Margaret deserves - if not combat pay - then at the very least some type of dispensation for having survived being married to an idiot for the better part of the past two decades. From the Tree of Life she done picked herself a jackass. Trust me, I know him.
One time a summer my wife - proving herself to be the sportiest of sports - humors my need to feed my inner 11 year-old by agreeing to take part in our annual trek to Jenkinson's Boardwalk in Point Pleasant. While the order of the evening's events is not set in stone, the itinerary is: clams/cheesesteaks, Frog Bog, bumper cars, Tilt-A-Whirl, Kohr's orange/vanilla twist ice cream and (for the Missus) a candy apple, which is never eaten on the Boards that night but the following day at home. Saturday night we made our pilgrimage.
Last year we lassoed Gidg to come with us, which she did. This year she came with us again and this time we roped Lynne into coming too. We kicked off the night's festivities eating clams and cheesesteaks. In the aftermath of my gallbladder's excision and my commitment to running, a greasy cheesesteak does not find its way onto my dinner menu with the frequency it once did. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder - irrespective of what my digestive system thinks.
We spent only a couple of hours trodding the Boards. I doubt that anyone needs any longer than that to take in the full panoply of sights and sounds. We played Frog Bog - a game at which once upon a time when Rob/Suz were little I was excellent at but these days I am but mediocre - at which enough success was achieved to win a stuffed animal for Margaret. My wife, fully into the spirit of the evening, then decided to channel her inner Italian Princess and engage in a "whacking". Luckily for all concerned (with one exception I suppose), the recipient of said whacking was a mole.
Even with her Frog Bog spoils tucked under her left arm, my bride thoroughly dominated her young opponent (who is visible towards the far left of the mole farm demonstrating brutally poor mole-whacking technique). Being the gracious winner she is, Margaret allowed her conquest to pick out a prize and to take her winnings. In this case, not only did the spoils go to the victor but to the runner-up as well.
Once we completed our games of chance, we hit the bumper cars. There is nothing that turns on my inner 11 year-old quite like the bumper cars. I thought that I was having the single-best time of anyone who was on the ride while we were until I encountered the face of an actual 11 year-old behind the wheel of one of the other cars. He pursued everyone - friend and stranger, kid and adult - with a delightfully malevolent smile on his face that immediately before impact would give way to a laugh that was so rich it made me smile. I hope he had as good a time smacking into folks as I did watching him do it.
We segued from the bumper cars to the Tilt-A-Whirl (always among my favorite rides) and after having pulled sufficient G's to make me momentarily consider enjoying a salad and a bottle of water as my annual Boardwalk meal, we wandered back to the car and home shortly thereafter.
Day-to-day life prevents me from being 11 years old on a full-time basis. But for just one piece of one evening every summer, Margaret permits me to awaken my inner child and let him out to play. And for that he and I remain eternally grateful....
....as the Aurora rises behind us.