28 Mile Kind of Day

Charlie at the WaWa
It was a 28 mile kind of day.

18 of those miles were done at a magnificent motoring-it-up pace on the Jersey horse country trail that I think has become Jim's and Charlie's favorite.

And under a blazing hot sun.

And after Charlie ran out of a gas station  convenience store as it didn't have any of the items he wanted.

The above photo wasn't taken at that convenience store but at a WaWa on Monday—I relate the day's exploits to you second-hand, as I was teaching my way through 2 Latin classes, 2 Greek classes, and 1 classical civilization class. 

I gather Charlie wasn't smiling like that on the bike trail, where he had to concentrate on riding that bike. At one moment he cried, for a reason that Jim predicted. While riding, he  and Charlie met a man who asked Jim a question about the trail and then, unaccountably, fell off his bike. Jim immediately asked if he was all right, and the man said he was. It took a bit of time for Charlie to process what had happened and then—as he often does on seeing someone having trouble and things out of order—he got upset. But he kept riding and he and Jim would have gone to the very end of the trail, but they encountered a dog and so turned back, and so 'only' did 18 miles.

Charlie and Jim were handing out in air-conditioned cool comfort in our living room when I came home. They had, after coming home, gone on another bike ride just as I was walking down John F. Kennedy Boulevard to catch the PATH train at Journal Square. So they'd done a full 28 miles by the time I appeared. Charlie asked for a ride of the white car kind, I told Jim to take a (more than well-deserved) rest.

I had a feeling Charlie didn't want to go to the local convenience store. Monday he had asked to go to the small local grocery store where the Incident of the Red Brownie Box occurred. I have not wanted to take him into that store since that day in February and have done a lot of hemming and hawing to Charlie's requests. Most times, he's stopped asking, as if he himself understood why I told him we were 'on probation' with that store. Based on how Charlie's been doing—handling these grueling bike rides over rocky terrain—I thought he, we, could handle it.

And then sure hoped I thought right as we walked into the store.

I'll save any suspense and tell you, I had judged right.

Charlie got a shopping basket and made a beeline for the bakery section. After a few 'I want''s as we inspected the cookies and cakes, he said 'no' and we proceeded to the sushi section. They didn't have anything he wanted so we got some watermelon and ketchup (which Charlie still adores and I detest the smell of) and started walking to the other side of the store.

Past the cake mix—the red brownie box—aisle.

Charlie kept walking, with maybe a little twist of his eyes.

We got his favorite frozen French fries and some frozen edamame. We waited in the express checkout line and the clerk much appreciated my noting how hot it was whenever the door opened for a customer to exit.

'And in the winter, it's freezing!' she added.

'Not good,' I said.

At my request, Charlie picked up all the bags of groceries and put them in the car trunk and we went home in good order.

Like I said, it was a 28 mile kind of day.

4 Responses to “28 Mile Kind of Day”
  1. feebee says:


  2. Barbara says:

    Was it new that Charlie carried the bags to the car? Either way that reminds me of something I have often said to a grocery bagger who offers help when our teens were with me. “That’s why I have children.” 😉

  3. Shannon says:

    This is the kind of coda I love to read! RBB FTW!
    Cannot believe your Charlie … he looks eighteen. Sinewy and strong, and happy. One of the best pictures ever.

  4. autismvox says:

    The test will come when we make another trip to the store and past the fated aisle…..
    Charlie used to carry the groceries for me when we were going very regularly to grocery stores. It finally occurred to me that since the majority of the food would be eaten by him, perhaps he ought to carry more than just a pack of sushi.
    Thanks, Shannon! I guess Charlie’s heading for 6 feet. He really looks different from just a year ago. I did a bit of a double-take this evening when I turned around (we were waiting in a line) and found myself looking at Charlie’s chin. Am going to have to get Jim to take a picture of Charlie and me standing together–I’d like to see the contrast myself!

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