Wednesday, July 07, 2010


So tonight the Twins, Middle Child and I drove into the city
to see a musical production at the community college where my cousin teaches.

We sat together in the outdoor ampitheater
and ate all of my cousin's chocolate chip cookies,
accidentally making loud noises with our water bottles,
laughing at the funny parts and
clapping with the songs.

Twin girl had a stomach ache so she laid on her back on a blanket
and braided a piece of string that she found hanging underneath
Middle Child's lawn chair.
Twin boy sat behind us in his chair, coming alive when the cookies were passed,
and kicking his sister's chair by accident with his too big flip flops
every few minutes until she hissed at him to stop.

After it was over, we said goodbye to our cousins
and the twins wanted to go sit by the koi pond, so we did,
lugging our chairs over there.

Middle child groaned but I said,

"What else do we have to do? Where else do we have to be?"
It was near 10pm, but so warm they said it felt like Florida.
We weren't tired.

I sat in my chair on the koi pond deck and they dangled their bare feet in the water
for the koi to nibble, but none came that close.
Then we picked up our things and trudged back to the car,
taking our time as the campus emptied and darkened.

I was almost out of gas, so I got off the highway right away
at a lonely Sunoco to fill up.
Twin girl opened the back door and the sounds of conflict leaked out.
All three were rummaging around the front and back seat of the car.

"What did you lose?" I said, pressing Yes for a receipt.

A shoe.
She lost her shoe.
Just one.

"How did you just notice that now?" I asked, but right away I knew
it was one of those questions that was sort of moot.
Either she had walked to the car unevenly with only one shoe on,
or had gone barefoot, but either way, one shoe was still back there.

"We'll just go back and find it," I said.

Back on to the highway, then to the interstate,
around the stadium, through the detour we went.
"Maybe it's by the koi pond," she said.
"Maybe we'll have to wrestle it away from one of the koi fish!" I said.
"Maybe we should look for a koi that is shoe-shaped," said Twin Boy.

The campus was dark, but some office lights were still on,
and a security guard walked past us as we scoured the grounds
for a green shoe.
None at the entrance, or in the ampitheater,
none in the grass beyond,
but then Middle Child started to run.

There in the middle of the sidewalk by the pond,
under a little campus streetlight was the shoe
and they grabbed it up,
laughing at its prominence there in the middle of the walkway,
where so many people would have had to step over
or around it to get by that night.

In the car again, Twin Girl talked with our cousin on the phone
to tell her the story of the shoe
and to tell her thank you for the cookies,
and thank you for the Rolaids that made her stomach feel so much better.

She got off the phone and we all tried to stop her, saying,
"You forgot to say thank you for the Rolaids!"

She said, "I was going to, but I forgot what they were called,
and I almost said, 'Thanks for the Rolodex,' but I knew that was wrong."

So we laughed even harder,
and we were glad that she had lost one shoe,
because it was so weird,
and we were glad we had to go back there,
because we didn't really have anything else to do,
or anywhere else to be,
and it was warm
and we weren't tired.



Wilde said...

Very obviously smiling at my computer right now in the 24/7 coffee shop of seriously cool and pierced people around me. I loved the total fun summerness of this story--and I think Rolodex is a better word than Rolaids, anyways--but, I know, swallowing Rolodexes is not healthy.

Brian Miller said...

big smiles. a couple opportunities to let your night go sideways and you end up laughing in the end...

Beth said...

Oh, this story just made my day! I love that you enjoy your children!

TechnoBabe said...

Taking life as it comes and laughing and having fun. What a great family you have.

Michelle said...

This story encourages me. Thank you and your kids for it.

Heidi Lee said...

This is a perfectly wonderful funny story. You tell it so well and it made me smile.

Do you remember our Christmas letter? Do you remember the story we told about Mylie losing her ONE fully laced high top Converse tennis shoe? (we never did find it)

Must run in the family.