Monday, December 28, 2009


"Go, go, go," I said. We were sitting at a stoplight for a turn that would take us into the Dell Diamond parking lot. The light had been red for a while, so for some reason I just started chanting "Go."

"Go," Eli 8.4 said. "Go, Go, Go."

Gloria started in with us. "Go, go, go!"

Now we're all chanting "GO, GO, GO, GO,GO," and when the light finally changed to green, we all cheered wildly.

We decided to drive to Old Settler's Park in Round Rock, which is the place where I took Eli to fish for the first time. It also has several miles of smooth concrete trails that wind through the woods and around the lake. We'd never ridden it before, but it looked aces on Google Maps, and I calculated that a loop was about 3.5 miles.

We left at 4 p.m., with temps in the high 40s, and we were all cold starting out. I quickly realized though, that it was going to be a great ride--the path was very smooth and wide, pedestrian/cycling only, and it was almost empy. So we rode and it was fantastic, with mild but constantly sloping terrain, a few bridges, and lots of interesting curvy sections.

We were riding about about 5mph, and Gloria's regular running pace was 6, so we were weighing her down. She was enjoying seeing Eli ride for such a long time, though, and didn't seem to mind.

And ride he does, because my son is the Superfreak. In this this entire ride (40+ minutes), he stepped off twice, both times because he was showing off by riding in the grass.

It was one of my favorite rides ever, both the course and the company, since Gloria's never come with us before. She's seen Eli ride for a few minutes, but the full impact of his superfreakery cannot be understood until you actually see him grind through 3.5 miles without a single problem.

On the way home, we wanted a Coke. Driving out, we thought we'd seen an open McDonald's, so we headed that way. "When I was a kid, all we had was a Dairy Queen," I said. "The day we got a McDonald's, it was like moving uptown. After that, all those other towns that didn't have McDonald's were just rubes."

McDonald's, though, was closed.

"Wait," I said. "Whataburger is always open. They're just two miles down on Parmer. Let's go."

Whataburger is closed. "Dad, I'm starving," Eli 8.4 said. "Can I get some chicken strips?"

"Ignoring thousands of years of tradition involving post-holiday meal behavior, I say yes," I said. "But we have to find those strips first."

We drove. We hunted. We were hunters and gathers--of chicken strips. Still, though,we failed. It must be hell being a lion.

"Jack In The Box," I said suddenly. "We are golden." We drove toward the restaurant, which was only a few blocks away, passing abandoned Sonics (damn you, Sonic--what is Christmas without tater tots?), and finally saw Jack In The Box, in the distance, ablaze.

With lights, fortunately.

"Yes!" Eli said, and we piled in, still wearing our geeky athletic gear. Several delicious chicken strips and ab few french fries later, we regained the steam in our stride.

"Dad, this is great," Eli said.

"I know," I said. "I think the ride and eating here is my favorite part of Christmas."

"I'm just worried that you'll want to turn this into a tradition," Gloria said.

"Hey, Eli!" I said. "Your Mom just said that she hoped this becomes a new Christmas tradition."

"I'm all in, baby," Eli said, laughing.

"Oh, no," Gloria said.

"That's us, Mom. Welcome to Eli Town and Billville," Eli said.

"Conveniently located right next to Crazy Town," I said.

Satisfied, we happily exited Jack's container. "I'm glad we found this fountain of delight," I said.

"And that's no opinion," Eli said. "That's a fact."

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