A freelance columnist like me is also a salesman, and one year, when my boy was in 8th grade, he came with me on a sales trip to Pennsylvania that was to be half business half pleasure. I was visiting newspapers, yes, but we would also stop at Hershey Park and check out the fun there. We took the train from Boston to Philly, rented a car and began making our way west across the state, the visit to the Patriot News in Harrisburg being sweetened by the Hershey stop.
There were disappointments of course, there always are: The Patriot News people told me they had to discontinue the use of my column, Hershey Park was not yet open for the season, and my boy wouldn’t eat any of those nice tuna sandwiches I made for the train. (There’s one truth I learned on that trip: a middle schooler won’t EVER be seen eating food prepared at home; in fact It’s hard to get a middle schooler to eat anything at all in public.)
There were nice parts too though, the best being the fact that I decided after Harrisburg to scrap all the remaining newspaper visits. Instead, as we drove back across the state staying a night or two in a motel, we saw three awesome movies, all up for Academy Awards that year. They were Good Will Hunting, Titanic, and As Good As it Gets.
In the car at one point, tearing across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to get from one movie theatre to the next in time for each show, he said, very much under his breath, “You’re really fun.”
“What’s that?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure I heard right.
But he was reluctant to repeat it.
Still, I’m pretty sure he said it – and I’m very sure that watching those three great movies, all within a 36-hour period with that lively child, all before we had to board the train for home was, in my mind, just about as good as it gets for this three-time mom.
And now a scene from Matt Damon’s and Ben Affleck’s first film, still a winner in my book. Enjoy it. Believe its message. And HAVE FUN tonight!