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Oh! The west coast has the sunshine, and the girl better wear her sunscreen and not come home tan

Aidan just left home for six days. She is going on a field trip… to California.

When I was a 6th-grader, I travelled from Grand Junction to Greeley, Colorado to compete in the state finals of Future Problem Solving, which I believe is called Odyssey of the Mind these days. Picture bookish children imagining all the things they can do to save humpback whales with a drinking straw and paper clip. There were four of us on the team, plus an alternate.

I thought that was exotic.

We rode 300 miles with the principal and our teacher in an orange school district-issued van. We ate at Red Lobster in Denver for dinner, which was crazy cool at the time and although I can’t prove it, I bet I had fried shrimp. We slept on our principal’s parents’ living room floor, competed at the University of Northern Colorado, ate at a Mexican restaurant that was a total dive and saw a movie.

The morning of our return, we went to IHOP. In those days, when people had more time and patience, it was called International House of Pancakes. The speaking time saved by the name change has led to all sorts of modern advances. Anyway, I ate an omelette with spicy salsa and threw up in the parking lot. I didn’t eat salsa for years after that.

Do you know how embarrassing it is to throw up in front of fellow 6th graders?

Hopefully, the In-N-Out burger Aidan is scheduled to eat ON A BEACH won’t have the same ill effect. Colorado kids on field trips to California must have their priorities.

She is going to see and do all sorts of truly educational things. But first, she is going to be at 35,000 feet without us (pray!). A year ago, she flew as an unaccompanied minor to Albuquerque. It’s not our first launch. There will be more to come.

The family space race is just getting started.

15 comments to Oh! The west coast has the sunshine, and the girl better wear her sunscreen and not come home tan

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