Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are We There Yet?

This past weekend, Atlanta was blessed with the prettiest weather of the summer season. The oppressive humidity and chance of rain we had experienced all week was replaced by clear skies, low 80's and no humidity. It was the perfect time to get out doors.

I called the kids and my good friend, Diva. We decided to picnic at Stone Mountain and then attempt to stay for the laser light show. Stone Mountain is a historical landmark on the east side of town that tourists know for it's granite carving of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. For the locals, it's a place to spend a summer Saturday evening, complete with kids, for only 10 bucks per carload. We decided to meet at Diva's and depart from there.

Now, I've lived in the Atlanta area for seven years and have been to Stone Mountain a handful of times, but I had never driven myself there. Diva's husband, along with my son in law, decided to be the true essence of masculinity and offered to drive. We piled up two wheelie coolers, a soft sided cooler, a handle bag from Panera that was as big as the side of a barn, three kids (two of them under the age of four) and two blankets and headed out. All that was missing was the partridge in the pear tree. Sil needed to stop for beer on the way out, which left Diva's dude as the captain of the ride. While I will be the first to tell you DD is an exceptional artist/musician, I have come to the conclusion that he has no idea how to maneuver around Atlanta. I drive expressways at break neck speed and am familiar with back roads that seemingly take you no where. He drives 60 mph, while listening to obscure music on his iPod. One hour and 10 minutes after we departed the driveway, we arrived at Stone Mountain. This commute is a standard 40 minutes for any one else.

Since we had to park on the lower 40, we strapped on the soft sided cooler, wheelie cooler, Panera bag and Diva's kids to our hips and began our hike. I say hike because once again, we are on a mountain. One third of the way there, I'm panting, my heart is racing and my arm is coming out of the socket from dragging the wheelie cooler behind me. DD is the essence of good humor and begins asking "where are the Sherpa's"? We burst into laughter.

Close to the entrance of the park, we meet up with my family, the other wheelie cooler and brace ourselves for the last hike into the park. Once inside, we grab our piece of real estate, produce enough food and beverage to feed a small army, and settle in for the show. My grandson, hater of all things loud and "boomy" (see post about July 4th) is amazing calm as he plants his bottom in the lap of #2. We watch other people and laser light show. We sing to the music and whisper to each other. We have a wonderful time.

The best part? Before departing the park, we empty the coolers of what has to be 80 pounds of ice and replace it with tired, but happy children. Success!

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