At Jennifer’s request, our first stop was at a gas station with a peach stand called Georgia Peaches which is a perfect name for a business selling Georgia peaches. Imagine how old the stand must be to have acquired the ultimate business name for selling Georgia peaches. Way to go guys!
Jenn assigned me the task of buying peaches while she and the kids found a park bench to wait for me.
The shade of the stand put me in no rush to leave. The morning sun was starting to heat us up. I took the place in. There was a teenage boy manning (teening) the stand. He was a pleasant looking blonde kid with tan skin. He looked to be 15. I asked him about the prices of each size basket. I decided that the $5 one was sufficient; 6 peaches, 2 ripe, 4 crisp. I wondered how hot it got in there. If he hated this job. Or if he’d been doing it so long with his family that he didn’t know the difference.
On the register there was a big cup with money in it which read “Help me go to college” I figured it was ok if I just worried about my kids going to college, so I didn’t contribute. I also wondered how much he had put away so far, or if his parents just put the cup out there to get more money. Maybe the kid would be a peach farmer all of his life.
Chris and Jenny got the juicy ones. The ripe peaches dripped sweetly and heavily on their chins. I can still hear that sucking sound someone makes when they’re trying to stop the juice from dripping but failing.
State Line Honking
When I was a kid, my parents took me on several big road trips, and at every state line my dad would give the horn a good punch.
I’ve done it with every single line I’ve crossed since my first solo road trip in 1992. It annoys Jenny and Alli because it wakes them up, but I’m a man with a deep sense of tradition (and obsessive compulsive tendencies). This trip will give me a total of 14 honks.
It did NOT know DQ’s burgers were that good.
Our first Orlando destination was a large shopping center called Disney Springs. I get anxious about going to things I know nothing about. I asked Jenn what it was and she said that it used to be called Downtown Disney.
“So, it’s a downtown, like a street with restaurants and clubs and mattress shops? (thinking of downtown Norman)
“Babe, I’ve never been there. Yes there are restaurants and shopping.”
“Maybe. David, PLEASE just go with it. ”
“So what is it? $300 per person?”
“No, it’s free. It’s just a place you go.”
I decided to go with it.
The place didn’t look big at first, but the more we walked, the more we could see that it was as big as a theme park. There were souvenir shopping, clothes and jewelry shopping, restaurants, food stands, boat cruises, and stages. Mainly the boys just followed the girls through the maze of shops that we were not interested in, but we did find a Star Wars shop which lit Chris up for a while.
But it was hot and muggy. We got tired of looking for a place to eat and decided to leave. I bought us Wendy’s on the way back to our house.
My first task at arriving at our cute little villa with the palm tree was to drive over to the nearby Walmart Supercenter to buy groceries for the week. I came to buy 3 meals, breakfast, snacks, and sundries.
There must have been 5,000 people trudging and waddling around in there. My goal was to get in and out without a mental health crisis.
I didn’t use a list because I’ve been shopping these meals for my family for years: cheese enchiladas, macaroni and cheese, and Salisbury steak. I was geared for optimum efficiency, but it’s hard to shop recipes for an entirely empty kitchen.
I got in a long, slow line behind two African-American ladies and their children.
“Here’s what it’s gonna be like. I’m going home, and –”
“You gonna put the kids to–”
“She nodded emphatically. “Yes! Gonna put them kids to bed, and –”
“Then you gonna take a bath, and –”
“Go to bed!” they both said together and cracked themselves up.
Now, at this point I’ve assumed they were friends. But as I’m looking back on it, it is likely that they simply hit it off in line.
They turned their talk to macaroni and cheese.
“Now see? I make it so it’s all on top; the cheese and all that business is right there on top. Cheese, the butter, the –”
“Flour,” I butted in. “I’m making mac and cheese this week, and I forgot the flour!”
“Cuz you gotta thicken it.”
“Yes!” I said, happy to be a part of the scene.
And so I left my place in line to get it.
When I returned there was two little girls, their mother, and their grandmother. The mother and grandmother were trying to ignore the fact that the little girls were taking turns saying “I like poop,” and giggling.
Behind me was a New Yorker who had just retired from driving vans for Disney. He’d seen families freak out for years over schedules and expectations. He encouraged me to take it easy, and not to be in a hurry to catch every ride. It was impossible to do everything, he said. He also regaled me with stories about the very ground we were standing on being nothing but orange orchards for miles and miles just a few years ago.
I managed to leave without sunscreen detergent, razors, shaving cream, trash bags, coffee, coffee filters, and pool floaty loungers.
Too Big To Float
Alli decided to join me for a trip to Walgreens to finish shopping. She was feeling a strong need to do something creative and artistic. She found crayons and a pad of sketch paper. I found everything else.
At the checkout, there was a little, middle-aged Caribbean woman. As the rang us up, she noticed the floaties.
“Do you know if there is a weight limit? I don’t know if I can fit.”
The woman couldn’t have been more than 120 pounds. I wondered if she was suffering from some sort of body dismorphia. I assured her that if it could carry me that it would certainly carry her!
It was nice to get home and blog out the day before in bed while Jenny fiddled with Facebook and the kids settled in in their bedrooms. Travel is tiring.