Vacations are wonderful things.
Well, most of the time.
My wife, Kathy, and I recently made the 600-mile trip back to northeastern Ohio to see our new granddaughter for the first time. The trip to Ohio and the stay there were both joyous occasions.
Kathy and I both talked of seeing the new baby for the first time all the way there and barely let little Maddie Jane, who was born in early February, out of our arms during our weeklong stay. I don't think either one of us stopped smiling during our stay in the land of Urban Meyer.
The trip back, however, was another story.
First things first. Maddie Jane and her mom, Kaysi, are doing very well. So is papa Bruce. And I can also vouch that the little one's appetite came directly from grandpa.
Kathy and I spent the first 350 miles or so of the return journey talking about the days spent with Maddie, Kaysi and Bruce. Shortly after we crossed the Illinois line, I said, "We probably better stop and fill up the gas tank."
After we had stopped at the pump, Kathy exited the car and headed inside to get us a few snacks and colas for the final leg of the trip back to Quincy.
I was left alone to fill the gas tank. Big mistake.
I placed the nozzle in the tank, then pressed the necessary buttons on the pump and waited for the gas to start filling the tank. It was at that precise moment I looked again at the nozzle. I thought it was sitting crooked and tried to correct the position, which was an even bigger mistake.
Just as I gripped the handle, the gas exploded out of the end, ricocheting off the car and on to me. Still holding the nozzle, the force of the gasoline coming out turned the flow toward me.
I was drenched from head to toe with unleaded regular.
And I mean drenched.
I got the nozzle back in the car and filled the tank, while standing in a puddle of gasoline.
About this time, Kathy emerged from the nearby snack shack, got within about 25 feet of me, and stopped in her tracks. There I stood, with gasoline dripping off me, and an incredibly puzzled look on her face.
Did she ask how I was? No. Did she ask whether everything was OK? No.
The first words out of her mouth were, "What did you do?"
We've been married for almost 20 years, so in fairness to her, she knows her partner well.
"I had an accident," I told her.
After two trips to the restroom to wash myself from head to toe and get rid of my clothes, including shoes, we were on our way. I was forced to wear a ragtag collection of old gym shorts and a much-too small T-shirt, plus flip-flops.
When we stopped for a final snack and cola break near Springfield, I went to pay for our goods and the cashier took one look at me and said it was on the house.
"What was that all about?" I asked Kathy, who was keeping her distance from me because of the smell of gasoline.
"Well, you do look kind of destitute," she said, trying not to laugh.
I thought about it and could see the cashier's point. I was kind of a mess.
We then got back in the car and kept heading toward Quincy. At least we didn't need to stop for any more gas before we got home.