Crocodiles, Ice Cream and Ponys - Maribeth Benson


Maribeth Benson

Maribeth Benson

Have you ever had a day that just didn’t end up the way you envisioned? Of course, you haven’t! I am sure I am in my own little club.

Well, yesterday the weather was in the high 90’s so I called my daughter to see if I could pick up the grandkids from summer school and take them to the lake. She agreed but I just needed to run a quick errand first.

I left the house early to do the errand so that I would have plenty of time to drive to the kid’s school but I pulled up to the store only to find out that they were closed on Mondays. Now why a store would be closed on my day off is beyond me!  I guess I should have called first but… (insert my excuse here.) I then proceeded to try a “short cut” to the kid’s school since I now had plenty of time. I don’t know what I was thinking on that one, I am directionally challenged WITH a GPS. I ended up touring several neighborhoods, taking notes on quite a few landscaping do’s and don’ts.

After finding the school quite by accident, I excitedly ran to the classroom of my 7 year-old grandson, Caughnery, bursting with the news that I get to pull him from school so that I could take him and his sister to the lake. His face dropped in disappointment at the news because he had been about to join all his buddies in a run through the sprinklers! I do understand how difficult it is to choose between a sandy beach, a big toys play area as well as a brand new blow-up crocodile water toy and the allure of lawn sprinklers but, after a small bribe of ice cream and a pony, he acquiesced and put on his ‘happy face’ (or was that his cap?)

We then went to pick up his 3 year-old sister, Lorelai, who was fast asleep on her nap cot. I shook her a little, waiting for the glee to light up her face when she saw me, but all I got was a weak “hi” and a roll over.  However, the bribe of ice cream and the new blow-up crocodile water toy eventually worked on her as well. I thought one pony per family would be enough.

The drive-in didn’t have Frosty ice cream cones so I ended up buying 2 chocolate shakes that quadrupled the price of the “Frosty” and, after only 3 sips, they both announced, “I’m done.” I hope the pony fares better.

We finally arrived at my house to change into the proper swim attire. Then we packed up the towels, lawn blanket, apple slices, crackers, water jug, the all-nutritious Super Hero gummies (with 10% real fruit!) and the still deflated crocodile water float device, which actually had printed on it, “This crocodile water toy was not intended to be used as a life-saving device.” I am so glad the manufacturer cleared that one up for me, I was in somewhat of a quandary over that! I now proceeded to slather each grandchild unit with sunscreen and packed several more bottles of sunscreen just in case we were somehow stranded.

Upon arriving at the lake, I hauled everything out of the car: towels, lawn blanket, apples, crackers, nutritious Super Hero gummies (with 10% real fruit!), water jug, sunscreens in several UV protections, and the still deflated, non-life-saving, crocodile water toy.

We scored a nice grassy spot with shade, not much goose poop, and proceeded to set up camp. Caughnery instantly ran into the lake, while I started breathing life into the crocodile. Lorelai wanted to go to the big toy area but, with one set of eyes on Caughnery in the lake and one set of lungs on the crocodile, I gave her the box of Super Hero gummies (with 10% real fruit!) to placate her. It worked.

I had no idea how hard it was to do CPR on a crocodile! I only had its tail and one foot inflated when I felt some large raindrops and then heard a very loud rumbling in the near distance. I was hoping it was a jet but, unfortunately, it was accompanied by a bright streak of light that did not resemble an angel.

I called to Caughnery to get out of the lake ASAP.  Lorelai then turned to me with that sweet face, big blue eyes, and a mouth chock-full of all 8 packages of Super Hero Gummies (with 10% real fruit!) and asked, “Can we go on the Big Toys now?” I answered, “No, Sweetie, not this time.” And then promised her a pony.

We hurriedly packed up the towels, blankets, apples, crackers, water jug, sunscreen, an ailing crocodile, who was now on life support, and the totally empty box of Super Hero Gummies (with 10% real fruit!) and hauled it all back to the car.

My day in the park did not go as I had envisioned. But then life sometimes doesn’t go as we envision, right? When we got back to my house, we hauled everything back into the house then the kids sat down on the sofa, thanked me for the fun day and told me they loved me.  Oh! Did I mention the day was just perfect!

Jesus loves a little ‘thank you’ and a little ‘I love you’ too each day even if your days don’t happen to turn out as perfect as mine!

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

                                                                                                                                      Psalm 118:23

P.S. Jesus, next time we go to the lake, would You please breathe life into my crocodile with the wind of Your Holy Spirit? wink wink

Rejoicing and glad, Gammie Maribeth

Maribeth Benson is our prayer side receptionist at Spokane Headquarters and resident comedienne.