Out of Africa

People lose their senses at charity auctions. For example, I once bought a puke-ugly, cloth seat cover because it had a bunch of zippered pockets. My dad one-upped me. He bought a South-African Safari.

"I thought it would be a neat father-son adventure," he said of his impulse purchase.

The package was for two hunters and two non-hunters. In his mind at the whimsical time of bidding, he had imagined his three sons and him riding around the African Savanna, maybe even atop an elephant, mouths agape, filming everything and creating memories that would outlive us all.

"Except, none of us are hunters," I replied, dutifully fulfilling my responsibility as a son to wreck my father's dream.

"I neglected to read the fine print," he admitted and shrugged.

Fast forward a year, past an unresolved conflict that excluded my brother Danny, and I was on my way to South Africa with my father, my youngest brother, Doug, and my good friend, Mike Cejka, owner of Mind and Body Fitness and happy exploiter of Danny's misfortune.

With the exception of my father, none of us had traveled such a distance. South Africa is accessible through a fifteen-hour flight from Washington D.C. and operates eight hours in the future, meaning when you sit down for your evening meal in Oklahoma, it is already tomorrow over there.

It was to be an adventure. We had been vaccinated against numerous maladies, we had armed ourselves with loads of videotape, and we were curious whether water really drains the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere. Ready o