Sighting Orcas? No, Card Sharks
Home today; the cloud cover so thick it could be mistaken for the Northwest. We were afraid that temperatures would be much higher than during our week in Victoria and surrounds; we needn’t have worried.
As I reminisce, the time on San Juan Island was a highlight. The log cabin theme all across the Lakedale Resort was charming, a throwback to times of old.
How would we spend our last layover day?
The boys dreamed of renting mopeds and burning petroleum all afternoon, but since David is 17 a parent had to accompany him. Sounds fine, but one by one Barbara and I dropped out.
Barbara was the first to throw down her moped helmet; I followed just a few minutes later. That night I would describe my assessment of the proprietor as “Darth Vader’s sister”, this Susie of Susie’s Mopeds. She would concede to allowing the boys to scooter without a parent, “I’m sure they’re good kids,” but she made it quite clear that if they violated any of the moped guidelines she’d have to ‘pull my deposit’. She struck me as someone who pulled people’s deposits frequently.
Of course, I was reluctant to get on the moped for the potentially adverse headlines: “Bike Advocate Cheats During Summer Holiday; Gets Run Over By Truck.” Maybe I’m paranoid, or maybe I just didn’t like the tight fit of the moped helmet. As the kids would say: “Whatever” and soon they were off on their gas-powered excursion.
I found the book I had just started on the iPhone’s Kindle app — I knew David would relish this dystopian tale and there it was in the bookstore.
Would he read it? It was worth a try.
I was good and antsy by the time they arrived back at Susie’s
Squalor Mopeds. I couldn’t help but wonder what misbehavior her trans-island spies might’ve reported. And there was little doubt in my mind that they would’ve breached some protocol; after all, they’re kids!
My fears were seemingly misplaced as they eventually turn to town and return their ozone shrinking mechanical beasts. As they check out Susie cordially asks, “Did you have fun?” I’m sure she mustn’t have read her emails.
Standing on the sidewalk, Mark delights in telling Barbara where they went on their round trip, or so I imagined, around the island. Meanwhile I’m being an impatient jerk, “It’s time to go! We’re leaving. Everyone, we’re leaving!” My intuition of doom was pushing all my buttons.
And isn’t that what happy family vacations are all about? I plan a wonderful trip to exciting destinations then simple circumstances push my buttons and in no time, I’m being a first-class control freak. We hopped on our bikes and pedaled back to Lakedale during the island’s version of rush hour traffic.
So it’s not until we’ve made good our escape and are safely ensconced in the log cabin that the boys regale us with their explorations. They realized they were behind schedule so they decided to cut short their fun and take a shortcut directly across the island — right where it says: Stay on Highlighted Roads Only. I’m not surprised; I’m only surprised they weren’t reported and exiled to Jabba the Hut.
Dinner this night will be peasant food; we’ve eaten like kings all week and no one wants anything more than a bowl of tomato soup. My signature birthday gift is a 10 lb cribbage board — I cajole, “What was your second choice? A bowling ball?” A paper mache version would’ve been my choice when we’re carrying everything on our bikes, but it’s fun to revisit this old card game. I used to play it in the dorms, and not just play it — my roommates hosted tournaments and I was a brutal cribbage competitor. So picture this happy scene, our last night in the log cabin on this magical family bike tour: Dad’s on his second beer, tall boys, and those old college skills of cutthroat cribbage start kicking in…
It’s not long before Mom throws in; she doesn’t want to play anymore and the boys, too, are a little freaked to see this card-playing maniac sitting across the table from them. Soon I’m exiled to the kitchen to wash dishes.
From birthday boy to outcast — talk about a slippery slope. The good-nights are a little more muted as we make plans for our final day on tour when we’ll dash to the ferry and back to Victoria.