The last day of our trip. How to spend it?
In the morning, Jonah realized his dream, hatched the night before during the 4 hour drive home from Alamogordo, of creating a “model train” out of cardboard boxes and lengths of rubber band. We had to talk him out of bringing the whole thing home (is anyone keeping score of his haul this trip?). But he did get to keep the caboose.
Breakfast was leftover green chile turkey enchiladas. For us. Jonah had a bologna sandwich with the special bologna purchased last night at the crazy fantastic truck stop where we stopped to pee on the way home. Grandma Judy picked up two bars of the most delicious smelling goat-milk soap and we all gawked at the house-made fudge but did not allow ourselves to purchase even a bite. Jonah spotted an eyeball on a display of gags-and-tricks and given his love for the eyeball jokes, we had to get it for him. He’d also gotten a tiny monkey in one of those 25-cent toy-in-a-plastic-bubble machines at the diner in Carazoso. Whom he pretended was HAM, the chimp that went into space, complete with his own capsule.
Around and after brunch we packed up our stuff and headed out for one last tourist activity: visiting the shooting range where Grandpa Roger and Grandma Judy practice and compete with the Single Action Shooting Society.
I was confused about our destination on the way over because Scott and his dad kept saying we were going to visit a ghost town and there are actual ghost towns in the area, from the mining and cowboy heyday. And I knew Scott had wanted to see one.
“Do ghosts still live there?” worried Jonah.
But when we got there, it was clear that this was more of a movie set type ghost town, with building fronts only, and rows and rows of metal targets accessible through the various windows and doorways. We walked among the “slugs,” to which Jonah said, “Where?” since he loves collecting them and making little homes for them in jars at our house. But we had to explain that these were different slugs.
The first time I came to this range, Roger and Judy gave me a shooting lesson and it was so fricking cold, we were wearing their pelt-coats from their 20+ year sojourn in the Alaskan Bush and every time we had to load or shoot we’d take our gloves off for only the ABSOLUTE minimum seconds required to accomplish said tasks.
No guns today, though. Grandpa did catch a grasshopper which Jonah held cupped in his hands while we walked around. And then he let it go so he could sit on the oil-barrel pony. His face that contortion of shy pleasure at something heretofore un-dreamed of and suddenly real.
Clearly we need to get this boy on a real horse.
Next we loaded up the car for our 2+ hour drive back to the airport, and 2+ hour flight home. Jonah was so exhausted, particularly from the ear pain he experiences during landing, that he passed out in the car at 5:45 pm local time. Not sure what that’s going to mean for the rest of us in the morning…
But all agreed that Jonah is an excellent traveler, from his ability to handle car trips to his generally agreeable nature on planes (ear pain agony and screams not counted against him).
Am still baffled on what to do for him. The woman in the exit cabin at the parking lot (where we had to hang out because we’d disembarked the shuttle for a bathroom emergency and had to wait for another bus to take us to our car) said she gives her kids Tylenol during the flight. The stewardess on the plane said earplugs for the entire duration of the flight is the secret. She also suggested there might be some kind of drops we can get.
Really? Because this fricking sucks. I endured horrible ear pain on descent for YEARS. At least until my teens, I think. And he seems especially exhausted by it. At the end of the flight he’s literally drowsy and heavy-lidded.
No matter how hard we try, he is unclear on or unable to make his ears pop by yawning or swallowing. And before you ask: We offer him gum but he doesn’t like it. We get him to chew on gummies or other snacks, sip water, swallow, suck on lollipops, yawn. None of that helps. I thought I’d found a magic elixir with the children’s menthol rub but that doesn’t work consistently. I’m at a loss.
Before he conked out in the car, he told me he was sad. It will be nice to be home, but it’s hard to leave all that love and excitement behind.