Night[mare] at the Opera, First Act

Kids and culture is a difficult thing to get right. How to introduce the kids to high culture while managing not to ruin it for the adults involved? Author Jules Older attempts to do just that when he buys tickets for the family to see Madame Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House. He'd hoped for the ultimate Believe-Me, You'll-Thank-Me-Later cultural experience. His young daughters, however, saw things differently. 

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Are We There Yet?

by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers

It comes from the back seat, in varying tones of voice. Sometimes it’s said with anticipation, as when we’re on the way to the White Mountains and Mary is primed for a day at Story Land -- or when it’s that ice cream time of the afternoon. Mary’s always primed for that. Sometimes it’s said with a yawn, when we’re headed home after a day’s skiing at Gunstock Mountain. In our car it’s never a whine, because everyone knows what happens to whiners – no one can hear anything they say.

photo courtesy Stillman Rogers PhotographyBetween the two of us, my husband and I have developed quite a repertoire of responses. Some are met with a few moments of puzzled silence as the layers of implication sink into an 8-year-old mind. Some are met with immediate protests of disbelief, others with a long series of giggles. We are heartened by the latter, because we can’t imagine traveling with anyone who doesn’t have a sense of humor.

This isn’t actually all 110 of the answers we have come up with, but enough to get you started. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

“Yes, that’s why I have stopped the car here by the side of the road under these pine trees next to a swamp, without a house in sight. Be sure to tell me when you want to go somewhere else.”

“Not quite yet. I expect it will be only 16 more hours, 26 minutes and 43 seconds. Too bad there’s no place to stop for food on the way.”

“I have no idea, because we aren’t actually aiming for any place.”

“I’m completely lost. I think we’re actually heading away from there right now.”

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