Photo of The Day

Photo of The Day: Proud Fatherhood Reveals Itself in The Darnedest Places

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Camera: Canon 5D | Lens: EF24-105mm | Setting: f/18, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

"Oh really?" The conversation with Brodie (his name's not Brodie, I'm just protecting the guilty) had found a climax. "We're headed to Gonzaga Bay that same day. We should caravan down together."

And so it was. Brodie's family of three, plus "one in the oven," and our family met on the north side of the Mexican border at Yuma, then drove to San Felipe. It took forever, or so it seemed. A recent earthquake clobbered the roads into a state of disrepair far beyond the disrepair that typically characterizes rural Mexican roads. And we made wrong turns and more wrong turns. Hey, this is the Stephens family we're talking about. Wrong turns are part of the program. If you don't like it, you're plenty welcome to go chase your own phantom maps and gut feelings.

Brodie and family were cool with it all. At one point we stopped for gas and potty, because at the time we were both head deep in potty training little girls. "Sorry about that back there. I've never driven this route before." I apologized.

He grinned because he's like that. It's what I like about the guy, always grinning, always chill. "No big deal, man."

In San Felipe we found tacos and Pacificos and guacamole and sunshine and a cool breeze rolling off the Sea of Cortez that collided with the 110-degree heat radiating from the desert floor. It stroked our stoke, but we had miles to make still. So we continued down the road, which was once a legendary washboard path that followed the contour of the coast from San Felipe all the way down to Gonzaga and beyond. Once upon a time, you'd be on this stretch for two days just to get through it. But today it's mostly paved. So only memories of the legend live on, and happy old ex-pats say things like, "You know what Mama Espinosa says? Bad roads bring good people. Good roads bring bad people." There's a touch of sadness among the community when they see the old dirt road get paved over.

Where the pavement stopped, so did we. At the time the change was north of Gonzaga Bay by 10 miles or so. We got out, stretched, and asked the kids if they needed a potty. Our daughters got out, played around in the rocks for a moment, then Brodie's little girl did the not-so-unthinkable. She pulled her panties down, squatted, and, well, proceeded to heave and grunt and squeeze out a poo. Brodie's wife just smiled at us, holding back her laughter out of a sense of class among these folks she'd just met hours earlier.

Brodie also smiled. He smiled big. "My kid's taking her first crap without a potty on the side of the road in Mexico." He breathed in deep, slid his sunglasses down off of his head and onto his nose, looked at the ocean and then graced us with his description of what he felt in his heart: "I'm one proud dad right about now."


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