Ian and Jenna’s A-Mazing Mystery Trip with Nana’s Twisty Turns

Dr. Seuss explores the maze of life in his famous book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! On the first page he assures readers:

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

And that’s just what Jenna and Ian did when they visited Conner’s A-Maizing Acres this past October near Hilliard, Florida guiding their grand-parents from one station to the next. (Yes, they did learn “maize” is a type of corn.)

During the one-hour trip in the car, Ian read poems from The Random House Book of Poetry for Children to his cousin Jenna. He didn’t read from Dr. Seuss’ book, though whose wise words weave a web throughout this travelogue.


Then, a snapshot at the entrance . . .


The Conner Barn offers much to keep little hands busy . . .


After a hayride to the field, we tackle the maze . . .


There were Rules and a Life-Guard at the entrance to make sure we didn’t get hopelessly lost or ejected!

The staff were exceptionally friendly. We imagine the rules were a response to previous infractions.
The staff were exceptionally friendly. We imagine the rules were a response to previous infractions.


Jenna and Ian steered us away from blind alleys, saving us false steps and loss of sanity. No danger of losing our way with these two at the lead!


Like Dr. Seuss explains, it’s easy to take missteps and get lost.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

But we had such good guides, not a chance this would happen to us fortunately!

Next, while Jenna and I shopped for pumpkins, Ian bounced around on the spider web . . .


We also visited the Micro Farm with an aquaponic system:



Aquaponics: Growing plants in water and gravel, clay pebbles or lava rock.

We learned King Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon with an aquaponic system as a tribute to his wife.

One of their favorite pauses: The horse farm . . .


Dr. Seuss continues . . . I’m sorry to say so / but, sadly, it’s true / that Bang-ups and Hang-ups / happen to you.

No, the Hang-up didn’t happen to either Jenna or Ian. It happened to their NaNa. The Cylinder-on-Rollers looked exciting and easy . . . until I got into one and right from the start, felt disoriented and dizzy and not very smart. Still, Jenna and I persisted through to the end – with less than wonderful results.

I’m physically fit and strong for my age (so I’m told),

but when I exited the roller I felt much less bold!

I had to wonder the truth of the Seuss line “You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Yet, I suppose these closing lines below from Dr. Seuss still would apply to us. We made it to the end of the course, more or less . . .

And will you succeed?

Yes! You will, indeed!

(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Seuss’ shouts optimism and assurance on his last page:

Today is your day!

So . . . get on your way!

Have you done something lately to get out of your comfort zone, maybe even made a fool of yourself? Any memories of antics in times past?

Coming next: Quiet Lives Matter, My Brother Mark


Moments of Extreme Emotion: A Broken Leg & Ecstasy Expressed

Moment of Exasperation

One of the mysteries of life is how things happen at our house. Specifically, how did the leg on this piano bench break? We still haven’t figured out the answer for sure though we have speculated on some possible explanations.


How did this happen? Vote in this short quiz:

a. Piano bench overloaded with music books

b. Over-weight pianist

c. Kids had wild party while parents were gone

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

(Answer on next blog post.)

Mystery Moment


Completely befuddled, Patrick and Curtis react to the Mystery Trip announcement sponsored by Grandpa and NaNa:

Patrick: What’s a mystery trip?

Curtis: Is it safe to drive with Grandpa?

Moment of Extreme Ecstasy

Patrick and Curtis about 6 years ago at O'Charley's Restaurant
Patrick and Curtis about 6 years ago at O’Charley’s

Grandpa’s paying!

Have you had a moment or two of extreme emotion lately? Or long ago?

Thank you for adding your story to mine!

How to: Mystery Trips

Create a Memory:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Older adults trapped in a vehicle with 3-4 of their grand-children for hours on end. Who would do that? Only Grandparents hiding secrets. Grandparents on a mystery trip with kindergarten and elementary schoolers in tow. Here’s one way to do it adapted from a suggestion by my good friend Carolyn P.

1. Insert Mystery Trip Card on your windshield.

2. Insert children, belted in and believing anywhere is possible!



Mystery Trip # 1  Museum of Science and History (MOSH, downtown Jacksonville) Billed as a place where Wonders Never Cease.

Three of our four grandchildren are boys, and they have all followed Bob-the-Builder / Thomas-the-Train line of interest. Now it’s dinosaurs! This trip will feed their fetish.

Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 6.15.33 PM

Always end with FOOD! With no fast food place in sight, we make a hot dog—cookie—juice box picnic out of it this time.

Mystery Trip # 2  Polar Express: Any theatre, even a DVD at home will do. But the iMAX 80 foot-wide-screen bumps it up a notch. Besides, you get into a van and GO somewhere special. The woofer and tweeter sounds make the story come alive!


Mystery Trip # 3  Let’s Go Science! With Professor Smart and Dr. Knowitall

 Screen shot 2013-05-30 at 6.29.32 PMCurtPatWhataburger

Patrick and Curtis went berserk-y trying to touch the huge floating balloon, a  before-the-show stunt. We ended with WhataBurger! As you can see, eating is serious business!

Mystery Trip # 4  Blueberry Pickin’  Good country fun @ $3.00 a pound! 


Jenna says, “This is good, family fun!” And that was before the gang in the back-seat made up a silly song of 4-5 stanzas about picking blueberries to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”


The last stanza included barfing although that never really happened!

Like this post? Follow my blog and get many more free of charge! Just type in your email address at the top of the page and click “subscribe!” WordPress keeps your email address private.