Friday, March 21, 2014

I Want A Do-Over

The following story was my entry into the 2014 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Unfortunately, it wasn't selected as a winner but I bet there aren't many folks around who can say they left their mark in the Grand Canyon for all eternity.

Furthermore, it is just one of many such occasions that I am chronicling into a new book "Places I've Been And Left My Mark." Available soon in a small portable format with biodegradable paper for emergency use.

"Let's do it again," I said breathlessly. "I want a do-over."

"A do-over?" my friend questioned.

"Yes! This is the most fun that I've ever had." And it was. When was the last time that I had experienced pure joy?
Searching my memory, I thought back to the various birthdays, vacations, holidays and other social gatherings that I had been a part of. They were fun but it didn't compare to this.



Unrepressed joy.

Childlike happiness.

Are adults supposed to feel this way?

I had been to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon before, what made this trip any different?

"Let's take a flight down into the Canyon and take a ride to the rim that overlooks the river," my friend said. "You can ride in a van or on a four-wheeler."

"Oh," I said. "You know I don't ride four-wheelers. The van ride might be nice. Let's do it."

We signed up and the morning flight to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking. We landed at the Bar10 ranch and after a short safety lecture it was time to load the vans. "Folks, if anyone is interested, we do have a new mode of transport," the guide said. "It's a Mule--almost like a souped-up golf cart. You can drive and ride in it for an extra fee. They can ring you up inside and don't forget to use the facilities while you're here. There isn't any place to go out on the trail."

With eyes wide open we ran inside to sign up for the Mule. What followed next was four hours of dirt, sand, dust, and jostling mixed with screams of laughter, muffled bumps and shouts of excitement as we four-wheeled through the Grand Canyon. "This is the most fun I have ever had," I yelled.

"I know; me too," my friend said. "Are you okay?"

Now doubled over at the waist, I began the all too familiar panicky dance that those around me knew all too well. It was the dance of agony as my "trick stomach" began to warm up for it's opening act.

"Not here, not now," my friend said between teary gasps of air as she tried to contain her laughter.

"I can't hold it!"

Away from the group in the middle of the Grand Canyon, I found myself squatting behind a large boulder and small cactus clutching my midsection as I peered at my travel companions looking into the river below.

"Still want a do-over?" I heard from afar.

At that moment, as my mind raced back over the last four hours, all I could manage was "Absolutely, just make sure to bring an extra tissue next time."

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