Home > Uncategorized > Bad parenting–Jonathan style (#3)

Bad parenting–Jonathan style (#3)

    Night drives are a great opportunity to see many nocturnal animals as well as predators.  In ordered to have a good night drive, you need a good spotlight.  I didn’t have a spotlight (as you aren’t allowed to self drive at night in national parks) but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to do our own night drives.  I found a place in Lusaka who sold spotlights but they were nearly $200!  I came up with an idea to create my own and purchased a outdoor light with a very narrow beam.  However, I needed an inverter to make my setup work (an inverter plugs into the cigarette lighter and gives you a normal electrical plug in which you can plug in normal objects).  To make a long story short, in my search for a reasonably priced inverter, I found a cheap spotlight.  So with all of this effort, I was very keen to go out at night.

   I convinced my mother and the boys to go out with me.  While the roads were pretty good, they were narrow with occasional bad patches so it was not wise for me to try to drive and spot.  The boys were happy to do the spotting and while I thought we might miss some animals the joy it brought the kids was more important than spotting an animal.  My job was to watch the road and drive while the boys shared the spotlight and looked for eyes reflecting in the light.  We saw bushbabies, mongooses (or is that mongeese), a civet and other nocturnal animals.  The boys agreed with me that it is much more satisfying to find the animals yourselves.  But it is hard to keep your eyes on the road as one is tempted to follow the spotlight which explains the noise that came from under the truck.  I stopped and then continued slowly forward.  We heard another sound and I slowed to a very slow crawl.  As I tried to ease the truck over the stone, the truck stopped.  I tried to move forward and back but the wheels spun (the truck is not four wheel drive).

   It was dark, we were about 100m from where we had seen the lions earlier that evening and we were stuck.  A good parent probably wouldn’t have taken the family out at night and, if they had, would have informed the camp in advance the route they planned to take and the estimated return time.  However, as the title indicates, I am not a good parent.  One thing that I have learned is that it is critical to maintain an air of confidence in order to make the boys think everything is okay, even if it is not.  I am getting pretty good at this.

   The boys were concerned but I assured them it was nothing as I borrowed the spotlight to scan the area for lions.  Nothing in view, so I jumped out to examine the situation.  The differential bump in the axel was resting on this rock, just enough to have lifted the rear tires off the track.  Had I not been going so painfully slow, we would have gone right over with a small thump.  In retrospect, I don’t think I could have accomplished this feat of driving had I tried.

   I got back in the cab and, with some supporting evidence this time, assured everyone it was no big deal, but that I did need grandma to get into the drivers seat.  I don’t know how long it had been since mom drove a manual but I am pretty sure she had never driven one where the driver is on the right and the gear shift is on the left.  After another quick scan of the night for lions, I jumped out and lifted the back of the truck as mom drove forward.  With ease, the truck moved forward and we were free.  Except the truck continued to move forward and I had to run along side and ensure mom knew how to stop it.  She did and I think she just wanted to make me run a bit. 

   We rearranged everyone in the cab as I bragged to the boys about the strength of the father to single handedly lift the truck off the, now massive, rock. Smile



The truck safely back at camp the following morning.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Joan
    August 17, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Love it!. I can’t wait to hear all about it from your Mom. She may have a different view of things.

  2. Bonnie
    August 19, 2013 at 12:52 am

    JJ you are going to have to take a class of parenting. Your mom will have heart failure thinking about her boys while she is not there.

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