Savannah and I took a road trip to Boston this weekend. She's quite the engaging travel companion. Most people more or less say things you'd expect them to say, but Savannah's 4 year-old mind easily and regularly blindsides me with entirely random thoughts and insights. A few gems from our 24+ hours in the car together spread out over three days:

"Daddy, the big green frog keeps scaring me." (I checked the ingredients of the juice we were drinking for hallucinogens and found none. Perhaps we'll have to cut back on Savannah's exposure to Pink Floyd after 7:00 p.m.)

"Daddy, you're a goat." (Kind of hurtful on a lot of levels, especially the biblical level… but I took it in stride.)

"Stop telling me stories about praying!" (Since it was Sunday and Savannah insisted I tell her story after story, I was telling her about all the times I'd exercised faith in prayer. After the sixth consecutive prayer story, she'd had enough.)

"Are you lost again, daddy?" (Every time I put the car in reverse I got this question. It's sad that I can't even admit to a 4 year-old when I'm lost – my typical response was "No, honey. I know where I'm at. I just missed my turn." It was usually a lie.)

"Oatsie likes to eat pioneers, daddy." (Oatsie is her toy horse… her carnivorous toy horse, it appears. Even after I explained what pioneers are, Savannah insisted Oatsie eats them. No matter. Oatsie munching on imaginary pioneers for a good half-hour finally afforded me some peace and quiet.)

We stayed with Chris and Bronwyn James, friends from BYU. They took excellent care of us – we had pancakes (Savannah, uninterested in social niceties, snubbed them because they had blueberries), sandwiches, soup, popsicles – the whole nine yards. Savannah even charmed Bronwyn out of a box of Hershey's kisses – that was Sunday's lunch.

We slept on a queen-sized air mattress. Savannah slumbered horizontally with her feet in my ribs. She hogged the blankets too. I feel sorry for whoever marries her.

Chris and Bronwyn took us on a walking tour of Harvard campus (well, the three adults walked. Savannah whined until I carried her). I tried to impress upon Savannah my desire for her to someday study at an Ivy League school. I hope that forcing her to eat dirt from Harvard's central yard and insisting on introducing her to the dean of the law school were subtle enough tactics. In the photo to the right, Savannah is the blue dot before the church porch where Harvard graduates its students. The photo at the head of this entry shows the gothic cafeteria where freshman dine. In this entry's concluding photo (below) Savannah and Franklin the duck discuss ways to reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity theory.

We also took a driving tour of a few of Boston's historic sites. The Old North Church was where Paul Revere ordered two lanterns lit and hung from the steeple to signal that the British were advancing up the Charles River. "Did they take them down?" Savannah asked after I explained about the lanterns.

"Yes, honey," I answered.


"Because it would've tragically burned down the church into a smoldering heap if they'd left them there."

"Oh." (Conversations with Savannah are usually propelled by the question "Why?" I've learned that these conversations end much sooner if I simply work a violent disaster of some type into the answer to her very first "Why?" That usually seems to satisfy her.)

Saturday evening we visited my friend Kylee Shields. Her family moved to Portland the same week we did back in 1992. I was in 8th grade, she was in 7th. She had a lot of energy back in the day, but whereas most people gradually slow down and become boring as they get older, Kylee doesn't. She blitzes life like a hyena. That was a pretty crappy analogy.

She thoughtfully prepared for our visit by cooking a pizza and buying some miniature toy horses and chocolate milk for Savannah. In a matter of mere minutes, Kylee had effortlessly eclipsed me in coolness in Savannah's eyes. I tried to just leave Savannah there since Kylee was clearly a better parent than me, but Kylee reminded me that having a 4 year-old would severely hamper her dating life. Fair enough.

We arrived back in Reston at midnight Monday morning. I hauled Savannah's lithe little sleeping body from her carseat to her room and nestled her in her own bed at last. Aaaaah. My precious cargo was deposited in its proper place. Mission accomplished.