Thursday, December 2, 2021

Stroup: Broken Bow Adventures

Before it was time for the grandkids to go back to school (or not, ya never know) we were invited by our son and his wife for the seven of us to take a trip.

We had heard of a place called Broken Bow in Oklahoma and Brad and Amy had been there years ago BO (Before Offspring). Although I thought the name sounded rather bleak, everyone I’d talked to gave it rave reviews. So after some investigation we booked three nights through Airbnb at a quaint cabin in the woods. It was perfect for our needs and clean as a whistle. It was a short three hour drive from home and included a stop at Buc-ee’s in both directions. I mean what would any road trip be without a stop at a Buc-ee’s?

We did take two cars so we missed out on all the chatter of the three kids during the drive… but we certainly made up for it during the four days of constant companionship. They are a delight, however, it’s absolutely okay for a grandparent to be honest when it comes to a slight personality flaw amidst all that perfection. For instance: Gabby (age 6) couldn’t have a more appropriate name as she seldom stops talking and is missing both a filter and a volume control. Jaci, who just recently turned 8, is demur by comparison. The most racket you hear out of her is when little brother Ryker (the 4 year old) pulls her long blond hair…often. He’s what you might call a bit of a rascal or you might call him a dickens or perhaps little devil would come to mind or well, you get my drift.

There were several games in the cabin for the entertainment of the guests and Ryker took a shine to a set of poker chips. They were the real deal and he managed to arrange them in multiple combinations, dump them out, spread them around, throw them across the room and then start all over again. This kept him occupied for long stretches of time and out of Jaci’s hair. But ole Jaci wasn’t the exact picture of innocence either as she would abscond with some of his chips just to get his goat.

And speaking of goats, there were plenty of them at the petting zoo nearby… goats along with a vast assortment of other animals. I’ve experienced my share of these zoos but have to say this one allowed for one of the largest varieties of docile and unique critters. A stunning peacock (free ranging the surrounding grounds) ushered us toward the entrance gate. A nominal fee bought our way into a most-enjoyable experience that the adults could appreciate as well as the kidlets.

Now for a little adult activity, we chose the go-kart rides. And while this may sound fairly tame it was not! I’m not talking dodgem cars. Nope. These little babies zipped around the track at about 20 mph. There was a height criteria that had to be met before a person could drive solo. Jaci didn’t measure up so she folded her arms across her chest and stuck out her bottom lip. “If I can’t drive by myself, then I’m just not going,” she announced in a sassy tone. My husband convinced her that she was going to miss out on all the fun with that attitude so she got over her snit in a hurry. “Okay, I’ll go, but only if I can ride with you, Cappy.” Crisis averted, one kid and one adult to a car, they all donned their safety glasses, buckled up big time and they were off… I stayed behind the protective barrier and took pictures. I must say I saw a whole new side of my daughter-in-law. She was determined not to let the guys get ahead of her. With unleashed stamina she forged ahead on the turns until some dude finally managed to get in her way. Meanwhile, my husband and son were running way ahead of the rest of the pack at a wicked pace but mainly concerned with overtaking each other. They weren’t like running a nice little marathon, oh no, to them this was more like a NASCAR competition ~ a battle, a duel a fight to the finish. The testosterone was running high! When rounding a curve Ken would raise up from his seat and lean forward, the wind blowing so hard it distorted his face… reminded me of how a dog looks while hanging its head out of a car window. And Brad, well, his facial expression was nothing short of demonic. He was hell bent on beating the “Ole Man.” The kids relished every action packed moment and so wanted to go again as did Brad. He wanted another crack at his dad!

There was a plethora of beaches, paddle boat and canoe rentals, picnic grounds and so many other crowd pleasers. The open air train ride through the forested area was nothing short of a hoot. Here we were treated to a close-up encounter with friendly fauna (mostly dappled deer). They willingly pranced right up next to the train where they were quite content to nibble on the feed the conductor tossed in their path.

Playing games in the arcade amused young and old but we passed on the food. There were just too many other places to eat. And everywhere we passed along the way I looked for a broken bow…like on a sign or as the name of a restaurant, or next to a statue of an Indian. Never saw one, not one broken bow.

As if we didn’t have plenty to do we managed to squeeze in a stop at the local Walmart’s toy department. The grandkids were given a monetary limit (as if that mattered) and told they could each pick out one toy. (That’s what grandparents are for, right?) The girls leaned toward dolls. Ryker chose a giant shark kit. It included not only the big shark but others in various sizes, an underwater theater setting, an aquanaut, colorful pint-size edible fish and well, 55 pieces in all. Some assembly required. Since it got to be late early there wasn’t much time to play with the new treasures after getting back to the cabin. Once the kids were asleep and my husband as well, I stayed up to chat with Brad and Amy. Here’s how that went: I sat in a chair but it was like I wasn’t even there. Brad and Amy sat crossed legged down on the floor and worked as a team putting all 55 pieces together. Occasionally, one of them would let out a squeal when they managed to make two pieces fit. They really got into this.

Next morning before it was time to pack up and go they proudly presented Ryker with his shark kit totally intact. He seemed less than thrilled and off he went. Remember the poker chips that so enchanted him? That morning the entire set was missing. He’d managed to steal them away into the van when no one was looking. Amy’s intuition knew right where to look and so he was busted. But the wily little lad was not to be denied. Next time Amy checked, the full set that was now in the cabin wasn’t full any more. It was minus several chips. Turning to Ryker, she asked if he knew where they were. He shook his head slowly and then pointed to Jaci. Jaci was aghast at being falsely accused. Mother always knows best and bent over Ryker who wasn’t about to confess. Surenuf, the reason that his shorts had such a saggy fit was because he had squirreled away, in his underwear no less, an even dozen poker chips! Hmmm, just wonder if that’s also where the elusive broken bow had gone after he’d heisted it from this trip?!!!

C. Stroup
Cindy Stroup is a Double Oak resident and has been contributing to The Cross Timbers Gazette for over 30 years. Read her column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.

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