Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Crater Lake

Crater Lake, Oregon is a place which the locals say has two seasons: Winter and August. The crater sits on an extinct volcano over 7,000 feet high. My wife and I didn’t really think of it in those terms. I pictured a crater at sea level. We got there on a sunny day and went on a hike the next day, which was brisk in a pleasant alpine way. Then it snowed the rest of the days. We stayed in the Lodge, which was nice. And fortunately my lovely wife had packed a few warm things on a feminine hunch. And we bought a few more warm things at the store there. And we had fun in the snow and it was the first time my sweet daughter, now 20 months old, had ever seen snow.

The boy had a good time too. Twice while we were eating in the lodge dining hall, people came up to us to compliment us on how well behaved our children were at the table. And they were. The baby girl fussed once or twice due to the usual factors of hunger and tiredness, but was consolable.

We were a bit worried about driving down the mountain, not having brought chains, but the snow was only moderate, and the day we drove out was warm. And my lovely wife has experienced a lot of snow in her travels, including driving a van full of many people quite a long distance in a blizzard. So despite the fact that I believe I can do anything better than anyone, she drove us down the mountain.

For lunch, we stopped in a profitable roadhouse filled with arcade machines and lots of tempting gum ball machines dispensing toys and garbage to children. The sound system played bad contemporary music quietly enough. We ate. A three-year-old boy whose face seemed to me a mixture of bewilderment and pugnacity ran around the machines, picking up the plastic guns and shooting at the demons, even when he had no quarters. His father gave him a dollar, at one point. The boy ran back explaining something to which his father replied, “You shot the bad guy? Good.”

My kids sat there in their bland clothing bearing no trademarked characters, with their neutral neck-covering sun hats still on, innocently eating their food after having accepted our explanations that the things in the gum ball machines, and the loud, flashy arcade games, were not for us.

CJ, who I think is the hardest-working parent I know, has pointed out that people, especially in our area, get so righteous and holier-than-thou about the ways they raise their children. So, as a disclaimer, let me assert that I’m not saying our way is better, I’m just saying I notice that it is different. Not at the lodge, but in the hotel we stayed at on the way to the lake, and on the way back, there were two TVs per rented room. It was hard work unplugging them. And then, guilt-stricken that the housecleaning staff would have to plug them back in, I did so myself. And the microwave. And phones.

Before we left the mountain, I had chipped the snow and ice off of the car windows using a plastic frame used to hold promotional material for the lodge. The car was covered in snow, but not buried. Like Eyore is in the second picture of the series of three in the “Pooh Builds a House” story in A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.

In the car on the way back home, my lovely wife read this story to the kids. She held up the pages that had the pictures, so they could look. And that is the end of our tale, which was good enough for us, in our own small way, I suppose, until we get my son a Game Boy and buy a personal DVD player for my baby daughter to watch Barbie videos on, while they travel.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com