Amber and the children remained at home while I caught church between the hours of 10:00 and 11:30, leaving just after sacrament because I suspected that Amber’s reasons for staying home would make it unconscionable for me to leave her with two darling but increasingly unruly children. It also happened that a chap sat next to me, greatly disturbing my personal space and —although I’m not really that esoteric—his presence came with an odor. Okay, so he smelled stale. Like he needed to be hung on the line for a while or freshened with a dryer sheet; that, or it might have been my imagination...
We finished the day with a riotous bout of children wailing, parents shouting (or doing their meager best not to) and all of that; so we high-tailed it to the mountains in search of a hike (the final determination of which was the culminating focus of interparental rage). We hiked two miles in a round trip that included children on hips, on shoulders, in arms, sitting down on flat terrain in a mistaken attempt to slide, lying down on the dirt as though it were a welcoming blanket, and poking at the dirt with sticks while fidgeting parents prodded them onward. There were the idyllic environs: towering pines, soaring blue skies, a pristine lake (named Mary, no less), quaking aspens, and wildflowers like sprinkles on a misshapen green sundae.
But then there were mosquitoes. Not one, not two, and they were not tiny, or imperceptible, but a ravenous net laid across our path in a guerilla-style attempt to rob of us of our much needed blood protein as we flew—er, or haltingly trod and sometimes stood still—down the mountain, swatting, swiping, and sometimes cajoling the wingéd menaces.
Noah happily shouted in echo as we neared a natural “chamber” on our way down. (His father may have unwittingly started it by hooting just minutes before.) My intellectual method in accelerating his descent: “Noah, move your butt!” Alas, tomorrow may betray marks both external and internal resulting from this latest display of shenanigans, but it was one of those efforts, not quite herculean, which nonetheless remains worth the venture.