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To Be A Kid Again With Your 12 Year Old Granddaughter

Apr 20

filed under: Yada Yada

DSC00671Last weekend our 12 year old granddaughter, Tatum, came to visit for a couple of days from Kansas City. Prior to her visit I wasn’t quite sure what we would do that would be a memorable time. She doesn’t get to visit very often so I wanted it to be special.  The first day we took advantage of a groupon offer I had purchased to go bowling at the Fountain Hill bowling alley, I love all these new sites like Groupon, Deal Chicken and Living Social that give these great half off deals. Total bargains.

The bowling was fun, it had been years since Howard and I had bowled. Seemingly it did not seem to make a difference to Howard who managed to “bowl us over”, get it “bowl” with a 158 for his first line. I won’t bother telling you my scores, but might I just say it reflected my long absence from a bowling alley. Looking back I think the bowling was more memorable for Howard than for Tatum or I.Howard Bowling

That evening we drove out to the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation for the Friday Night Franks dinner I had heard about. Within minutes of our arrival I knew that this special event that I had planned for the three of us was going to be memorable and it was. . . but for all the wrong reasons.

Here I was expecting this great Arizona western cookout experience. You know cowboy songs, a campfire where you sit around and listen to cowboy stories, hay rides and smores. Much to my disappointment were a bunch of 6 yearolds doing the birthday party thing, a tour group in very non western attire, and an invitation to join a 100 yard walk in the desert where we listened to a guide telling us about the medicinal uses of the creosite bush. So far this is not going the way I envisioned.

To make matters even worse, we were given a meatless mealy hot dog in a plastic bag, a cold hot dog bun with no slit to put the hot dog in the bun, a bag of potato chips, a bag with two stale marshmallows and stale graham crackers all neatly placed in one of those thin cardboard containers that they put french fries in at the In and Out Burger. Time to leave was clearly written on all of our faces.

Wild Horses Ft. McDowell Indian ReservationAfter such a let down we headed back on the two mile dirt road that we had traveled earlier. Much to our surprise, some 20 yards in front of us,  appeared the most beautiful band of wild horses. THANK YOU GOD  immediately penetrated my thoughts. This was truly a  memorable moment for all of us to see these beautiful creatures in such a natural setting.

So one day down and one day left to create this memorable 2 day trip for Tatum. I know, let’s go to the  Body World exhibit at the Science Center. You know the one where they freeze dry dead people and you get to look at slices of their brain. Tatum’s response to what I thought was a great idea was a simple “CREEPY”. Well after umpteen suggestions, that only generated untolled rolling eyes, at last it came to me. What about Wet N Wild? OMG  jackpot! I thought Tatum’s eyes were going to pop out of her head.

After entering the park and feeling really good about the day ahead of us I splurged for our own private cabana. Home Run, Tatum loved the idea. Lounge chairs, a TV, awesome and right in front of the Wave Pool. That would be my thing while Tatum could explore the very high and crazy tubular attractions throughout the park that I had no intention of going on. After two back surgeries in years past the wave pool would work out just fine.

Tornado ride Wet'n'WildHmmm, fine memorable experience this would be, Tatum doing the water attractions by herself. Don’t ask me how or why but somewhere my brain left my head when Tatum said are you ready Grandma Teej. Lets go on the Tornado. At that moment I knew there was no way I could mouth the words, I’m sorry honey but . .

What I did know was that when I started to climb those Tornado steps, as I did when we went from one attraction to the next, I knew I was the oldest person going up those steps. I knew I was absolutely nuts, and scared shitless, but for a moment I felt like I was 12 years old again. I had a ball.  More importantly I also knew that I had created a memorable time for my grand- daughter. It certainly is something I will always remember.

Written by Howard Harris