In autumn, we Midwestern grandparents like to complicate our lives by taking our families to corn mazes.
On our first outing, my husband eyed me. “Some people need 12 hours to find their way out.”
“Ha!” I say.
But that’s all I can say. Maybe, I’ll exit before Thanksgiving. Or Christmas?
Like my mother before me, I possess zero sense of direction. Unfortunately, our daughter inherited something of our deficiency.
Her husband and mine took over. “No way are these kids getting lost with you.”
One grandson wailed, “I don’t wanna get lost with Mommy!”
His brother backed away. “Grandma’s trying get rid of us!”
The men hurried the kids into the maze. Onlookers, fingers poised to dial 911, glared at my daughter and me.
The maze looked friendlier. I have always liked rustling cornfields, with thousands of leafy stalks whispering autumn secrets. Once we entered, though, other participants vanished. Where, exactly, were we?
My daughter said, “Let’s retrace our steps. We went this way, didn’t we?”
At the next intersection, I boldly pointed the way. “We came from this direction.”
“You think so?”
Cornstalks moaned with the wind. My skin prickled, but I summoned the confident tone that faked me through years of parenting. “As long as we see the barn, we’re fine.”
The only problem: the barn kept moving. Farther and farther away.
Suddenly, from the opposite direction, it pounced on us like a daytime goblin.
My daughter, who once hitchhiked a Mexican highway without fear, halted, eyes wide.
I checked my phone’s GPS.
“Recalculating …” The GPS Lady snickered. “Recalcu — bwahahaha!”
My daughter’s GPS Lady joined in. They loved the corn maze.
Us? Not so much.
We switched off those annoying voices. But those of our family? No. This corn maze tale would be repeated at holidays forever.
Even if we never returned to eat pumpkin pie. (Sniff.)
Finally, my daughter straightened her shoulders. “We’re going about this all wrong.”
“Sure. Let’s walk away from the barn. At the next fork, close your eyes. Pick a path, any path. At the next one, I’ll do the same.”
“Right! That always works with interstate ramps.”
We found an exit. Before relief gave way to gloating, the guys emerged from another.
“Grandpa and I figured the way out from the sun’s angles!” one grandson crowed. “Did you do that, Grandma?”
“You used a GPS.” My husband sounded as if we were running a Ponzi scheme.
No, we had used our own special system, based on navigational instincts those guys couldn’t begin to understand.
My mother would have been proud.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever experienced a corn maze adventure?