The day promised to be that first day of Spring that felt securely warm, going into the 80s to remind us of the summer that is coming. I did a quick bike ride in the morning before church, but after a lazy lunch I yearned for more outside adventure. I started doing chores in the yard, cleaning up some spaces, doing a bit of trimming, and refilling bird feeders, but then that strange feeling hit me – I could wash my car.
Now, you have to understand something about this feeling. I was brought up in a family that treats cars like gods, and I often joke that if you believe in reincarnation, you should aim to come back as one of my dad’s cars. I dutifully tried to match his excellence but watched my standards steadily erode during my 20s and 30s. Once I moved to California, I never washed another car again unless it was at a car wash that recycles water. I did keep a bit of vehicle cleaning product on hand to wash and wax my motorcycle on a regular basis, something I could never trust someone else to do.
Coming back to Nashville presented two opportunities for a rebound. First, there is no water shortage in Tennessee. Second, I’m now closer to the Master Car Washer and find the cleanliness influence trickling back. We’re also the recent beneficiary of my dad’s passion, as we now own one of his old cars. Still looks new 6 years later.
So there I was, 2:30pm on a nice warm day with no wind, contemplating washing my car that was covered in three weeks of road slop, pollen, and cherry blossom petals. But something in me fought it. I had missed my daddy-daughter adventure day the day before due to errands, primarily finishing up the radio restoration project. Unfortunately, Evie was in one her “I don’t want to do that” moods during the early afternoon, and I just didn’t have the energy to force her on to a bicycle adventure and deal with her whining for the first ten minutes (after the first ten, she always enjoys herself).
Right before I was ready to throw in the towel, or rather, pick up the towel, she goes over to her BFF’s house and recruits her two friends. She now has numerical superiority to defeat the evil daddies of the world on a long bicycle ride and joyfully agrees to going on a bicycle adventure. Saved from washing the car!
We set off for the greenway on our bikes, with daddy gently herding three kids down hills, through stop signs, across gravel, and between smiling pedestrians. Our first stop was the creek, which has been a favorite place for our family ever since we moved here. What was once a source of fear and trepidation a couple of years ago is now a free Wet-n-Wild park, with all the kids showing only sheer delight and curiosity for Richland Creek.
It was fun to watch the usual progression of wetness. First, they were all careful to take off their shoes, roll up their pants, and take turns trying to cross the creek while staying dry.
Then, like the millions of kids before them, the first one “slips” and falls in the water.
Suddenly, water is not to be avoided but to be embraced. Bam! Another one slips in.
Then the last. Then they all take turns seeing who can get in the deepest.
I even caught a video of this happening for the second time:
After a long 30 minutes, we reluctantly return to our landlubber bicycles, ready to head on to the ultimate destination, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip. Nothing like a trip to the local ice cream stand to signal the start of warmer days.
We eventually returned in time for 6pm dinner, and what was amazing is that no one complained the entire trip about hills, how far it is, or boredom. To heck with “Safety in Numbers,” I say there is “Happiness in Numbers,” especially with kids. A quick bath and we were all ready for our popcorn night. And yes, my car is still dirty.