The Saturday Scene

Romania and Budpest part 2 062

The good old days

Ten years ago, on any given warm, sunny Saturday (like the one last week) Martin and I would have been busy.

Busy drinking beers.

Or maybe a round of cocktails — something to accompany a platter of bar food. Back then, sunny weekends centered around a drive to an historic town; we’d wander a few cluttered, cheapish antique stores, then retire to an outdoor bar. There, we’d drain our glasses and swap snarky comments about the people passing by.

A decade later we’re still hunkered over beers on a Saturday, gossiping and soaking up spring. But we’re not people watching in town. Now we sit in the gator, parked in the woods, watching our half-naked kids wade in a creek. (I don’t know why ankle-deep water warrants stripping, but it does.)

Watching muddy kids isn’t as captivating as a bustling streetscape, but it’s not the worst. With a little time and creative thinking, it’s easy to imagine that the kids are performing. For nobody. In the middle of nowhere.

Cayden plays the part of the Native American. Crouched in the water, he scours the murky creek for salamanders and crayfish, cupping his hands around his quarry.

Hadley performs the role of pioneer.

Well, a nude pioneer.

She busies herself collecting wooden planks (left below a deer stand), lugging load after load across the creek, pausing only to free herself from the thorny weeds.

Then there’s Brynn, who gravitates towards a symbolic role: she represents American development and modernization. Brynn crushes everything — scattering Cayden’s squirmy collection and knocking down Hadley’s new construction.

It’s the classic American tale: a native people, a pioneering spirit, and an opportunistic, exploitive outsider. From our perch Martin and I listen to complaints and replenish drinks from our cooler.

For a while, the factions are peaceful. We can’t see the kids but we hear them high above — perched in the deer stand.

Finally, I spy a flash of skin at ground level. Brynn appears in the clearing and gingerly crosses the creek.

Their meeting has not ended amicably.

“Mom–” Brynn says flatly. “Mom. Hadley… stuck her bubble gun… In my hair.”




“I see.” I gently tug at her hair. It’s a modest section but thoroughly tangled and knotted in the battery-operated propeller.

“You know,” I say, “this reminds me of when I flew a helicopter into Hadley’s hair. It took ages to get that thing out. And the helicopter was never the same.”





“It makes me wonder where we’ll be 10 or 15 years,” I tell Martin, as I finally tug the bubble gun — and some hair — from Brynn’s head.

In 15 years we might be helping Cayden untangle his hair after a keg stand gone wrong. Or some other idiotic act.

I hope not. But at least by then, he should be wearing clothes…