There is a chemistry joke: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate. Well, it was precipitating to beat the band. This weekend, I drove up to scenic Longview, this year’s location for the internationally renowned Texas Challenge and Geocaching Festival (note the subtle plug because I’m a hack), to visit my daughters for the day. The entire day was gray (which I like) and rainy (which I don’t like), making for a pretty miserable environment overall. We managed to have some breakfast and spend a bunch of time just hanging out and doing nothing special, which isn’t always a bad way to spend time with children. But we were totally bankrupt of ideas. Many places weren’t open yet, and some options just weren’t available. One of the daily activities floated was to go find a geocache. The suggestion was not made by me but rather by my older daughter because, well, she knows her father to some extent and knew it would probably happen at some point over the course of the day. It wasn’t guaranteed; there have been many occasions where I visited and didn’t take them out to find one. It’s not like there aren’t seven or eight different counties, depending on my route, between them and home. Finding one is rarely an issue. But we had time to kill, so we took the opportunity despite the intermittent rain. Our first attempt, a nano on a telephone pole, was a bust. Unfortunately, the GZ had multiple pole-based options to choose from, and none of them seemed to have what I wanted. Had it not been cold and wet, I think I would have tried harder, but there’s always another day to attempt it (specifically, March 16-19 #hack). I looked at the map and saw a cemetery downtown with a Traditional cache and an Adventure Lab series, so we decided to make our way to a new destination.

There were jokes at my expense because I initally drove us to the wrong cemetery. There were a few more jokes about the cemetery’s proximity to the hospital. While the logic of its placement was obvious, it did not strike us as a ringing endorsement of the hospital’s capabilities. We pulled in and parked off to the side. Rain was falling, so the girls opted to stay in the car while I grabbed the Traditional, another nano, this time on the iron fence. I decided to only grab one of the Labs because it was coming down a bit, but the rain broke for a while. Passing by the car, I coaxed the girls to walk with me for a bit.

We passed by the final resting places of some of the town fathers and noted how one wins at dying in early twentieth-century East Texas. We learned about a robbery that injured several and killed two. We found a father and son buried by each other with state historical plaques. The father had been Gregg County sheriff (during the Longview unrest in the Red Summer, which is not entirely to his credit as far as I’m concerned), the son the county judge. And, of course …

… there was the semi-lighthearted bickering that only siblings can do. I know a cemetery is a place for respect and somber reflection, but I also think that if the dead could sense the mortal world, they would appreciate the sound of laughter and the joy of children or some kind of crap like that. Much like in life, there’s no reason it has to be serious at every moment. More importantly, we at least had a solution for a half hour of our precipitating day.

As soon as the last Lab cache was logged, it started to rain again. It’s a good thing that I carry an umbrella. We managed to return to the car, remaining mostly dry, and set off for the remainder of the day. It wasn’t an epic adventure. I was (and am) just glad that the girls were willing to humor their old man for a while.

2 thoughts on “Solution/Precipitate

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