Henry had convinced Martha that the kids were missing out on so much by being allowed to sit in their rooms all summer long and play games or watch videos. They only came out for meals and bathroom breaks. They needed something more – something that he had growing up. They needed to experience the great outdoors.
Martha sighed and cringed inside, but she knew it was no use arguing with him. Once he made his mind up, there was no stopping him. That is one of the traits she loved most about him. That and he worked two full-time jobs to make sure she never had to work.
Two grumbling children, one dejected wife, and an excited former Louisiana born gator boy piled into the car and headed to the bayou. They had not even left town before Angela complained about spotty cell service and Louis complained about glare on his game’s screen. Even Martha found it difficult to not complain about the sun heating up the car. Henry ignored everything and sang to the radio. All he thought about was getting back home.
Eleven hours of compartmental life drove the family insane. When they stopped just outside Grosse Tete for lunch before heading to the campground, the proverbial shit hit the fan. Louis was bothered by the flies, Angela complained about the smell, and the moment Martha spotted the small field mouse, she screamed and leaped on the picnic table.
Henry laughed. “It’s just a mouse, darling.”
“Don’t you darling me, you backwoods nut jack!”
Angela and Louis looked at each other and grinned.
“Just sit down and eat, guys. Nothing here’s gonna get ya.”
Martha huffed and sat down. The two kids huddled close to her as if she would save them from the big bad mouse.
“It’s great to be back home. I grew up not too far from here. You know that?”
Louis stared at him, Angela wrinkled up her nose, and Martha said, “Well at least you had enough sense to leave this shit hole. What is that stink anyway!”
Rustling in the tree line made Henry laugh. “Ask him.”
As soon as Martha, Angela, and Louis saw the brown-green tip come into the open, they screamed and ran up the road toward Baton Rouge. Henry watched and they turned a bend and ran out of sight. He tossed the gator their sandwiches and returned to the car. “It’s great to be back home.” He took a long, deep breath of swamp and smiled.