Awhile back, I was reading a flier for a Church Family Fun Day or something like that. Activities for said day were listed like this:
- Balloon Animals!
- Bouncy Castle!
- Face Painting!
- Chip Richter!
And for a moment, that last one really puzzled me, because I didn’t know what sort of chips fit in with the kind of event I was envisioning, nor could I imagine what “richting” them would involve. Does one study to become a richter, or is it a piece of equipment for processing these particular chips?
Yes, a few blinks later, I read the fine print identifying Chip Richter as a musician who’d be performing that day. Still, the absolutely complete confusion in my head for those few seconds was really funny, and at some point not long after, I told Jenn & Kelsey about it, and they immediately latched onto it as a running joke. You know, like we’re watching a movie or something, and I’ll get up to get a drink, and ask if they want anything from the kitchen, and one of them will say, “Yeah, do you mind richting us some chips while you’re out there?” Because that’s the kind of family we are.
Come this past Christmas morning, there’s one present left, in a gift bag behind the tree, and Jenn & Kelsey are adamant about me opening it last. When the time comes, they are extremely goofy and giggly as I reach in, grab the first of two tissue-paper-wrapped bundles, and open it to reveal this:
And while you can see it coming now, at the time, I was very much “Um….OK?” as I looked at this bag while Jenn & Kelsey were just quaking with barely-contained laughter.
So I open the second package.
And I – I just don’t – it’s a kitchen thing…attached to a hardware thing – but…?
Yes, it is painful how slow on the uptake I am on this, and it’s not helping that Jenn and Kelsey have now completely erupted in hysterics, and I look at these objects in my hands, these things that make no sense together; these chips and this –
Oh God They’ve Built Me A Chip Richter.
And the pair of them: They can actually see the comprehension dawn on my face, and it just kills them and breaks them into explosions of joy and laughter, which in turn destroys me, and before I know it I am laughing so hard I can barely breathe and tears are running down my face because I love these two people so much and so absolutely, and this moment is fantastic and permanent and mine and ours forever.
Now, where are the instructions for this thing? These chips aren’t going to richt themselves!
For various reasons (none of them really good ones), I haven’t been running lately. I felt the need to get into the woods at Quail Hollow today, though, so I put on some boots and warm clothes and went for a 2-mile hike.
It was sunny and in the mid-30s, with no wind. Really nice day to be out there.
It’s a little strange going out and walking on the trails I’m used to running, and it’s a completely different experience in the woods this time of year compared with summer: The sun reaches deeper pockets, with no leaves overhead – with the exception of the pine stands – and you can see further off the trails.
I made a few stops along this stream, because it was running high compared to summer, and I liked the way it looked and sounded.
Found a culvert, kind of oddly placed, since it’s not on any sort of trail.
And discovered that the Woodland Swamp Trail has had an eventful fall:
Then there was this weird thing. I thought it was a big blob of sap at first – it was probably 4-5 inches long – but it was squishy, like a giant rotted grape.
I also found a small, empty turtle shell.
I was out in the woods for a little more than an hour, and felt like maybe I’d needed it more than I realized.