I just wanted to do something unusual with my family AND at the same time, see some friends we rarely get to see. Our friends, Paul and Heather had a gem of an idea: Wall Climbing at EarthTreks in Columbia, Maryland.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” was the response from the under-age peanut gallery at the little cottage.
“You’ll enjoy it!” I promised, as I packed snacks and drinks.
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” They cried.
“It’ll be an adventure!” I urged, as I organized everything into the car.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” They pouted.
“Get in the damn car!” I barked.
And off we went, just like that.
Life really is so much easier when you just get straight to the barking. Everything else is just for show.
Varmint was honestly scared. She is not a fan of heights. We could rationalize everything ad nauseam: My Captain has a ton of rope training and experience from his time on Maryland Task Force One, he would never leave her side, the ropes are incredibly strong, the floors are very padded, the harnesses will not give.
It didn’t matter. She was shaking, quite literally, with fear.
Critter, on the other hand, does not know he is mortal, and we have to take the opposite tack with him: Yes, you have to wear a harness. Yes you have to wear a rope. No, you may not jump down from the top.
And so the day began.
This is Paul. Paul is demonstrating two things: 1) how strong the harness is and 2) how strong he is. You may remember Paul from the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Blueberry Pie Eating Contest. He rocked it three times in a row. He’s my hero. I’m going to be him someday.
With less facial hair.
Varmint got ready, looked her fears right in the eyes, shot me a dirty, reproachful, “HOW COULD YOU MAKE ME DO THIS?” look, and started ascending the wall….
…..hating me every bloomin’ step, and muttering to herself quietly enough that I could not discern the exact foul language she may have been employing.
My Captain had her safely in his belay the whole time, and she eventually trusted that. But she still hated me for being so dadburn pushy and overbearing.
That is, until she reached the top. And then she beamed. And she glowed. And she decided to climb up the wall a few more times without me pushing her into it.
And she proved to herself that she had more ability than she ever fathomed.
Oh, she still hated me, but I can take it. She’s only eleven, after all. I’ve got a few more years of being hated to go, I reckon.
Critter, on the other hand…..
…is blissfully unaware of his own mortality.
And is wickedly adventuresome….one might say, beyond the voice of reason.
One might even venture to say he is foolishly, zealously, brazenly over-confident.
And rather callously unconcerned with his little ol’ mama’s skipping heart.
In fact, you might say he’s an imp.
A cocky one, at that.
This picture has nothing to do with the story. I just like the looks of My Captain in a climbing harness.
Paul’s daughter, Zoe, reassured me that there was no need to worry about Critter.
“Aw, there’s nothing to it,” she promised. “He’ll be fine.”
She said this as she herself scrambled like a monkey up the wall….as if gravity were optional.
This picture has nothing to do with the story either. I just love his arms and shoulders, and, er backside.
“Hmmm,” muttered Critter, “I bet I could do that faster.”
“Me, too!” answered Paul.
And then he did!
Rather nimbly, I might add. Not bad for an 85-year-old man.
I just wanted to look at this guy again. BOY HOWDY.
Can you believe he is married to me? I sure as heck can’t. I keep waiting for him to realize the enormity of what he’s done. But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the view, thank you very much.
Wait, what was this post about again?