Monday, May 24, 2010

Zip it! Zip it Good

Alison has discovered something she enjoys even less than country music on road trips: audio books.

It was Sunday and we were on the way to Turkey Run State Park for a Brownie field trip. I'd gone to the library the day before to pick up a copy of the book we're reading -- She Got up off the Couch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana -- but all that was left to me was the book on CD. (Yes, I'm woefully unprepared for Book Club.)

Oh, sure, I could have driven to another library but that would have been even less time to get through the damn thing before Thursday. And I was already behind the eight ball. Plus, I had 100 miles of driving -- each way -- and I thought I'd get through most of it on the road.

I knew nothing of the book and honestly, I've never even known of a pet named "Zippy," let along a girl named Zippy. But I trust my friend Amy McKune to pick a fun book. Or I should say I once trusted my friend Amy McKune to pick a fun book.

We hadn't gotten to Crawfordsville when I heard from the back seat: "Mo-om. What IS this stuff?" Turns out Alison has no love for Haven Kimmel, AKA Zippy and author of the book.

"That is the most boring thing I have ever heard in my entire life," said the kid with nine years under her belt -- nearly half of them including Religion class, courtesy of Christ the King School.

I have to admit that I wasn't mesmerized with Disk One. On the way to work, though, there was a fun altercation with a cow. And this afternoon, as we ran around greater Broad Ripple searching out fresh fruit and vegetables, both Alison and I were on the edge of our seats waiting to hear what happened when Zippy, anchor to an ill-fated whip of roller skaters trying out their skills on newly paved church parking lot, crashed and suffered multiple fractures and shattered bones.

Ali won't ever admit it that's she's a little curious about this Zippy girl, but I think she is. I may not get through all eight discs by the time Book Club rolls around, but I'll finish the book. I might even get the first book Ms. Kimmel wrote: A Girl Named Zippy.

I might have to withdraw my mistrust of Amy's choice, too.

The canoe trip turned out to be nearly as ill-fated as Zippy's roller skate game of Whip It. It's been so rainy, the creek was too high and flowing too fast. Which was fine except that flip flop sandals, while fine for canoeing, are not designed for hiking through a muddy state forest. About half the group were in flip flops.

I don't remember "the ladders" at Turkey Run, but believe you me, they're hell if you have a hint of a fear of heights. There are three sets of them bolted into an area cut by rock for at least a gazillion million years. It's a long drop down to the bottom where a stream gurgles up at you, double-dog daring you to get down to it.

I have no fear of heights, and I was not wearing flip flops. Ali has no fear of anything but spiders and Writing Wednesday, and she was itching to scramble down. All was well. The non-height fearing adults were helping down the girls willing to brave the ladders and cautioning them to mind the slippery mud on mossy rock.

And then, some random guy (who apparently couldn't hear our warnings) got tired of waiting and then got careless. I heard a whoosh, looked behind me as I helped another girl down the ladder and saw this guy fly through the air backward. He landed in the pool below on his back, about three inches from a rock that jutted up from the floor. It had to be at least a full story fall -- maybe more.

The forest stilled. No one even breathed. And then, red-faced but apparently unharmed, he sat up and looked to see if his cell phone had survived as well. The girls -- and most of the chaperones were seriously freaked out. We got the girls out and trudged back through the mud, hoping we'd find our way back to the suspension bridge across the creek that was too dangerous to float.

We all survived. It turned out to be a great lesson in how to roll with life's changes. And maybe that you should be careful on the edge of slippery ravines.

Zippy would have loved it.

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