Road Stories: The Things This One Kid Says

Most kids would be excited when a waiter refills their coke. Most would. Lulu wasn’t. This was the first time we were eating out on our road trip, and the first time they had soda the entire time, so they were savoring every sip.

And I said they could each have one glass of Coke, then would need to switch to something without caffeine. Because, obviously.

So when the grumpy waiter we had at that Idaho brewery refilled her drink, and I looked down at her, I was surprised to see a look of disappointment. I wondered if she thought she was in trouble for allowing him to bring a second glass.

“Refills are 13 dollars.”

I didn’t even know where to begin with that. She somehow thought this joint had the priciest refill rate on the planet for soda.

“Where’d you see that?”

I had to find out why she thought that, hoping to everything I hadn’t missed some bizarro fine print on the menu. It couldn’t possibly be 13 dollars.

“On the board.”

She was pointing to a chalkboard that was hanging at the back of the restaurant, and held the names and IBUs of the brewery’s craft beers. On one side, it listed pricing for the purchase of a growler and the fee to refill it.

Her face of utter disappointment (because she thought she screwed up and ordered the most expensive non-alcoholic drink ever), mixed with her interpretation of the situation put me into a breathless, soundless fit of laughter that left me wiping tears from my eyes.

She’s been a trove of funny little moments this trip, offering up these observations we’d never consider, because things just are for us, as adults. Like, common things aren’t mysterious.

Nothing is less mysterious to us than a faucet we can drink from. But, since she’s been raised in Phoenix, we get water from jug or a filter – anything but from the faucet. So when she wandered into our hotel room in Idaho and asked for a refill on her water bottle, we told her she could just use the tap.

“Okay. So, what’s the tap?”

And then she stared at us with the look she gives when she’s dead serious, a gaze she’s perfected and won’t break.

Or, when we were driving through Utah to get to Zion National Park, a destination the kids didn’t know about yet, and she pointed out an animal on the side of the road – with total excitement.


We’re not really sure what she was thinking she saw, but we know she actually just saw a field of bulls. And from then on, the horned goat was a thing. And she was fine with it.

Or, when we were waiting to board a shuttle to take us to The Narrows inside Zion National Park, and the kids killed time by playing this clap game called Concentration, where someone picks a category and each kid needs to offer something in that category.

As she was still thinking of the previous category of “mountains,” a new one of “pizza toppings” came her way and she blurted out an answer that almost made her older sister pee her pants laughing.

“Mount St. Helen’s.”

That answer then joined the “horned goat” as an appropriate response to anything for the next few hours. The cool part is we still have a lot of our trip left, so I’m sure by the end I could fill a small book of her exclamations, which is just one more magical part about this adventure.