Some of my most fun, fondest memories are of spontaneous adventures initiated by my mother, and her parents, Grandpa Leroy and Grandma Donna.
I thrive on structure, organization, and planning. However, I do love me some good spontaneous adventures!
At any given time, it was not unusual for my mother to ask, for no particular reason of celebration, “want to go get a milkshake?”
Many times, this meant driving 30miles to Steak N Shake in Anderson Indiana. It never really mattered what time of year, or even if there was a snowstorm in progress. We went to get our milkshakes.
My grandparents were equally spontaneous, and even up to each one’s passing away, still maintained a sense of adventure, and, always, tons of fun.
There were a number of times, during my youth, when we were sitting at the breakfast table, and one of my grandparents would say, “let’s go to St. Louis” or “let’s go to Holland Michigan” or “let’s go to Mammoth Cave.”
And these spontaneous adventures were not limited to just summer, either.
Even our non-spontaneous trips were always filled with fun, and adventure.
Sometimes, the fun and adventure were intermingled if Mother happened to be behind the wheel, and Grandpa wasn’t paying attention as the navigator.
Of all Mother’s many wonderful qualities, I am so grateful I did not inherit her lack of direction.
The blizzard of 1978 found most families imprisoned in their homes until the digging out commenced.
But, not our family.
While Grandma Donna was homebound at our house in Elwood, Grandpa was snowed in out at the farm. Apparently, his nerves were on edge when he could not reach us via our home phone. He was not at all pleased when he learned we were enjoying ourselves at Pizza Hut during the main thrust of the blizzard.
In college, I often initiated spontaneous trips, or events.
When I moved to Dayton, Ohio, August 1990, I seemed to be matched with the perfect friends who were always ready, at a moment’s notice, for a quick escape to Myrtle Beach, Lincolns Indiana boyhood home, Jefferson’s Monticello, New York City, Walt Disney World, or any other place that tickled my fancy at the moment.
As a dad, I never once abandoned my spontaneity. I don’t know how I possibly could.
The boys, as each one arrived, became accustomed to me calling up the stairs, at midnight, even on a school night, “Anyone want some Bill’s Donuts?”
Within seconds, I would hear feet scurrying down the stairs, and teenagers, still struggling into their clothing, climbed into the car.
During the summer months when I only taught three days a week, we would be at supper on Wednesday night, and I would announce, “You have 30 minutes to pack your bags. Someone get Flyer’s stuff ready, and someone prep Logan’s food and water.”
More than once, we ended up on Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks where we went directly to Kitty Hawk kites store to purchase new kites to fly at the Wright Brothers’ memorial, or Jockey Ridge State Park.
At 51 years old, I do not seem to be slowing down. As an empty nester, I have even more flexibility for my spontaneity, and adventures.