When you are retired, every day seems like Saturday. This is great, but wait. When every day seems like Saturday, you can get bored. Because there isn’t anything left to do. You did it all when your kids were living with you. Soccer games: check. Horseshows: check. Swim meets: check. Picnics: check. Sunday drives: check, except the kids hated those.

So now, we sit on Saturday mornings, thinking of something that might be “fun” to do. We look in the paper for movies. Funny thing—neither of us is interested in seeing Magic Mike. So we cast around in the “local activities” section of the paper. Nada. Then, as if by magic or predestination, our sister-in-law calls. During the conversation, she mentions Letterboxing. Apparently, this is kind of like an internationally organized sort of scavenger hunt, where you go out into the wild and look for hidden boxes that have exciting stuff in them! You need a compass, a map, a rubber stamp, and a little notebook. Wow! Sounds so much fun!! www.letterboxing.org

We look for sites in Dayton. There is one just down the street! We get our equipment (see photo, above), douse ourselves with bug spray, and set out. I can barely contain my excitement!

HIM: Here is the cemetery. Look for the grave with the angel.

ME: All the graves have angels.

HIM: The one with the tear running down her cheek.

ME: A fly just bit me. OW! Another one! The bug spray isn’t working! OW! I hate this. This angel has a tear. How do we know that ALL the angels aren’t crying?

HIM: Twenty paces. Look for a bush that has red leaves.

ME: None of these bushes around here are red. Are we supposed to be doing this in the Fall? OW!

HIM: No. Wait. Turn left by the grave that has a picture Saint Frank on it. OW. I see what you mean about the flies.

ME: There was no Saint Frank. You are reading it wrong—give me those directions! Saint FRANCIS, you idiot!

HIM: Oh, here it is! There should be a hidden box somewhere inside this bush.

ME: This bush is green.

HIM: But it matches up with the clues. Look inside!

ME: Ok. It has thorns. OW. Oh, here’s the box!

HIM: SO, what is in it?

Here’s the thing. Inside the box was a tiny little book. People had written their initials in it and used rubber stamps. There was a rubber stamp in there, too, so you could stamp the little book you had to buy in order to participate in this whole exercise. Luckily, we didn’t have to buy a little book. I had one. We were supposed to buy a rubber stamp of our own, to put a stamp in the little book in the bushes. We didn’t bother to go to the store to get one. Good thing, because the book in the bushes was totally full. We couldn’t have put a stamp in it if we wanted to!

ME: That’s IT? No clues to another box? No prize? I thought there would be a prize. Or at least clues to another box, and that one would have a prize. There are no other clues??

HIM: I guess the whole thing is supposed to be an adventure. You know, finding the box.

ME: But they tell you where to find the box! And why do they say you need a compass? We didn’t need the compass! There has to be more to it than this! looks angrily down at the box.

HIM:   Give me the box (as if I am stupid)! Nothing. turning the box over Nope. turns box over again.

ME: Well this just sucks. looks angrily at husband.

HIM: My sister said this was fun.

ME: still looking angrily and with great disappointment at the little box.

HIM: We are supposed to put everything carefully back, for the next hunters.

ME: I think we should put a disclaimer in here. Something like This is not what it is cracked up to be. There should be prizes.

HIM: You can’t do that. It will spoil it for the others.

ME: The others? All those people who actually bought the rubber stamps and put them in the little book? Do you think that the others just really loved finding the bush that wasn’t red, and then stamping the little book? And then went home? They liked this a lot? With no prizes? Are we missing something? Are we jaded?


ME: I see.

HIM: Do we have any calamine lotion at home?

Letterboxing. Somebody needs to tell them there should be prizes. I’m just saying.

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