We were tooling north on NY’s I-81 for our annual rendezvous with friends at the Thousand Islands. Almost there, last exit before Canada! Chris drove while 17-year-old Ian rode shotgun, wearing giant white shades and giant lime-green headphones. And why was I not in the front seat, where grown-ups belong? Because I was sitting in the middle of the back seat as fratricide buffer.

A maniac New York driver kept speeding and weaving in our vicinity and Chris fell in behind him for safety’s sake. We all cheered when a state trooper pulled a U-turn in the median and came steaming up. The crazy New Yorker, clearly guilty, pulled over onto the right shoulder and awaited his punishment. But the trooper ignored him and turned his lights on BEHIND US!

Ian then became my understudy in the role of conciliator, giving his dad a subtle elbow when too much arguing went on with the trooper, trying to convey with body language that yes, officer, we understand and we’re sorry, even if actually you’re wrong, the other driver was going much faster than us, and life isn’t fair. Not a bad lesson for our firstborn, who will soon test for his driver’s license. And not a bad lesson for our younger guys, who are frequently outraged over being punished for something the other guy ALLEGEDLY did. In a group post-mortem of the incident, we concluded our out-of-state plates did us in. Harrummph.

Apart from that, our annual respite at the St. Lawrence River was, as always, fantastic. The boys agreed it is their favorite vacation place ever. One morning, Ian swam nearly a mile with his dad. On another, he heroically kayaked out to fetch the thrill-ride tube that had floated away in the night.

And we got to be with our friends from London and their four kids, giving our boys some bonding/civilizing time with their surrogate sisters.

Oddly, we still don’t know the amount of the ticket. The fine will be mailed to us. Whatever it is, it was worth it.

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