Vinnie Wants to Know Who Painted the Painted Desert


“Why, Mom?”


“Because why, Mom?”

“Because I said so.”

“I don’t understand.”

“What don’t you understand?”

“Why I can’t turn my story into Mrs. Navis for my vacation project.”

“Because I don’t want to be embarrassed.”

“You didn’t listen to the story, Mom. It really is good.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad, “You can join in the conversation any time you want to join in.”

“You’re doing just fine, Dear.”

“Mom? Mom? Mom?”

“What, Vincent?”

“You look stressed. I packed Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, and six packages of bubblegum. Do you want anything? I think chocolate will make you feel better.”

“Where did you get all that? I didn’t buy it?”

“Remember the night before we left on the trip?”

“What about it, Vincent?”

“Gramma and Grampa came over to say goodbye.”

“I remember.”

“Gramma is the nicest. She gave me a bag of candy. She called it ‘goodies.’ She said to share it with everyone, but not to tell you until we were far away from home. Are we far enough away from to tell you, Mom?”

“It’s your Mom, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Don’t go there,” responds Vinnie’s mom.

“Where? There’s the exit for the Painted Desert. Can we go, can we?”

Vinnie’s dad says, “This is our third day on the road. We should have been in Flagstaff yesterday. I was lucky to keep our rooms at the Grand Canyon. We’ll have to pass on the Painted Desert this time.”

“Who painted it, Dad?”

“It was the way it was formed millions of years ago. The desert is composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone, and shale,” Vinnie’s dad smiles at Vinnie’s mom expressing his pride how he described the geology of the Painted Desert.

Vinnie’s mom says, “You learn that on Google last night?”

“No, early this morning when I was looking for places to stop for lunch,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Do they have pizza places at the Grand Canyon, Dad?”

“No, it is a national park. We’ll hike and maybe we’ll see bears or wolves or even mountain lions. We might get to ride a donkey down the canyon trails to the Colorado River.”

“What are we going to eat, Dad? Dexter will starve to death without food. You don’t want Dexter to starve to death, do you, Dad?”

Vinnie’s dad glances over at Vinnie’s mom, “I could use a little help.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “You’re doing just fine, Dear.”

“I didn’t think about food. I thought you were going to think about food,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“I thought I was supposed to think about packing and organizing. I thought you were going to think about the food and lodging,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie interrupts his parents, “You should have asked Dexter, Dad. Dexter is always thinking about food.”

Vinnie’s mom turns her head toward Vinnie, “I’ll take two candy bars, it doesn’t matter what kind.”

“Can I have one?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Too late, Dad. I only have two left and Mom called them. I ate the rest.”


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