Panama Rocks. No, it's not a high school cheer, although it could be. It's a geological formation just outside the village of Panama, N.Y. that has been local tourist attraction for generations. In the summertime, for a small fee you can park in the lot and roam the formations at will. It's not the Grand Canyon by any means, but it provides an exciting afternoon for the kids who enjoy climbing and exploring. At least once each summer there is a craft fair at the edge of the parking lot that draws quite a crowd. And once upon a time, it provided the setting for an incident that still brings a smile to my face.
Our now grown kids were just little kids on that day we decided to make a day of the Rocks and craft fair. The sun was hot, but the woods grown up around the rocks provided a welcome cooling shade as the kids laughed and ran their way around the formations. I however, was not laughing. I was not feeling well. Somewhere between arrival and midday, my stomach began growling and gurgling. I toughed it out until it was just about time to go, at which time, I had to go. The only facilities were the blue port-a-potties that stood in a neat row at one edge of the parking lot. I don't like using them now, and liked it even less back then, before they started hanging a bottle of hand sanitizer just inside the door.
There is no way to say it nicely. I had diarrhea. Montezuma's Revenge. The Hershey Squirts. It wasn't genteel or delicate. And it wasn't clean. Remember...no hand sanitizer. I felt better when I stepped out of the blue cocoon, but decided it was time to head home. By that time, the kids had gotten all the climbing out of their systems, so we packed up and hit the road. It was still blazing hot, even late in the afternoon.
"How about stopping for ice cream on the way home?" Linda suggested. In case you didn't know, Linda LOVES ice cream. Especially on a hot summer afternoon.
"I think I'd just rather go home," I suggested.
"Ice Cream!" The din from the back seat was more than a suggestion. This dad is no dud. I know when I've been outvoted and outmaneuvered. Ice cream, it was.
Everyone ordered, I paid, and contentment ruled. I have to admit, mine went down pretty well. Perhaps the complete drainage of my alimentary canal had something to do with it, but I polished off the entire cone except for the tiny little tip at the bottom.
"Aren't you going to eat that?" Linda inquired.
"No," I answered, whereupon she reached over, snatched it out of my hand, and popped it into her mouth.
"Mmph, Mmph,," she said. This translated to, "How come?"
"Because I never got to wash my hands," I replied.
"Aughhh!" She gagged.
I am thankful that Linda has a strong and healthy immune system. As I said, the memory still brings a smile to my face.