We used to envy Mama and Daddy laughing and talking with nothing to do but ride and read the road map. We were actually relieved when Daddy stopped and picked up a hitchhiker. The guy rode with us for 20 miles before finally writing us a check to let him out of the car.
Instead of the usual games to pass the time in a car, like “Count the Cows” or “Out-of-State License Bingo,” we played a game called “Get Mama.” We argued! We argued through scenic highways, majestic mountains, and amber waves of grain. We argued for 75 miles on whether or not you could run a car 100 miles in reverse without stalling. We debated how workers in the U.S. Treasury Department could defraud the detectors by putting $100 bills in their mouths and not smiling until they got past security. We argued about whether or not you could use a yo-yo on the moon and whether or not hair would grow over a vaccination. We discussed at length if a nun would be called “Father” if she were allowed to become a priest. For Mama, the only bright spot was when she slumped against the door and it wasn’t closed all the way---she nearly fell out.
It’s different with grandchildren. Lanny and I asked to take the five grand kids with us on our recent family trip to Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, while their parents followed in their cars a few hours later. It was close enough for us to enjoy the two-hour drive and far enough for the grand kids to consider it a “real trip.”
I was prepared for a certain amount of scuffling, shoving, car sickness, and boredom. Didn’t happen. What I was not prepared for were eleven stops to check out the roadside restrooms and, on one stretch of highway, a dense clump of bushes for a little kid who couldn’t wait.
The real reason there was no scuffling, shoving, or boredom was that the grand kids were self-entertained. There were three iPads, one iPhone, and one DVD player among the five kiddos. Except for bathroom stops, complete with dipped cones, ice cream sandwiches, and guaranteed-to-break souvenirs, Lanny and I were in our own little world in the front seat of our SUV.
During the trip, I managed to glance at the iPads and iPhone to watch the grand kids playing games that improve motor skills and mental dexterity. Impressive. The real shocker was when I saw my granddaughter milking a cow on her iPad. That’s right---milking a cow! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I sat there with my jaw hanging open, and pretty soon I felt a little mastitis of my own. As my granddaughter “pulled” the mammary gland down, the milk squirted into the silver pail. I kid you not. Before I realized that the operation was mesmerizing me, I blurted, “Hey, don’t forget THAT one!”
I fully expected them to Wii Wii Wii all the way home.