Rental Kids

I decided to take the wife and kids out to an abandoned house and get some pictures for maybe our annual Christmas Card. It’s summer so its hot out, but we would only be out for about 30 minutes.I had the kids dress like hippies. I thought it would be fun for them. You know, identify with my generation, sort of.But, the more we did the harder it got. First of all, those teenage daughters of mine just have no idea what a hippie looked like. And when I’d tell them you need to have straight hair parted down the middle, you’d think I’d have insulted their intelligence or something.But, eventually I got them all in the van in faded blue jeans and chambray shirts, with headbands on. The mood hanging over us was ugly. Not like the carefree days I remembered when I was their age.We drove out to the country and found an abandoned house with a front porch still standing the kind a hippie family would’ve rented. The topic among the kids, instigated by their little brother was snakes. No one wanted to go out in the grass. To make matters worse, the house was on the other side of a barbed wire fence, put there to keep a mean bull in, no doubt.We didn’t see any bulls or snakes and in the amount of time it would’ve taken me to change the oil, spark plugs and muffler we were milling around the front porch.The kids began muttering cute comments. “It’s hot! It’s dirty. I think I see spiders!” I tried to cheer them up with a joke. I told them I had forgotten the film and we’d have to go back. They all stared icy stares at me. Now I know what a mutiny would feel like.But, when I had the camera in place and the kids posed, they seemed to take a great deal of delight in watching me dash from the camera to my position on the porch before the camera’s timer went off.After a few pictures they were ready to go. I knew we hadn’t gotten any great pictures, but by then I was in no mood to argue.On the long ride home I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could just go to a store and rent kids for family photos? These kids you rented would be trained to be polite and look nice for the pictures.Man, that would be something. Maybe you could rent these kids for any kind of family outing. You could have a babysitter for your real kids and then rental kids to introduce to your boss. The rental kids would shake hands and say “How do you do?” and not turn around and kick you when you say “And this is our oldest, she is studying piano.”Well I indulged in my daydream until we pulled into the driveway. It was then that my lovely children reminded me, that in our haste to leave the country, we had left the camera behind. Rental kids may just be in my next family photo.

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