One Saturday we set out looking for a great adventure. Grand breezes blew in from the bay, and we motored along without a care in the world. Your fine blonde hair drifted in a Mohawk fashion from your mature baby scalp, and when you giggled it wrestled with itself in indecision from one way to another. The humidity had conquered your dad, as it was always prone to do, but not you, for in your sparkling blue eyes shown defiance that no climate could ever conquer. Our destination lacked direction and like Christopher Robin and the Pooh gang we were looking to drive into the greatest of a story. Mom was at work and we were at play, a quest leading us on a forever after.
We took the bluffs for the shoreline, and across a great bridge we traveled, me cooing you in song and laughter, and I knew that we would always be friends, father, and daughter challenging destination, and disobeying great thoughts of discipline. It frightened me that day, but only for a moment. You see even now I see you and I touch the wrinkles in my forehead and realize conventional thought is too easy for us; we create genius in the moment and run into the lightening even though perhaps we should not. The road less traveled is something made for great venture.
As you grew somber and sleepy after our trip across the bay, I looked over at you trying hard to find a reason not to whimper or cry. It was hard for me to understand how a little girl could so quickly shift moods, and it created some tension if only for a brief moment between us. I realized back then as I realize today that I was quick to shift my mood as well. We mirror each other like shadows in great weather you and I. It seems you might have let out a little cry, and I rushed to find a bottle, driving with one hand frantically waving my hand over into the backseat to find the always prepared baby bag and all its goodies. I discovered it was missing. Your Dad had left it at the apartment.
Your intuition followed my panic quickly. What had started as a day of motoring in sunshine and song quickly escalated to howls of complaint. You cried some too. The weather changed its pattern on us as if we were leading the heavens. It began to rain, and as is typical along the Florida coast a great torrential downpour began. The rain, the thunder your screams and no bottle, led me to a place of misery very quickly, and not thinking that it was beholden of me to be a great role model at that moment I began to cry.
We drove on in the rain you and I, crying and sobbing watching our inability to communicate with one another lead us down a tissue less highway of despair. In desperation I pulled the car over into the parking lot of a McDonalds hoping to wait the torrential downpour out, and find some way to sooth both of our tortured spirits. As we sat there me sniffling you howling to make sure your complaint had validity, I had an idea. McDonalds had recently come out with their apple pies, and although your little stomach was one that took colic seriously, I knew that desperate times called for desperate measures.
I drove through the drive through quickly having to shout out my order over the din of the storm and you’re dirge. I remember to this day the look the kid in the drive through gave me when we pulled through. I’m sure he went home that night and gave his old man a big fat hug of appreciation.
Sitting in the rain in front of McDonalds I squished the hot apples from the pie into little bites and let you suck them off my fingers. It was like magic. Your face turned as pure as an angel, your sobs turned to the sounds of digestion. In relief I relaxed and sat back in my seat leaning my head back against the headrest and closed my eyes in thankfulness, and then it happened: I farted. Not a mild little church mouse fart mind you. No, it was a bombastic this won World War two fart. It rattled the windows of the car.
For a moment we both just sat there. Baby girl and Dad. There were just no words. Then you giggled, and giggled some more. I looked over at your little cherub face with squished McDonald’s Apple pie all over your lips and saw you were guffawing. You were laughing so hard you had little snot bubbles coming out of your nose, and you were pointing your little chubby fingers at me, and then I got it. You wanted me to make the funny blast again. That’s when I started laughing. I laughed so hard I had snot bubbles coming out of my nose. We sat there our worlds together again laughing, and watching the rain stop.
So many times through the years I have thought of that day that you and I took a drive. We are alike you and I. Our worlds get complex and we forget how to communicate with each other, and it seems like the rain that falls all around us is going to drown us. I believe there’s an McDonald’s everywhere we go however, and there might be gray in this hair now squirt but I bet I can find it somewhere in me to bridge this communication gap with a little bit of gas. – Daniel Swearingen 01/25/2014