Role Reversal

After the mud run at Rocky Hills Ranch near Smithville, the four of us drove over to the town and had supper at a local grill. We ate our meal at one of the outdoor tables and then said our goodbyes. Sam headed back to New Braunfels and we headed to Houston. Sara volunteered to do the driving and Ben and I were too noble to argue, although we did the required token bit of consideration: “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

Even with Ben channeling YouTube recordings of our favorite songs into the FM receiver via his iPhone, it seemed like a long trip. Two-and-a-half hours isn’t a bad drive, especially with someone else driving but we were all glad to get home. We left our bags of dirty clothes and muddy shoes sitting outside. Within thirty minutes, I had showered, called Randa and gone to bed.

Sara made a mighty fine breakfast the next morning, with slices of fresh fruit and a really good omelet. We sat in the living room and talked a while. Toward noon, we drove a few blocks over and met a man who had a washing machine for sale. Technically, it was his mother’s, who had just moved to Texas from New York. It looked like it had never been used. He helped us load it into the back of Ben’s 4Runner.

“Will that be okay lying on its back like that?” Ben asked because we were thinking about hauling it around town for a while. “I guess it’d be okay but they sure weren’t designed to lie on their side. Probably be better to just take it on home now.”

Apparently, he thought that was a good idea; that’s what we did. We hauled the washer into the laundry area and hooked up the hoses and drain. When we turned it on, nothing happened, other than the machine making a few funny noises. I re-checked the hoses and took one loose to make sure the faucet worked. Upon a quick bit of spray onto my face and glasses, I reached the conclusion that we did indeed have water.

I reconnected the hose and we tried again. Same funny noises, same lack of water coming into the machine. At this converging of disappointment, suspicion and frustration, Ben opened the lid and read the verbiage on it. Turns out, this machine doesn’t start filling up with water the instant you turn it on, something about a “sensing cycle” that “may take several minutes.” So, we tried yet again, this time adding the step of informed patience. After a series of shakes and rattles, clicks and clacks and another shudder or two, the water kicked on and the machine started filling up. It worked fine.

We ate lunch at a sports bar, watched Kentucky barely beat Wichita State and headed back home. Later, Sara put in the movie “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?” and we all settled in on the huge couch. Ben went to sleep, Sara started supper and I watched the movie.

After supper, I decided to rest my ankle a bit and set my foot up on the couch. Ben walked by two minutes later and gave me a funny look. “You put your shoes on the couch at your house?” he asked in a slightly teasing but definitely reprimanding tone. “All the time,” I answered truthfully but immediately took my foot off of his couch. I remembered what it was like to spend hard-earned money on nice furniture and then see kids put their feet on it.

It is the nature of life, I guess, that kids turn into their parents and parents turn into kids. Next thing I know, he’ll be telling me to brush my teeth and go to bed…

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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