Chattanooga Spelled with a “P” (Fall Break 2019)

I honestly couldn’t help but laugh. Out loud. A little too loudly. (Which was definitely the wrong Mom Move to make, but sometimes you just can’t stop yourself.)

Lunch at Mellow Mushroom was the last stop of our adventure — even though we’ve driven two hours from home to (theoretically) experience new things. (Whatever. Kids gotta eat, and I’ve got one picky seven year old.) Besides, by that time, Cricket, E.V. and I had accomplished all the things that we had set out to do during our Fall Break Girls’ Trip to Chattanooga:

We had walked the downtown area,

enjoyed Clumpie’s ice cream,

rode the carousel,

took an impromptu dip in the Coolidge fountain,

traipsed around our fancy hotel in our pajamas (with only a few sideways glances from women in evening gowns),

had a complimentary glass of champagne (me, not them),

jumped on beds (them, not me),

ran wild in the courtyard outside the aquarium,

petted stingrays,

held butterflies,

oohed and ahhed at the penguins and river otters,

stalked sharks around the big tanks…

And after all that we found ourselves starving for lunch before we headed home.

(Cue glowing Mellow Mushroom sign beckoning us like moths to a flame.)

We were seated immediately and plopped down in the a section of full tables. The waiter took our order in a casual manner, in between Tic Tac Toe and pizza-shaped mazes. Soon the girls’ kids menus were doodled-on and useless, and our food was nowhere in sight. So, as usual, Cricket sprung into action. 

“Let’s play Charades!”

She hopped out of her booth and immediately declared herself “it.” The first round she was a queen’s guard — which took about one million guesses to get. (Why can’t my kids ever think of normal things?) With each round, she came up with more and more obscure things, so E.V. and I demanded help. Soon Cricket was giving clues and E.V. was spurting out guesses like crazy. It was hilarious and fun — although I had to remind the girls a few times to play quietly since the tables on every side of us were packed.

Several rounds in, Cricket stood as straight and as tall as she could, arms at her side and feet together. After a few failed attempts (a giraffe? a flamingo? a rocket?), she gave us a clue:

“It starts with the letter ‘p.’”

Both E.V. and I were determined to get the answer, but as our imaginations began to fail us, we started saying any ‘p’ word that came to mind.

“Pina colada!” E.V. guessed with a grin.

I grinned back because I’m fairly certain she doesn’t really know what that is other than an off-limits adult thing. There was a pause as we thought what could possibly top “pina colada,” and then a silence fell over the restaurant at the exact moment E.V. shouted out her next guess —


(And now you know why I couldn’t help but laugh. Out loud. A little too loudly.)

But my laughing just encouraged her — “Penis! Cricket’s a penis! PENIS!”

Honestly, how do you recover from that? You don’t. You just let your kids see you have a good, uncontrollable laugh, let them giggle with you, shrug your shoulders at the nearby patrons…and declare the game over. (I mean, E.V. won, right? Game over.)

And then you drive outta that town and never go back to that Mellow Mushroom again. The End.

First stop: Ice cream.

Riding the carousel at Coolidge Park. (E.V. was a daredevil; Cricket was terrified, ha!)

It was a cloudy day — but still HOT.

We didn’t set out to get wet, but where’s there’s a fountain…who can resist?

We checked into The Read House sopping wet, and, yes, people stared, haha!

In the morning, Cricket left a note for housekeeping: “We are out.” (Thanks for letting us know.)

Our grand finale: The Tennessee Aquarium! Touching sea animals:

E.V. – 0

Cricket – 1

(They have a butterfly room in the aquarium!!)

Touching butterflies also terrified E.V….

…but not Cricket!

“Mom, take a picture of me with the crab!” (Eek!)

Peace out, TN!

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