On the drive up to Utah this weekend (Ben, the heir to the family silver, was baptized) my parents surprised me with a drive into Kolob Canyon. It's in the north west corner of Zion National Park off the I-15 in between St. George and Cedar City. You can catch a tiny glimpse of it if you happen to be looking east at exit 40. Years ago I saw that glimpse and I've wanted to go in ever since. But my dad rarely veers off course when road tripping, hence the surprise. We pulled into the ranger station before entering the park and Dad walked in to get his pass and came out with the $10 senior citizen lifetime National Park pass. And it thrilled him to no end. He showed everyone that card. Including the guy at the bagel shop the next day. My dad loves getting senior citizen discounts.
This became a helpful anecdote when later we were talking to Gina and Chris about Chris' mom. She is a real sweetheart of a woman, I seriously have never met a nicer lady in my life. Even when she is destroying you in cards or dominoes she is doing it with a smile. She is the original Baby Face Assassin. (Chris is BFA Jr.) But she is getting on in years and is a little wobbly and has some memory lapses. Her family is in agreement that she needs one of those life alert necklaces with the GPS tracking in case of wandering, and motion sensor in case of falls. It's a sensible thing but they're fully aware that she is going to fight it. Because, let's be real here, the elderly are stubborn. For good reason. Their freedom is being taken away either by health or their children. You don't have to be an Aged P to not like that.
We discussed some tactics they could take to smooth it over with her and here's where the cheapo National Park pass comes in. Old people get special things. So you can't drive anymore. And your vision is shot. And people start mentioning Depends around you, and not as a joke. But you also get to live your life in stretchy pants or muu muus and nobody cares. You get a whole different section of food on menus that is cheaper. You get to say whatever you want and all anyone can say back to you is, "Oh, Grandma." And you also get really cool necklaces that magically connect you to a person if you happen to find yourself in a place you've never been before and you're not sure how you got there or how to get home. See, special things galore! I've even made up a little jingle in my head. I'll teach it to you so you can use it on your own parents when it's time.
I'm glad I've been 80 for several years now. I think that necklace would go great with the Muu Muu Years.
Speaking of stubborn old people, it's my Grandpa's birthday on April 2nd so feel free to go to Taco Bell and have a Pepsi in his memory. And if you go out to eat do not tip your server. I really miss that guy.
And for the record, Kolob Canyon was majestic and beautiful and grand. When we turned the corner into it we all gasped. It's worth the 45 minute detour on your trip.