, but he made it abundantly clear that I had violated one of the family covenants. You know: “The wheels don’t roll until the seat belt goes click.” I agree with that 100%; however, that surely doesn’t include from the gate of the driveway up to the house. I probably should have cut him some slack. After four tours of duty in far-away and not-so-nice places, who could blame him if he was a little uptight? Then again, it could be the DNA?
Okay, so I mostly play it safe and I always color within the boundaries of my sense of how far I can bend without breaking. After all, I’ve never ridden 2.7 seconds on the back of a bull name named “Fumanchu”. But, I might one day. You just never know. When it comes to “granddad”, I like to keep folks guessing. However, I figure attempting to ride on the back of a bull named “Fumanchu” would break me for sure; maybe even for good?
Yesterday I was a little taken back when a close friend mentioned the adventure he has in mind for his nine and eleven year old grandsons. In the world of children, I suspect he is soon to be elevated to sainthood if he is not already there. He is actually going to ensure that this year’s “Great American Eclipse” (the first in 100 years) will be etched in stone in the resources of their memories. His logic seems sound, “If the total eclipse in Texas is only going to seem like half of an eclipse, why not go-the-distance and see it unimpeded from Nebraska?
I know, some of you fellow-Texans are now scratching your heads. Actually, some of my new friends in Oklahoma are probably scratching their heads as well. Even from Oklahoma it is still “a fer drive” to get to Nebraska? So is my friend who is probably ten-to-fifteen years my junior playing with a full deck of cards? Sure, he is going to make some brownie points with his grandsons, but at “Oh what a price!” If I rode in a car all the way to Nebraska, someone would have to help me out. I am seventy-years- old and I’ve never been to Nebraska. Isn’t that a long, long way from Texas? Doesn’t that add a whole new concept to the term “road-trip?”
When I think of a perfect meal, grilled corn on the cob is fairly tasty with a savored Omaha rib-eye steak, but I’ve never picked cotton and I don’t routinely husk corn. Every time I husk an ear of corn, I have the thought: “I’d hate to do this for a living”. Besides that, don’t they have machines that husk corn? Some of you are thinking I’ve turned down a dead-end road, but it all gets back to word association. Besides that, isn’t Omaha in Nebraska?
I don’t know much about football. Some of you are now thinking “my not knowing much” is a universal characteristic and it isn’t limited to my understanding of sports. When I think Nebraska, I think Cornhuskers. Maybe a lot of people do, but that has not always been the case.
In years gone by before the1900s, Nebraska football teams were known by a variety of different names. How does “Rattlesnake Boys”, “Antelopes” or “Bugeaters” sound? In the late 1890s the Bugeaters were highly regarded as a WINNING team. The name came from insect-devouring bull bats.
I mean, how many cobs of corn do you have to husk before you think naming a team after insect-devouring bull bats is a good idea? I don’t know. At any rate, the Bugeaters incurred a heart breaking loss after a ten-year winning streak and the team was rebranded as Cornhuskers. If you can figure it out, you’re smarter than me. Of course, even if you can’t you’re probably still smarter than me. I’m the guy who got up at 5:00 a.m. to write all this nonsense down and some people won’t even read it because it is too long.
So maybe I’m not the king of adventure after all. I’m thinking my friend who is driving from Texas to Nebraska to orchestrate lifelong memories for his two grandsons is at the top of the leaderboard. In addition, before the day is done, I bet he never forgets it either.
After all, the last solar eclipse to cross the entire United States from Washington to Florida occurred in 1918. My friend and his two Texas born grandsons will see it all in person. I just hope they remember to get the protective eyeglasses. Of course, I’m sure my friend has already purchased them. He is a planner and he thinks of everything. He’s been planning this trip for over two months.
Truth be told, I didn’t even know we were set to have a solar eclipse until this past Sunday when my son-in-law said they had ordered protective glasses for all of us to stare directly into the sun without damaging our retinas. Wouldn’t that have to hurt?
Someone expressed it this way: “If you’ve been avoiding the news for the past six months (and hey, I don’t blame you) you may have missed that America’s about to experience its first total eclipse of the sun in 38 years. On August 21 the moon will completely blot out the sun, and stretches of the United States will be in complete darkness as the moon casts its shadow. During an eclipse like this, the temperature drops, light takes on a spooky filtered effect, and the sun’s corona is visible as a spectacular aura around the moon, just for a moment.
“People are rightfully stoked. This is the first time since 1979 the US has been in the path of a full eclipse, and even then it was visible only in six Northwestern states. This year’s will cross the country from Oregon to South Carolina, marking the first time in 99 years that we’ve had a coast-to-coast eclipse”.
So my friend and his grandsons are set to get the full picture of the Great American Eclipse from somewhere in Nebraska. Now let me get this straight. Is it really true that the full view from North Platte, NE (with protective glasses of course) is anticipated to last only one minute and 52 seconds?
Don’t hear me wrong. This is a big deal for North Platte and the Texans who’ll see more than they would if they were still in Texas. Reportedly, North Platte is known for its hospitality. In addition, it is the home of the world famous “World War II North Platte Canteen where volunteers greeted more than six million service men and women on their way to and from the front lines of WWII. If I drove from Texas to Nebraska, I’d head directly to the North Platte Canteen. I’d need more than a drink. I’d need assistance getting out of the car.
Truthfully the ranching communities in the Nebraska sand hills are pulling out all the stops and opening their homes to offer unique lodging opportunities. That sounds a lot to me like the sound of money in a slot machine. I said it earlier. Perhaps you missed it or may have thought I was figuratively speaking when I said “And at ‘Oh what a price.” The closet my friend could get to making hotel reservations in Nebraska wasn’t very close.
I’ve never stayed in a Super 8 motel, but I thought “super” was a little overstated from the looks of things on the outside. I’ve learned that you get a better venue out of a hotel through Priceline, but the Cornhusker who owns the Super 8 Motel on cornhusker soil is “cashing in” so to speak. After all, this is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. That being said, “$1,600 a night” to stay anywhere seems a bit over the top, but for a Super 8 experience? Are you kidding me?
My smart friend from Texas who is on his way to the top of the “Granddad Leaderboard” is opting to stay 90 miles away in Kansas. $1,600 for a Super 8 room in Nebraska seemed a little steep for him as well.
I’ll be eager for the rest of the story once he returns. My apologies to my two grandsons if they read today’s blog and want to tag along with my friend’s grandsons. Granddad is going to have to pass this one up. I might consider it, but it seems like a really long ride for one minute and 52 seconds. I’d take my chances for 2.7 seconds on the back of “Fumanchu” before I signed up for a road trip to Nebraska.
All My Best!
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