The Bus of Life

After several weeks of no field trip Mondays, I finally came close to finishing the Camp Video project I’ve been working on the past months, and declared that field trips would be reinstated. We needed to drop off the first 50 copies of the DVD, so we set out for the Duckabush, amidst much rejoicing.

For a long time I have wanted to visit the Undersea Warfare museum in Keyport, and once I saw that admission was free, I determined to take the kids there. We packed a picnic lunch and headed north, arriving at Keyport in a little less than an hour.

The museum was very interesting but it held minimal appeal for the younger children. Most of their experience is with hands-on science museums, and they have come to expect that museums are like playgrounds. The U.S. Navy, aiming at adults and older children, do not permit most of their exhibits to be handled, which made the experience a little more sterile than my kids prefer. Rachel was rebuked for climbing on a torpedo within a minute of our arrival, setting a negative tone on the experience which was never really dispelled.

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The Quilcene valley on a foggy Spring day.

We returned to our car to eat lunch and continued on our way to the Duckabush. Determined to redeem the day, I drove the kids to the Mt. Walker lookout point and let them feed the camp robber birds that congregate there.

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For David, feeding birds is a great wonder of the world.

This was much more fun than looking at a bunch of stuffy old submarine models, and the kids vied with one another for the privilege of having the birds take potato chips out of their hands. The clouds were low, but broke clear of the mountains several times … it was good to see recent snow on the Olympic Mountains after such a dry winter.

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Daniel is a little jumpy, but the birds eventually came to trust him.

I don’t know quite why this part of the outing was such a hit, but they really seemed to get a kick out of random birds stealing our potato chips.

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Joshua was a little worried the birds were getting too many saturated fats.

We eventually arrived in the Duckabush Valley around 3 pm (so much for my intentions of getting an early start!) and handed the camp videos off for distribution. I’m not sure why the kids like visiting our old homestead so much … but they immediately scattered outside to re-acquaint themselves with the grounds.

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Even in a large family, there is sometimes a little friction, but nothing that can’t be worked out with a baseball bat.

After looking over the progress being made on the Retreat Center, we found ourselves down at ‘Twin Bridges’ where we played in the stream for what seemed like a long time. There is something about running water that will keep children amused indefinitely … indeed, I found myself quite engrossed in boat races. Through some freak chance, Daniel and David avoided falling into the stream and it was Rachel who had to go back to the house to change.

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Sarah really enjoyed going back and forth across the bridges, as have many of her siblings before her.

While you might think that five children and their Dad would be unwelcome in polite society, one of our former neighbors insists that we visit whenever we are out that way, so we dutifully invited ourselves over to their house (it was sheer coincidence that it was dinner time). After enjoying conversation, pizza and macaroni and cheese, we sat down and watched one of the Camp DVDs together. The video seemed to be a success, and we tore ourselves away around 8 pm, heading home tired but happy. We missed the Burts, though … it doesn’t seem right to hang out at the Bringhams’ house without them.

This weekend Kathy will be away on a women’s retreat and so I will have the kids to myself for much of the weekend … it will be interesting to see if I can maintain my ‘fun Daddy’ image for the long haul. It is supposed to be rainy, which will add to the challenge … everyone gets a little stir-crazy when it rains the whole weekend.

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OK, so I had a lot of pictures of kids feeding birds. So sue me.

This morning my commute was a bit more exciting than usual … I got a late start and there were two accidents on the highway, so I had to run to catch my train. At a later stop, I saw a man coming down the stairs from an overhead walkway … he started to run, then he must have realized that he wouldn’t make it to the train in time, so he slowed down. Inexplicably, the train doors remained open much longer than expected, but by the time he realized this and resumed his headlong pace down the stairs, he was too late. I think life is like that sometimes … we don’t try to reach for something because we think we won’t make it, and then it turns out that if we only had tried we would have reached our goal. I guess that guy will take the bus in to work and will probably arrive 20 minutes late … how many of us are settling for the Bus of Life when we could, with a little exertion, be riding the train?

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