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The Place To Be

by John L. Garner

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The Place To Be by John L. Garner
Sometimes the road trip can be as fun as the actual trip by Matt Johnston

Roughing it! Well, not exactly. After a good night's sleep in a hotel, my eight year old son and I drove to the state park. Our first hike. The great outdoors. The fresh air. Yet something wasn't right. The theme music from television show Green Acres kept playing in my head--not a good sign.

Saddled with my book bag (left over from my college days), we began our trek. Fully hydrated, I only made it about two miles before I had to stop and water a few trees. I prodded my son, and he continued down the trail. I wanted some privacy.

Total isolation. It was great. With my son safely down the trail, but still in my sights, I commenced to watering. With my task at hand almost complete, something caught my attention and it wasn't my zipper. Up in the tree. A bird? A squirrel? Nope.

All I could say was, "Hi, that camouflaged stuff really works. Any luck yet?" The hunter was still laughing as I sheepishly ambled down the path after my son.

I wanted to instill a sense of confidence in my son. I wanted him to know his dad was a skilled and knowledgeable outdoors man (I stopped by the camp office to get a brochure). I took several opportunities to stop along the trail and share my wisdom with my son (I read from the pamphlet).

At one point, we crossed into an old cemetery. I was amazed. In the middle of nowhere, an old cemetery. My son had a dozen questions. I quickly scrambled through my book bag and began reading from my brochure. As I finished reading, I heard a thump. I quickly looked up. A tombstone which stood for over a hundred and fifty years was now flat. My son's eyes were as wide as half dollars, "Dad, I barely touched it."

After feverishly digging with my bare hands, I managed to rectify the situation. We had an impromptu rededication ceremony and ambled on.

The trail seemed unending, yet the day closed too quickly. The cell phone, my pager, and that annoying Green Acres theme song were waiting for me in the parking lot, 500 feet from the path's end. But given the choice of any spot on planet earth or any moment in time, I would not change a thing. It was the place to be. A day a father and his son (and a well camouflaged deer hunter) will never forget.

About the Author

An adventurer from the rugged mountains of Central Illinois, John L. Garner (writebrained@yahoo.com) is an avid runner, writer, and a fan of the great ou


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