I had expected my previous post would be the last regarding my summer trip to the rural side of the family, but I did cram in a bit more fun. So, we’ll wrap it up today.
I had certain designs for this trip and can happily report they were fulfilled.
Except for the fishing, I really didn’t put any preplanning into the other days I’d be in the Evergreen State. But there were two goals nestled in my subconscious.Top of the list was reinforcement of my Cool Uncleness. I won’t lay claim to being the first guy to publicly acknowledge a premeditated goal of becoming The Cool Uncle. And nowadays an Internet search will yield copious advice on how to become a cool uncle. I feel, however, that while one can study cool uncle strategies and tactics all day long, but it means so much less if it doesn’t bubble up from the heart.
Only the ‘phews can gauge my success, but I can honestly say that, at the very least, I’ve given them memories that shouldn’t vanish for quite a while. Just ask Nick and Nathan about the crazy snow dance.
Tuesday allowed me to fulfill the second goal: securing Encores direct from Boehms Candies in Issaquah. It’s a tradition: never return home to The Wife without Encores in hand. Not a bad deal, considering I get to enjoy some as well. I’m a bit worried, however, that this custom may soon loose some of its allure. My sister-in-law mentioned that occasional one can find Encore on sale at a local grocery store. On the other hand, there’s that extra bag of Boehms’ chocolates that enviably finds its way into the trunk, only to disappear during the next two hours or less.
Despite having resided in Issaquah for approximately nine months way back when, I never did visit the (somewhat redundant) Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In. It’s less than 1,100 feet away from Boehms, so I availed myself that afternoon of the opportunity to pop my Triple XXX Rootbeer cherry.
The Triple XXX root beer, like many root beers, has its own distinct flavor, but is much closer to the mainstream root beer style we all know. I opted for the Chevelle S/S 396 burger. It was good. Not drive-out-of-your-way great, but good.
There was no way I was going to tempt fate by ordering the “Famous Incredible XXX Burger.” (Check it out at the top of the menu.) A gentleman across the isle — a big, tattooed, barrel-chested guy — ordered it, asked the waiter to take a picture of him, his wife/girlfriend and the burger. He then tired to eat the whole thing. He failed. Were my 20-year-old and 22-year-old sons with me, perhaps with my nephews batting clean up, I might have tried.
That evening offered an opportunity to do the uncle thing at the National Night Out celebration in Monroe. I met up with my brother, his wife and the nephews to view the various organizations and demonstrations. There were two highlights: a water rescue and my brother showing the young ‘uns how it’s done at the U.S. Marine booth.It seems that the carrot works better than the stick when it comes to Mark. The Marines were offering various trinkets to folks who could complete five or so pull ups. But for Mark, it was all about the hat. I don’t recall the precise number of pull ups required to win the hat, maybe 12, but it was a count higher than most men over 40 might finish without straining something. There was a particular coolness and grace to Mark’s pull ups; the shades, a tilt of the head, and the extension of the belly as a counterbalance. He did get the hat.
My last full day started as usual with breakfast with the folks. My sister-in-law graciously volunteered to pick me up and drop me off to see a movie, the picked me up to spend more time with the nephews. Little did I know, the nephews swore off playing any video games until I could play with them. (I think that shows some dedication on their part!)
I was a bigger gamer back in the day, and still dabble now and again. However, that afternoon we were playing Super Mario, a game that arrived on the scene long after I had moved on to first-person shooters. But as with anything habitually practiced, gaming muscles seem to have a memory. Soon I was keeping pace with these half-pints and we were all having a good time. Then an opportunity arrived to ratchet up the Cool Uncle factor.
Don’t ask me the level we were playing ‘cause I don’t know; but it was difficult. After a few attempts to get through, Levi was knocked out of the game. Kaden and I were trying to climb our way up, jumping from moving stones to swinging platforms and through zombies. Kaden’s character fell to his virtual death. Four eyes were flitting back and forth between the television screen and this uncle from California. Sweat beaded on my brow. This was no time for button mashing. With
a little bit of luck great deal of skill, I completed the level to an exclamation of “Awesome!” from Levi and “That’s what I’m talking about!” from Kaden. I think Kaden was even more excited when he discovered that the newly opened level was underwater, where he could swim his character while fending off fish and avoiding huge scallops.
I figure this is a memory that will stick around for a while. At least until another Cool Uncle memory comes along. A nice thing is that this coolness goes both ways. I’ve got some pretty awesome memories of time I’ve spent with nephews. (If you’ve noticed, I’ve not mentioned nieces. I don’t have any.)
The afternoon faded away. The nephew’s dad returned from work. We loaded everyone into the truck and it was off to a last dinner out with the folks and my brother’s family at one of the many fine family dining establishments in Duvall, Wash.
(Use “Compatibility View” in Internet Explorer if pictures overlap.)