At the end of August, my bride and I surprised the kids, waking them up at 4:00AM, having packed the previous day, and told them to get dressed and get ready for a week in Colorado. We were taking them on a plane for the first time in most of their lives. The older three had vacationed to Maine many years ago, flying on the old Midwest Airlines (I miss them so much), but nobody actually remembered the experience.
They were so excited.
During that week, we stayed on a ranch in south central Colorado, about 12-miles from a horse ranch where you could ride horses – and eat. The place was owned by a lovely couple and their mother cooked the food for the guests. One morning, when my wife and girls got back from riding, we sat down and ordered food.
Laura (13) ordered a large bowl of broccoli cheese soup, The Freak (6) ordered some nondescript sandwich with a pile of large fries, and Fred (11…also, he has decided he does not like to be called Frederic anymore) ordered another forgettable sandwich with massive onion rings on the side.
Fred and Laura despise each other. Their personal hatred for one another is greater than the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
“Fred, can I have some of your onion rings? I can trade some soup,” Laura asked.
That was it. No explanation. Just a quick and dirty rejection with no fanfare.
“Laura, can I have some of your soup? I’ll give you some fries,” Analisse (The Freak) piped up.
“I don’t want fries. I want onion rings! Daddy! Fred won’t trade me his onion rings!”
I shrugged, ignoring the tattling. It had been like this the entire vacation and I was simply tired of it. Ignoring it didn’t make it go away, caused me even more stress, but gave the semblance that I was actually indifferent to the pointless non-issues at hand.
Laura slumped in a huff and made noises of disgust.
“Fred, can I have an onion ring for three of my fries,” Analisse asked.
Over the cries of unfairness by Laura, The Freak crossed to Fred’s table, summarily dropping four fries (one more for a reason you’ll soon see) on his plate, grabbed the largest onion ring (which Fred couldn’t argue about now, being she gave him extra fries), walked over to Laura’s table, dropped the onion ring on her plate, grabbed the spoon without so much as a polite request, and slurped down an ample helping of soup.
Fred was pissed. Here, his archenemy got an onion ring, when he had worked his rear end off keeping it from Laura. He made it quite clear that he didn’t want Laura to have it even then.
“It’s not your onion ring, Fred. It was mine,” Analisse giggled.
Fred had no case and was left mumbling under his breath. He had been bested. Everyone had been bested.
And The Freak’s stomach was full of warm soup.