Happy Hour

The neighbor’s hay field is tall and green with heavy, seeded shoots.

We are well past the days of losing the dog’s tennis balls out there.

Now we’re losing kids.

On Friday night we stuffed the Boy full of allergy medication and turned the kids loose outside. They scattered like field mice in the grass.

And disappeared. Melted away in the wavy, hilly field.

We called them back, kindly at first, and then we hollered.

“Stop collecting ticks!” I shouted, “And stomping on the hay field!”

Finally they emerged….

…and picked their way along the gravel drive.

The scene looked a little like a lemonade commercial — a carefree, almost-summer, sunset stroll along a wheel-worn path.

Technically, Martin and I were drinking lemonade — an alcoholically infused version.  And the photos captured our pleasant, balmy evening.

But beyond the lens, the scene was less serene….

…thanks to the roving critters off-camera.

The Border Collie, manically herding us.

The slew of barn cats, sparring and squabbling along the drive.

The Boy, who was hell-bent on wading into every stagnant, algae-ridden puddle.

And then there was Brynn, clutching her stroller for dear life while Hadley pushed her along the rutted drive, on a journey that rivaled Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

After narrowly missing a few spectacular crashes with the stroller into the drainage ditch, Martin pulled Hadley’s driving privileges.

Had was devastated to relinquish responsibility….

Martin took over baby management. And the stroller, which doubled as a traveling receptacle for empties…

…of which there were a few…