Debrief details de-trip

Seeing the massive flow of water over Niagara Falls and riding into its mist sounded like a great destination vacation for the grandchildren. I thought that we could also tuck in an educational visit to Old Fort Niagara along with visits with my brother, sister, aunt and cousins during our five-day trip to New York.
We might just as well have saved our gas miles.

Oh, they enjoyed the falls. They donned the blue raincoats to ride the Maid of the Mist and discovered the rainbow at the foot of the American Falls. They laughed at the constant spray of water as we sailed in front of the Horseshoe Falls in Canada and climbed the stairs to advance as close as possible to the gushing flow of water. We even stayed long enough to see the light display that night.

The next morning they explored every room at Old Fort Niagara. We climbed up three flights of stairs to the barracks, tromped across the top of the fortified walls and listened to the re-enactors explain the use of the muskets, the wake-up code from the drummer and the explosion of the vintage cannon fired over Lake Ontario.
But when they returned home, they only wanted to talk about playing in the creek at the old home place in upstate New York.

Their conversations tumbled over each other, “And we went down into the creek where the minnows were. They nibbled at my legs. We caught a handful of minnows.”
“We found lots of fossils,” they brought in several large rocks imprinted with shells.

“At Cousin Suzy’s we found these huge slugs. Big, fat brown slugs as long as my hand. We found so many. I had them all over my legs.” “I picked them up in my hands. After we put them away I still had slug slime on my hands and my legs. We tried washing it off and it would not come off with soap. We tried vinegar and soda and it just made a foam. It felt really funny, but the slime stayed.”

“The only thing that really took off the slime was gravel and sand. I found that out when we walked down the road to Aunt Erma’s house.”

“You walked down the hill to Aunt Erma’s house?” their mom asked.
“Yes, we were walking down the middle of the road where the gravel was and the slug slime came off.”

“In the middle of the road?”

“Yes, but it is the country and it is so quiet that you can hear a car coming for a long time. And grandpa went with us.” “We were picking wildflowers. We found 40 different kinds of wildflowers walking down the road and out by the creek bed. Grandpa picked some nightshade … but it isn’t poisonous if you don’t eat it.”
“Oh, my. Well, you probably had a better time than if I had gone. I would have been saying, ‘get out of that water.’ Stay over here on this side of the road. Don’t go out there. Don’t touch that.”

Eventually they got around to telling their mom, “everyone said ‘put up the hood on your raincoat’, but I wanted to get wet.”
“The boat was rocking.”

“Oh, my word, you might have fallen off.”
“No, not really, there are a lot of railings and guard rails all around. They carry thousands of visitors every day on the Maid of the Mists. They have been doing it for over 100 years. It is quite safe.”

And then they proudly pulled out the projects they had completed at Aunt Sharon’s house: the purple fleece blanket they had pieced together, the pillow with the monster face and the monster face on a purse, “It’s the first zipper I have ever sewn.”

“Oh, and Grandpa Hibbard’s cousin makes teddy bears out of real animal fur. She asked if I knew which was real and which was fake. And I knew it right off. The fake just felt plastic-y.”

“Uncle Melvin asked all of us what we did for extra-curricular activities,” one announced. They assured their mother they had told him about their summer activities.
“And, Mom. Mom. Mom.” the youngest shoved forward to add her impression of our last minute addition to the trip, “They had a whole truck filled with glass flowers at the Corning Glass Museum.”

Really, a good vacation, but according to the debrief on arrival, next time we’ll just head for the hills, the slugs, the fossils and shallow creeks filled with minnows.