I took a little side-trip during Athan's birthday trip to which he'd invited his cousin Huck. My car was badly in need of washing, so I stopped at the car wash on the way to our luncheon and visit at historic Columbia State Park. What do five year old boys talk about when strapped in car seats moving slowly through a car wash? These boys talked about whether they knew how to read; what their dad's know how to fix; and what it would be like to get a giant jawbreaker at the Candy Kitchen. I have to say that listening to them certainly made this the most entertaining car wash I've ever been through.
With a clean car, we headed to lunch at O-Be's, a Japanese restaurant in town. Athan was delighted when we first walked in to see the Tour de France on the big screen TV, and as luck would have it, the hostess seated us in a booth where the boys had a great view of the TV. Athan's older brother is following the Tour de France, so he consequently was well informed about the event and proceeded to explain to Huck the meaning of the yellow shirt and his understanding of drafting. I ordered a combo sushi plate and an extra order of yellow-tail sushi, along with chicken fried rice, miso soup, and edamame. The waitress thought the rice was for the boys and the sushi was for me and was surprised when I rearranged the way she had set the plates so that the sushi was in front of them. She quickly got them dishes for soy sauce as well as chopsticks affixed with rubber bands so they could use them which they did quite expertly. They devoured the sushi while watching the finish of the bike race.
When Athan and I discussed his birthday trip, he wanted it to include horses and music night. So after our lunch, we went to Columbia State Park and road the stage coach. There is a mock hold up during the ride that I forgot to warn them about. Both boys looked a bit frightened when the masked bandit accosted the coach. I whispered that he was an actor, and the father in the family who was traveling with us made some kid appropriate jokes that eased their fears. Next, they went gold panning and conscientiously swirled water to reveal pretty colored rocks if not gold. They filled little plastic vials with their booty and when they'd had their fill of gold panning, we headed to the huge rock formations created by hydraulic mining where they climbed and played until they were red-faced and sweating. After great gulps of water from the drinking fountain, we went to the Candy Kitchen. I vetoed the jawbreaker and directed them to gummy sharks and jelly bellies. They each got a small bag of candy which they carried to the car.
I took them to Woods Creek Park where they could eat the candy and then run off some of the sugar before we went to music night. They sat atop the play structure munching candy and having another one of their 5-year old conversations while I stretched out in the grass and rested. When they were done with the candy, they went to the creek to see if they could spot any crawdads. There were plenty of the creepy creatures as well as lots of minnows. Athan got the idea to get some crackers he had in his lunch box and feed them. We all hung over the bank and watched the fish swarm around cracker crumbs. The crawdads crawled up the edge of the bank to get larger pieces that the boys dropped toward them. Huck sang the crawdad song for us when I couldn't remember it.
Then we went to Granddaddy's for music night. The boys rested on the couch for awhile visiting with Grammy, Huck's great Grandma. They eventually made it to the table to eat chicken wings and cucumbers before they took turns playing Granddaddy's ukulele with the musicians. The evening ended with them enjoying Christmas songs after the musicians had exhausted their repertoire of kids' songs. They even sang Happy Birthday to Athan (though his birthday is a week away.).
The boys left with Uncle Culley and rumor has it that they both fell asleep on the way home, apparently tired out from a day of summertime fun.