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Posted 2/02/16 (Tue)


I’m a patient man. I’m much more patient than I was 30 or 40 years ago. I used to blow up at the smallest things. Not animals. Well, once in awhile. Not people. Well, occasionally. But I’d get mad at inanimate objects.
I could throw a chain saw farther than some people can throw a football. I could take a hammer and beat on a rusty bolt until my hands were raw. I could stub my toe and throw a chair across the living room. I could turn into the Incredible Hulk and destroy a chain that pinched my fingers.
But over the years I’ve mellowed. I don’t often get mad. But when I do…I may get mad at my partner in pinochle. I may get upset at the wire stretcher if that little spring falls off and it won’t grab the wire. But I know now to replace the spring, rather than throw the stretcher in the briar patch.
This weekend, for a brief instant I lost it. Only for a brief instant.
We were at the stock show in Rapid City. So was most of the planet. It was crowded with people. I mean shoulder to shoulder. The Cowboy Bar, where I usually meet friends and reminisce about how great we once were was hot and crowded. The music was loud. I suppose 30 or 40 years ago, I would have thought it was a heck of a deal. I had one beer with some friends and decided I would rather go sit by the pool at the motel and relax. I could grab a cool drink, enjoy watching the grandkids, and visit with some neighbors and friends. Sounds good doesn’t it.
Jen called and asked Shirley and I to bring some bottled water to the motel so they could take it up to the room or poolside. I’ve good kids. They drink water. We stopped at a convenience store and bought a few bottles of water. I could envision my kids floating around the pool, while I sat by an umbrella and sipped on an adult drink. And talked about how great we once were.
I walked into the pool area. My God! There were a thousand screaming kids. There were at least 500 that looked like my grandkids. The waterfall was roaring. The thousand kids. No, 2,000 kids were screaming. The river was flowing. It was steaming hot. And I had my winter coat on! There was no empty table to sit down and talk about how great I was. People were hollering and waving and climbing stairs and coming down the water slide and frogs were spraying water and the floor was slippery and it was hot and steamy and I started to get claustrophobic and hyperventilating.
Shirley has seen this before. I started to turn green and trembling. There were fat kids and skinny kids. Big kids and little kids. There were at least 500 that looked like my grandkids.
I lost it. I threw my sack with the bottled water down and the bottles skidded across the floor and hit an elderly lady in the ankle. She turned and looked at me and I quickly pointed at this fat little kid that was standing beside me. She just glared at him and didn’t hit him. Thank goodness.
Shirley walked over and apologized and picked up the bottles and came back to me. She had that look in her eye. You know. That look.
“Will you ever grow up?”
Damn, I hope not. And I’m not going back to the water park either.