Since it is that spring break-y time of year, and I myself will be on spring break at the time of this posting, I thought I would entertain you all with the tale of one of my favorite spring break trips of all time.
My junior year of college, my friend Joy and I went to visit Anna in Southern California. Mary flew in from Iowa, kickstarting a wonder-sunshine-froyo-and-taco-filled glorious reunion. But it was all too glorious for words, so let me tell you about just one day.
The first day, we decided to go to Cabrillo National Monument, a cool place where vague historical stuff that I don’t remember has happened.
We had a splendid time enjoying the sea breezes and taking a leisurely stroll along the nature path, parasols in hand. (Lies.) During said stroll, seeing as we were at a national monument, we came up with Ranger names for ourselves by taking random phrases off of the helpful plant-identifying signs along the path, because that is what deranged people do for fun. They were as follows (Pre-marriage - I’m sure they’ve gotten them legally changed):
Lisa “Burro Fat” Speckhard
Anna “Woodrat’s Cache” Speckhard
Mary “Flashy Warbler” Speckhard
And perhaps the most flattering, Joy “Bladder Pod” Hillyer
Lean in close to hear what happens next.
[Upon returning from stroll.]
Anna: Hey! I see on this bulletin board that we can become Junior Rangers!
[All inexplicably immediately interested.]
Lisa: It’s like my life has been building to this moment!
Joy: If we do nothing else in California, my plane ticket was worth it.
Mary: Should we perhaps check to see if they will let us do it, seeing as we are not twelve?
[Seeing Mary has a point, the girls tromp into the gift shop to inquire.]
Nice Old Man At The Desk: (Acting as if he does not normally give this spiel to 8-year-olds): That’s perfectly OK! Here are the extensive packets you have to fill out!
Joy: The problem is, if we want to catch the tide pools at low tide, as previously discussed, we would have to do this real fast. Tides, as you may have heard, wait for no one.
Anna: According to my calculations, this would give us about 30 minutes to run around the entire park like madwomen, on the quest for a cheap, plastic badge made for children.
[All look at each other.]
[All sprint in opposite directions.]
[The girls yell strategy plans at each other across the park while running, alarming several tourists and a large contingent of seagulls. Anna and Lisa are dangerously delayed at one of the historic sites by one very lonely tour guide with many a tale to tell (You know the type). Happily, they are able to successfully extract themselves, and all sprint back to the gift shop. But behold! It is not the Nice Old Man at the Desk they had previously met, but perhaps the dreamiest park ranger of all time, which is saying something.]
[Record skip sound as all four girls jerk back and take in this new situation.]
Lisa (Deciding no dreamy-lookin’ park ranger is going to hold her back from her destiny as a junior ranger, slapping her packet on the counter): REWARD US FOR OUR VALIANT EFFORTS, PLEASE.
Ranger Rick: You got it! First, I will need you to raise your right hand and recite the Junior Ranger pledge after me.
Mary: This is not at all humiliating.
[Girls all make vague pledges to honor Mother Nature or something. Clearly they are taking these pledges seriously.]
Ranger Rick: Now for your certificates.
Anna: We get CERTIFICATES? (Checking herself) I mean, that’s cool, or whatever.
Joy (Emboldened by some regrettable impulse): So the thing is, we have like, ranger names? Soo maybe you could write those names on our certificates?
Ranger Rick (Understandably confused): Ranger names?
Lisa: Yes; for example, mine happens to be Burro Fat.
Ranger Rick (Harking back to his Ranger School training, where rule number one is appease irrational creatures, such as bears and mobs of bagde-crazed women): Sure!
Although we were pretty sure he was keeping his finger near the panic button, we are also pretty sure he loved us. We definitely collectively fell in love with him. Before we left, he said, and I quote, “You guys could have fun at a cemetery!” which we are taking as compliment. Ranger Rick has henceforth become a part of our sister lore.
So here’s to you, Ranger Rick! You made our day. I can only hope that I meet equally dreamy rangers this spring break.