Well, we know where we’re goin’
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re known
But we can’t say what we’ve seen
And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out. — "Road to Nowhere," Talking Heads
In retrospect, I probably should have known a con was afoot. Dad was a master conman to us kids, not the evil, back alley type but more of the “I know how to sell my kids something” type. Nothing ever malicious — just a good father knowing what buttons to push to rally his little troops into action.
Sitting there around the 1970s-era dinner table in our entirely too small for our family military housing home with all five of us kids — aged seven down to Kara, the baby — Dad sold us a story.
“How’d you guys like to live like the Swiss Family Robinson?” Dad asked. This was especially important to Dad’s pitch because the Sunday night Disney movie coming up was Swiss Family Robinson and Patrick and I were completely lost in the notion of getting stranded on a deserted island, having to fend for ourselves.
What little TV we were allowed to watch was blasted with commercials for the movie. Images of swinging through vines, riding ostriches and other adventures were the source of mine and Patrick’s playtime for hours. So of course, we bit.
“Wow, Daddy, what do you mean?!” I asked, my fat, excited little body leaning in closer to my father over a plate of spaghetti.
“Well, your Mom and I’ve been thinking about buying a house out in the woods and it’s going to be a lot like the Swiss Family Robinson,” my Dad replied.
Patrick and I always sat next to each other at the dinner table and our eyes nearly exploded out of our heads with the ideas and possibilities that immediately filled our little brains.
What Dad didn’t say was it was going to be hard, it was some 40 miles out of town, it still used a wood stove for heat, and, well … it was certainly going to be an adventure.
From that night at dinner everything seemed to move both at lightening speed and at a snail's pace.
The wait to get into the house was agonizingly slow for my young brain, I didn’t understand the whole house-buying timeline and I was aching to get out there and ride an ostrich, or more accurately, a moose or a bear (you can ride grizzlies, right?).