The Natatorium

An emporium of oddities from around the world, complete with somewhat informative plaques that almost never match the item they are meant to be describing.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Quotable Mom Moments....

...from the annual Eminence pilgrimage.

Many of you may be acquainted with the annual Eminence pilgrimage. Basically, every October the collective James family loads up into the suburban and travels the hundred miles or so east to Eminence, MO--an extremely regal town with gorgeous natural surroundings, an annual crafts festival, and an old-fashioned soda fountain. Midway to Eminence, we stop at a restaurant and shop called--and I'm seriously not kidding here--Hillbilly Junction. They have good gravy. Oh, and this year Seth bought a blow-dart gun... (yay)

Once we get there, we typically float down one of the breathtaking rivers that converge in the area, stay in quaint (read: horrid) cabins on the river's edge, and spend an obscene amount of money on handmade bits and bobs such as pottery, hand woven garments, jewelry, and anything else we can (or can't) justify buying. We decorate the graves of my father's ancestors and drive by the house my grandma grew up in and the church in which my grandparents were married. Usually, we also visit one of the surrounding springs, such as Alley, Blue, or Round.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Well it is. However, this year things didn't quite go according to plan. Some of you may have noticed that this year, Missouri decided to skip autumn and go straight from summer to winter. As a result, it was too cold to float and we had to come up with something else to do... I know, let's go climb a mountain! With no path! Where you're not supposed to! With no gear! And no training!

So we went to Big Spring, intending to walk the fun little paths and enjoy the natural prettiness of it all. Instead, about thirty feet into the walk, Seth and I spot a Really Cool Exposed Rock Formation leading up the hill. Of course, we have to climb it. It's pretty easy, just climbing up these jagged rocks, with a football, btw, and it's all happy and joyful and "look I'm king of the mountain!"

But then we keep going.

Once we got started climbing, we just kept going.... up past the rocks, past the easy footholds, and into underbrush. Then we go past the underbrush into where it's just dirt, sliding, sliding away from under your feet. And we just have to keep going. Then, mom and dad start to follow us. So there we are, the entire family unit, trekking up this unstable wash, just going and going, with no thought as to where the top is (if, in fact, there was one) or how exactly we were going to get down. The top turned out to be a bare cliff face that I couldn't scale, leaving me to inch along it slowly with my back to the abyss as I made my way over to less vertical ground. As my Aunt Marilyn put it, "It was an excellent faith-building exercise."

When we realized we weren't going to find a path, we rested on a precariously perched log as Dad made us walking sticks for the trek down. Seth ran/hopped his way down, I mountain-surfed, Dad hiked, and Mom sloooooowly picked. Long story short, we all survived.

Anyway, on the climb down, we had a rather amusing exchange that went something like this:

Mom: ::grumble grumble:: ack! ::grumble::

Me: So, I guess we took the road less traveled by, eh Mom?

Mom: ::grumble::

Seth: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sadly I could not travel them both...." (goes on to flawlessly quote first and last stanzas of Frost's "Road Not Taken" "....and that has made all the difference."

Mom: Yeah, it's made all the difference IN MY KNEES.

She was like that all weekend. We tried to have a family game of catch and the whole time she was being attacked by gnats or stepping in little divots or jamming her finger or whatever.

Other memorable mom quotes include:

"I don't want to torture it, I just want to kill it!"


"This is just like Missouri"

Oh, and she insisted we buy a plastic gun that shoots marshmallows.... I think she wants to take it to work.....


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