Memories of an imperfectly, perfect trip

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2022

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Some would say it wasn’t a perfect trip. It wasn’t. Nor was it far. Houston. And we didn’t stay long. Overnight. Nevertheless, my memory bank was loaded with rich deposits.

It began with my granddaughter Charlie’s dream of going to an American Girl store for her 7th birthday. I offered to drive. Charlie, her mom Monique, her sister Olivia, and her cousin Adeline accepted my invitation. We were near our parish line when Charlie asked, “Has it been an hour yet?”

There were a few restroom stops and a Target run for more markers and paper to add to the art supplies in the car. It was a request I happily fulfilled since no one was asking to watch a video.

At the doll store, they each made a selection and toted their purchases everywhere.

Then my phone froze. I couldn’t make calls, text, take pictures or check email, which gave me even more time to watch them play.

Monique stepped on an earring and when she fell onto the bed to look at her foot, Mickey Mouse’s head was flush with her skin.

“I do everything to mitigate risk! I eat right, work out, buy insurance to cover me, my car, and my house! And now I’m taken out by an earring!” I’m not sure how Monique managed to form complete sentences while in pain. She said more, but you get the idea.

I rushed to bring her a bandage and stepped on Adeline’s foot.

Later, the elevator closed after only Adeline had exited. Her expression when – a few terrifying seconds later – the doors reopened has settled forever into our minds.

Charlie’s birthday party at the store had the three girls giddy and giggly as they poured over every pink detail. I’m not sure if that, or Adeline’s request to turn off the music on the ride home so she could read, was my favorite moment.

It was an imperfectly perfect trip, and that’s more than enough for me.


Ronny Michel can be reached at