Sunlight filtered through our open car windows while a brisk breeze swooped crimson and golden leaves in merry-go-round circles on the asphalt. The day's brilliant conditions ushered in excitement for the emergence of Fall.
But all was not quite so sunny in our car as we sat parked in front of our church last Friday afternoon. We spoke with our pastor briefly as he informed my guitar-laden sons that Mark, their guitar teacher, was out of town.
Still, the sun shone and cars whizzed past and all seemed right with the world until the car doors slammed shut. Because at that moment, when I turned the ignition, shifted my suburban into gear, and headed out of the parking lot headed west instead of east, my oldest gasped, "Wait, we're going home, right?"
He made it to a crouched defensive position before I could say, "Well, the girls and I were going to run a couple of er -"
Somehow this nearly ten-year-old giant of a boy managed to squish his five-foot frame into the floorboard of the front seat, twisting and turning and slithering, as if somehow his body language could push the inevitable errand-running into oblivion.
You know, you hate to see your child struggling. I mean, so paralyzed that they're unable to form complete sentences... I put the car in park, turned sideways in my seat, and turned my full attention to the performance taking place in the adjacent seat.
Squirming, turning, twisting, with facial contortions and jagged contractions, Bran continued his display of distress with the upcoming errand-running.
"Wheeeerrrrree are we going? What errraaaannndddsss?!"
Well, first I have to go by Julie Nelson's -"
"Yes - Julie Neslon's - she hemmed Daddy's pants like five months ago and I need to pick them up. You don't even have to get out of the car, she has them hanging on her front door for me."
(Weakly) "Ok, Julie Neslson's. What else?"
After Julie's, we'll be right by the Plant Shed, and I need to get a couple of plants and pumpkins. It won't take long."
"Do you promise me we won't look at flowers? Do you PROMISE?"
(Laughing) "No, I don't promise, but I don't intend to look at flowers. And after that we might go to Ross. For you, for new boxers."
(Whispered) "Ross." Sigh.
Slumped in his seat having accepted defeat, Bran looked out of the corner of his eye at me and said, "Don't laugh at me."
"What? Why would I not laugh at you?! You are hilarious! This is one of the funniest things I've seen - and it's even a free show."
About that time the phone rang, Papa on the line. I passed the phone to Bran to talk to his Daddy's Daddy:
"Hey Pop. Yes, we're ok, except we're running ERRANDS. And we might have to go to Ross. But at least we don't have to go to J. Max..."