What is summer if it's not water cooled? A tasty, delightful drink from the garden hose, a rowdy romp around the yard with squirt guns, or a dip in the lake?
The summer of 2004, three years before we became parents, Brooke and I backpacked to Havasu Canyon of the Grand Canyon. It's a 9-mile hike one way, down a serious set of switchbacks at Hualapai Hilltop and then the trail more or less bottoms out and follows a sandy wash. At Havasu, we were greeted by the thundering roar of the 120-foot-tall falls well before we actually saw them, and it amped us up.
Way back when I was just barely a father, it just didn't occur to me that one of the things I'd have to do (get to do?) is teach my children to ride a bike. It's just not on the radar when you're swaddling and living large with a baby carrier on your belly. Last year when my wife suggested we get our then five-year-old daughter her first bike, I thought hmmm, yeah, sure. I could teach her to ride it, that'll be fun . . . Wait. OMG, I HAVE TO TEACH HER TO RIDE A BIKE?
It feels like the next thing you're going to hear is, "I'm going to college 2000 miles away because that's where my boyfriend is going," or worse . . .
I'm not so naïve to think that others out there will agree with me that driving dirt roads is a lot of fun. Plenty of people find it meritless, no doubt, and I understand the criticisms. With the freedom of getting out there and away from the eye of authority, there's an absurd few who take advantage of the situation when "no one is looking." They'll abandon their unwanted furniture . . .
Most of us, I suspect, made a choice to raise children. Even if you were, you know, surprised with the news of your pregnancy, you still brought your own flesh and blood into this world and discovered the joys and tribulations of raising a baby into a bright young child and beyond.
But that's not the case for everybody. It certainly wasn't for Dan Szczesny who suddenly and without much warning became the caretaker for a pair of twin 9-year-olds . . .
It may be that the only devils out there are the ones in costume. You know how they get when they've had too much candy.
While we all have some quirky neighbors—perhaps our neighbors believe we're the weird ones—it seems that on Halloween night they might not be lacing their candy with lye and rat poison or not even handing out razors and used hypodermic needles. Joel Best is a sociology professor from University of Delaware who's been researching the phenomenally generalized fear of tainted Halloween candy. He's studied news reports as far back as 1958, and though he's found some wild stories, the truth of the matter might surprise you. "No child has ever died or been seriously injured by contaminated Halloween treats," he says.