"Connie," I told her, "did you ever think the problem may not be El Paso. Maybe you're the prob..."
"Jim," my wife diplomatically broke in, "why don't you and the kids take the dog out for a walk?"
So that's what I did. I took Cody, Connie's 11 year-old son, my 8 year-old daughter, and Buster out for a walk. The area I live in is still somewhat undeveloped, so we went out into the desert, away from civilization, and let Buster off his leash. I handed a ball to Cody.
"Throw it as far as you can," I told him.
"Okay... but this is boring." He's his mom's son, it would seem, but when he threw the ball and saw Buster chase off after it like a missile, his face lit up like he had never seen a dog chase a ball before. I thought of Connie. Maybe he hadn't.
After he and my daughter threw the ball a few dozen times, they and the dog were too pooped to pop. We re-leashed Buster, and rested by a nearby tree stump.
"You know," I told them, "I have a friend who has a big, old tree stump in the middle of his back yard, and do you know what's in that tree stump? A family of bees live there, and whenever my friend wants honey he just goes out there and gets it."
"No way," Cody said, his eyes big.
"Hey," my daughter told Cody, "my daddy's not a liar."
The kids checked out the tree stump top to bottom, and were disappointed there were no bees there to steal honey from, so instead we picked up some dead branches and had a three-way sword fight. Then we picked up some smaller branches and pretended we were wizards at Hogwarts.
Then something down the road caught Cody's attention.
"That's a reservoir," I told him. "We can't go inside, but we can go take a look."
When we got there, I lifted both kids up so they could look through the locked gate into that great big hole in the ground. I pointed out the three big concrete tunnel openings at the bottom.
"You see those tunnels?" I asked them. "They'll take you all the way to China!"
"Let's do it!" Cody said. He was ready for adventure. Or Chinese food.
"HEY!" my 8 year-old interrupted. "The sign says 'Danger'."
So we didn't walk to China that day. That's what I get for teaching my little girl to read. Instead we walked home. As soon as we walked in the front door, Cody ran excitedly to his mother.
"Mom!" he yelled. "I thought you said there was nothing to do in El Paso? We had a blast!"
Her son made my point better than I ever could.
Fifty Shades of Funny