The other day my four year old daughter begged to go “cruising”. When I asked what she meant she said, “You know…on the mountains…on a windy road, like we did before. We rode in the back of the truck next to the sky.” (I assumed that meant in the bed of my truck) She stated this in a tone like I was four years old, or daft.
I replied, “Oh, cruising! I thought you said bruising!” and started play fighting with her. Only she fights dirty, like her mother, and ended the brawl with a shot below the belt.
When Mom Gets Home
As adults do with small children, occasionally, I deflected my daughter by telling her we would go “cruising” when her mom got home. I imagined she would get lost in play; forgetting my promise while torturing the family dog, or cutting Barbie’s hair with the hedge trimmers. I often forget the single-minded determination of that little creature.
Hours later, she met my wife at the front gate and informed her we were going “cruising”. I explained to my wife that meant a drive in the mountains. I said it in a tone like she was four years old, or daft. She dropped me right there with a shot below the belt. I think she was a little cranky after working all day.
So, off we went for a little drive before dinner. Our youngest daughter was the only child home, so it was just the three of us and our dog, Pearl. Deleya played with the power windows while Pearl raced from side to side on the back seat. Pearl would poke her head out the window, and Deleya would run the glass up trying to trap her. I put the widow lock on before someone was injured.
I thought a little drive along the bluffs above the river on Discovery Hill would satisfy my daughter’s yearning for a road trip, and it was close to town. She said almost immediately, “This isn’t the right mountain. This is where we saw the baby cave.” I told her that mom had never been to the river overlook, and we couldn’t go very far from home.
All of the cactus were blooming. Beautiful yellow and pink blossoms clustered amid the sagebrush covered the ground by the overlook. My wife told Deleya to stay on the path when we got out of the truck, so she wouldn’t step on a cactus. Pearl, however, immediately ran out into the sagebrush sniffing for animal droppings and dead stuff to roll in.
It was a beautiful evening. We read about fishing, Salmon City, and Lewis and Clark. Everything was green along the river below. I tried to hold my wife’s hand while we admired the view. She pulled away and said, “The only thing I want in this hand is a wine glass.” Guess she wasn’t having as much fun as I.
Pearl burst out of the brush, snorting and biting at her foot, hopping around like she was possessed. Concerned that she had gotten into a cactus patch, my wife held her down while I examined her. It turned out she just had some grass stuck between her toes. Pearl definitely lives a sheltered life.
While I was looking for cactus spines, I found a large tick embedded in Pearl’s side. It had obviously been there for a while. This was something that interested Deleya. She squatted down next to Pearl and said matter-of-factly, “Pearl has a tock.” Don’t laugh, it’s easy to get your tics and tocs mixed up. We decided that it was best to wait until we had the proper tools to remove the tick. I asked, “How do you remove a tick from a dog?”
My wife said, “You just take a lighter and burn their ass. They back right out.” She was demonstrating the actions with her hands, and had a maniacal gleam in her eye. I could already smell the burning hair. Pearl tucked her tail and crept off into the brush.
We got back in the truck and decided to drive a little farther down the road. Deleya said she wanted to go to a different mountain to “cruise”. I told her we were “cruising”, on this mountain. She said, “No, like when we walked on that windy road that went up the mountain.” Maybe I WAS daft. Apparently “cruising” is some preschool slang for hiking. Hand slap to forehead. Now I understood.
To please everyone present, all I had to do was go on a hike to a wine bar that had veterinarian on staff. Piece of cake.
As we drove along, we began to see cows here and there. Pearl is a toy Australian Shepherd, and they are known to be excellent cowdogs. As far as I knew, Pearl had never seen a cow in her whole dog life. She spotted the cattle out the window and began whining excitedly. We laughed imagining Pearl, with her tick and grass between the toes, trying to sneak up and lick a cow on the hoof.
To our surprise, when we stopped, Pearl set off at a dead run to the closest cows. She bunched them up like she had been doing it for years and started them up the road. She trotted back to us looking all pleased with herself.
Where we stopped was kind of a swampy area, with cattails and interesting mineral formations. (My wife said, “Yeah…fascinating.”) We decided to hike up a little hill and see what we could see. Pearl strutted back and forth across the trail keeping a lookout for wayward cattle.
At the top of the hill, where the sun had baked the mud until it cracked, we found the remains of…some animal. It looked to be some kind of large rodent; possibly a muskrat or something similar. Pearl and Deleya thought it was pretty fascinating. My wife just wrinkled her nose and said, “Can’t you take us anywhere that doesn’t have a dead animal?” Needless to say, she refused to pose with the critter for a group picture. It was kind of creepy on that little hill. The clouds were dark and ominous, it was very quiet, and there was a chilly breeze blowing as we stood around the deceased. It felt like a scene out of a horror movie, like Scooby Doo. Then Velma…er my wife…said, “Can we please get the hell out of here?” I replied, “Rokay. Ret’s ro Relma.” Deleya laughed when my wife gave me a flying spin kick to the side of the head; guess she’s got some Daphne in her. “Rouch!”
Having taken my loved ones on an exciting cruise, which is also known as a hike, I hurried to return them home. I nearly got the truck stuck in a mud hole trying to turn around on the narrow roadway. It wasn’t because of poor driving skills, but because my wife kept pounding her elbow into the side of my face. She didn’t like the steep side-hill we were on and thought I was going to roll the truck. (I wish she WAS a back seat driver, it would be harder for her to reach me)
We survived. At home I got my wife a glass of wine, removed the tock from Pearl’s side, and iced the side of my head while watching Scooby Doo with Deleya (the cartoon, of course). It was an episode about mysterious remains on a haunted mesa…spooky! What can I say…Idaho doesn’t suck!