On Labor Day we took off for another Family Adventure. This time we decided to drive to Terra Studios in Arkansas. It’s just south of Fayetteville, maybe an hour and a half away. Terra Studios is world-renowned as the home of “The Bluebird of Happiness.” They make blown glass bluebird figurines and have an artist’s colony on the massive grounds. I went there once before with Emma and her Girl Scout troop and we were both excited to show it to Saxon.
We were in the car about to back out of the driveway. I was driving, Saxon sat shotgun and Emma was in the back seat. Here was our conversation:
Layce: Emma, you brought your Fire and your DVD player, right?
Emma: Yeah, but the Fire’s not charged up. Can you plug it in to the outlet, Saxon?
Saxon: No. I’m using the outlet to charge Carmin. (Carmin is the name of our Garmin.)
Emma: Then I’m going to watch a random movie on my DVD player.
Layce: Good idea.
Saxon: Did you bring earplugs?
Emma: No. They’re broken.
Layce: How did you break them this time?
Emma: Cuz, you know, they just broke randomly.
Saxon: Then I don’t want you to watch the movie. I can’t stand hearing the movie in the background while we’re up here trying to talk.
Layce: Are you sure? It doesn’t bother me.
Saxon: No earbuds, no movie. And if Emma can’t remember to charge her stuff then she can just sit there and listen to us talk.
Layce: Are you sure? I really don’t mind hearing the movie in the background.
Saxon: My parents drove all us kids all over the place and we didn’t have movies to watch. This is quality family time.
Layce: Are you sure?
Emma: It’s okay with me. We can just randomly talk about random stuff. Hey, Saxon, did you know I once mowed the whole yard for Mom so she wouldn’t have to do it? I randomly started the lawn mower on my own and everything. First I pushed it out of the garage and then I randomly checked the oil on it then I pulled the cord which is harder than you think but I got it started then —
Five minutes later…
Emma: …and when Mom got home, I was randomly mowing the other side. I mowed it in random parts, though. First, I mowed the front yard but not all of it. I randomly mowed the part by where the walnut tree used to be. Saxon, you never saw the walnut tree, it was randomly cut down in 2009. But I mowed a big circle around it and then mowed it in tinier circles and tinier circles and tinier –
Five minutes later…
Emma: — Then I randomly mowed the side yard. The side yard on the west side, because next I did the side yard on the east side. But before that I randomly mowed the back yard where the greenhouse used to be before we tore it down and found that snake buried around the concrete block, talk about random, and you remember that, Mom? I touched it and you yelled at me and said you weren’t taking me to the hospital for a random snake bite ‘cuz it was my own stupidity that got me randomly bit and then I mowed that part over by the pond. Saxon, you never saw that random greenhouse, it was cool even if it did have snakes, but I mowed it what year was that Mom I can’t remember but I was seven or eight –
Five Minutes later…
Emma: — it was whatchamacallit random self-propelled and it wasn’t that hard to push but the self-propelling part randomly broke and Mom said –
Saxon: If you say the word random one more time I’m going to scream.
Emma: Sorry, it just randomly pops out. Whoops.
Saxon: How much further?
Saxon: Layce, how much further until we get there?
Layce: Huh? Oh, sorry, I stopped listening after she mowed the right quadrangle of the front yard on the east side.
Saxon: (mutters something unintelligible) Let’s talk about something else.
Emma: I know, I’ll tell you about the last time I was at this place with my Girl Scout troop. We had a picnic out by the lake and everybody had peanut butter sandwiches but some had honey and some had grape jelly but I think Mom had random jelly. Hannah R. randomly dropped her peanut butter sandwich. And Hannah W. got randomly stung by a bee. That was over by the labyrinth where there’s random poison ivy so you have to be careful. I think Hannah W. or maybe it was Hannah S. do you remember Mom it might have been Hannah P. got random poison ivy so bad on random parts of her body that she had to go to the doctor because –
I swerve and almost run of the road.
Five minutes later.
Emma and I are sitting in the parking lot of a random Walmart while Saxon is inside. She comes running back out, jumps in the car and tosses a bag to Emma.
Saxon: Here’s some random fucking ear buds. Now watch your movie.
Emma happily plugs into the movie and we drive for about ten minutes in blessed silence.
Saxon: You knew she was going to talk like that?
Saxon: Why didn’t you fucking tell me or something?
Layce: I thought you wanted some quality family time.
Saxon mutters something that sounds like “fuck you randomly fuck you.”
Layce: I think maybe you need to change your attitude. You can’t go see the Bluebird of Happiness with that kind of attitude.
Emma: You guys want me to tell you what the movie’s about?