Sunday Afternoon

I don’t know what normal people do on an uncommonly warm Sunday in March. Perhaps you take your dog for a walk, or push the kids on the swings, or turn the soil and plant your garden.

We should have done all of those things. But instead we loaded the gator with the kids, and a friend and her kids, and we careened down the tractor path to a random bend in a creek bed. (I guess we “walked” the dog — she menaced the gator as we drove, engaging in her deranged version of “chicken.”)

Before we set out, we packed the essentials: music, snacks and booze. As we loaded our provisions, the five kids fidgeted in the yard and toyed with the gator keys in the ignition.

“Whatever you do,” Martin boomed, “do NOT eat the grass! I JUST spread weed killer!”

The kids froze and looked at him. Except for Hadley who studied the grass, no doubt thinking: eat the grass? I didn’t know that was an option…

But before they could taste their first green sprouts, we were whipping down the drive, a gravel plume behind us. Each adult kept a firm grip on a plastic mug and its sloshing contents.

Brynn called the concoction “juice” but I believe the technical name is “strawberry daiquiri.” The kid snuck a few sips but I tempered her consumption.

“I make the best daiquiris,” Martin says. Translation: lethal

We parked the gator at the lip of the creek, turned the kids loose, and switched on the portable-music-player. A Bob Dylan song emerged.

His hippie aura must be multi-generational. As soon as Dylan launched into his folksy mumble, Cayden announced, “I’m taking my clothes off!”

This declaration triggered a domino effect — all the kids stripped down, except Brynn. Then they waded into the brambles and explored. We sipped our “juice” and monitored their progress from a deer stand.

Eventually they dissolved into distant wispy voices. Martin caught up with them along the creek and hollered for backup. Camille and I drove along the field where we saw Martin and spied the kids —  quick flashes of bare bodies flitting between the trees.