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THE BIG TRIP, Part One

I slapped a fat manila folder down on the table. “It’s finally done. Now we can go.” I was thrilled.

“What’s this?” Layce asked, gingerly picking up a corner of the folder as if what’s inside might leap out and snap off a finger.

“It’s the history of Hot Springs, demographics, weather predictions, must-see sights, morning walks mapped out, the best place for coffee and lunch, a list of all available hotels and their amenities, coupons, more maps, and reviews I want to compare to see just how people come up with those snippets on TripAdvisor, and a detailed packing list of all the things we’ll need to make our trip a success. Do you have any questions concerning your packet?”

“Huh?” Layce asked.

“You need to read all that so you’re prepared for our trip. I’ve included photos so you can get the feel of the place. See,” I handed her a series of photos of the Garvan Woodland Gardens. “And that’s the Grand Promenade,” I said indicating another photo. We’ll walk that the first morning. There are some great coffee shops along the way.” I pointed to the list of coffee shops, bistros and restaurants I had compiled.

“You have times listed here,” Layce said, scanning down the page.

“I made out a daily agenda so we wouldn’t miss anything. It just makes things easier. You get up, and you have your day all set up because your wife is taking care of everything. Now, I think you should go pack.”

“We’re not going for another six weeks.”

“No time like the present.” I grabbed the car keys.

“Where are you going?”

“To get the oil changed, the tires rotated, and a 52-point inspection. You don’t expect me to leave town without doing that. Safety first.”

I looked down at the presentation folder as it sat looking forlorn on the table. “Why aren’t you reading? You’ve got a lot of material to cover in six weeks. I expect you to be fully prepared.”

“Will there be a test?” Layce asked. She’d gotten up to pour coffee.

“No, but I put a lot of time into researching.” I put on my best pout face.

“But this is like watching those movie trailers that are too long. After you watch it, you feel like you’ve already seen the movie.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to go now?” I asked.

She flipped through the folder and said, “All the best stuff’s in here. We’d save a lot of money if I just read this. Then we wouldn’t have to go and spend a fortune on a vacation.”

I snatched the folder out of her hands. “Forget it. You’re not reading this.” I dumped it into the trash. “Forget it even existed.”

Layce smiled and walked out of the room humming a tune that sounded a lot like We Are the Champions.

Why do I get the feeling I was just bamboozled?

Stay tuned for The Big Trip Part Two.

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