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Cornelius News

Reflections on life and kids from a higher altitude

MODERN DAD | By Jon Show. When the school district announced in December that schools were staying closed I immediately hopped on VRBO and booked a small cottage in the mountains. The thought of being stuck at home with everyone after the holiday break – following nine months of home-office-home-school – was too much.

The Blonde Bomber and I had never taken a long trip together so I figured we could relocate for seven days. She could do school; I could work – and on the weekend and evenings we could go hiking, build fires in the firepit and dine on cuisine that The Mother of Dragons would deem inorganic.

I’m kind of a planner so I prepared by creating a few lists and packed up a couple days in advance. The Bomber prepared by telling her teacher she wouldn’t be attending Zoom meetings for an entire week, which I learned of, and promptly corrected, when the teacher emailed me to check on her prolonged absence.

The Bomber doesn’t do well on car trips – never has. If we drive down a straight road for five minutes she’ll complain of car sicknesses, even when she’s doped up on Dramamine. She also starts asking “are we there yet” as soon as we’re on the road.

Not this trip! I downloaded eight seasons of Full House and she zoned out to Danny Tanner and his daughters’ countless catchphrases that I’d completely forgotten about because Full House is 30 years old. Cut … it … OUT (Joey) … Oh myLANTA (DJ) … Ugh (me).

Have mercy

On our first day we ended up hiking through a massive herd of elk (elks?) grazing in an open field. We were like 20 feet away from 50 elk(s) at all times.

Are you supposed to get near elk(s) in the wild? Apparently not, but we didn’t see the sign telling us to stay 50 yards away from the elk(s) until after they ran off. We were so close to them the Bomber tried to pet a seven footer on the nose. Oops.


It snowed on our second day and, after a morning walk, the Bomber ate a cold Pop Tart and headed across the yard to feed and pet her two new best friends, which were a species of animal that I couldn’t identify – either a donkey or a pony – so I dubbed them ponkeys.

The Bomber later learned they were just straight old donkeys by doing a simple Google search.

Well pin a rose on your nose

On the third day we arrived at our daily hike down a long winding road. We were in the middle of nowhere and there was a woman standing in the middle of the road, so I rolled down my window to say hello.

She asked where I was going, I told her, and then she told me the land was being used for hunting that day. My daughter and I were both dressed in grey and brown headed into the middle of a deer hunt.

My backup hike had three waterfalls and we didn’t get shot so … it was a good day.

How rude

Our previous night’s fire never got big so I overcompensated on night four with twice the amount of wood, and fashioned a fan out of a cardboard box.

After a particularly intense fanning session a large hot coal popped out of the fire and stuck to my neck, leaving a third degree burn that scabbed over the next day and looked like Dracula gave me a hickey.

You’re in big trouble mister

On day five we hit the Exxon because we were short on firewood and gas. I tossed the pump in the car, ran inside to pay for the wood and moments later someone ran in the station yelling something about a black Jeep.

I ran outside to find gas spewing all over my car because the shut off valve didn’t work. So I karate chopped the pump out of my car, tossed the wood in the back, ran the car through the carwash, drove home, rewashed the car, and tossed my gas-soaked clothes in the washer.

The Bomber was in charge of fanning the fire that night.

No way Jose

Western North Carolina is apparently closed on Sundays, our sixth day. We visited the towns of Dillsboro, Sylva and Cherokee before giving up and going to a brewery on the Tuckasegee River in Bryson City, where we scratched a stack of $1 lottery tickets and Facetimed people.

Watch the hair

We spent our seventh and final night eating leftovers and burning all the wood we had left – some 40 sticks – which resulted in more of a bonfire than I was going for but, hey, go big and go home.

Before bed we broke out hair dye and refreshed the Bomber’s blue tips while she laid on the floor with her hair on top of a Dominos box. Yes, Domino’s. There are not a lot of pizza options in the mountains.

Talk to me

The Bomber put out some carrots for the ponkeys (donkeys, whatever) and then hopped in the car primed to watch season three of Full House. The faint smell of gas still lingered in the car.

As we drove down the ridge, I told her I loved her. I told her how much fun I had and thanked her for going on the trip with me and told her we should do a trip every winter.

I waited a minute for some kind of response but nothing came, so I angled the rear view mirror down to see if she was listening.

She brushed away her electric blue hair as she looked up from the iPad, pulled her earphones to the side, gave me a thumbs up, and yelled,

“You got it dude!”

I honestly have no idea if she heard the question.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.