I managed to stay clean and dry despite two pigpen sons

Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

Our sons are 32 and 26 (almost 27) years old and they’re still playing in the mud when they get the chance.

What’s a parent to do?

For starters, stay out the way so I don’t wind up splattered with mud.

It all took place at the Tough Mudder endurance/obstacle event that took place here over the weekend.

Alex was scheduled to take part in the event with a bunch of his buddies from his Army Reserve unit.

Ethan was supposed to be one of them until he transferred to another unit and got to work with them as a volunteer at the event – in his case, at the finish line handing out headbands to those who finished the 13-mile, 24-obstacle course.

So Alex set off early Sunday morning on his little adventure, wearing a short skirt.

It was an Army camouflage skirt and several of his buddies were wearing plaid little schoolgirl skirts, so it could have been worse, but still?

I’m not sure what the meaning or purpose was for the skirts, but I adopted the former Army policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

By the time they finished the course, the skirts were all mudcolored anyway and it was hard to tell who was wearing what.

If you’re not familiar with the Tough Mudder, it’s a challenge/ test designed and created by British Special Forces to test mental and physical strength, with obstacles that include water and mud (lots of it), climbing, crawling, fire, ice, electricity and other fun stuff interspersed throughout a 13-mile course.

One thing it apparently doesn’t test is sanity, because no sane person would willingly undergo all that torture.

Which is why Alex was running the course and Ethan was wishing he was.

After about three-and-ahalf hours, Alex and his crew reached the final obstacle – Electroshock Therapy.

They had to go through a mud hole with several speed bumps and charged wires hanging down above them.

The charge was a mild one, although by that point most of them probably were numb and wouldn’t have felt what kind of charge it was.

When they got through, Ethan was there to give Alex his headband, but he never got the chance.

Instead, Alex tackled him and began wrestling with him in the mud, until they were both covered head to toe in goop.

It wasn’t really much of a wrestling match, more just rolling around in the mud.

I was there taking pictures for the paper and got to watch – and record – the whole thing, but from a safe distance.

Alex tried to chase me down and give me a big, muddy hug as well.

Fortunately he was so worn down from the course that I was able to elude him – at least, that’s all I can figure, since I know I’m not normally faster than him.

He did find his wife and give her a big hug, but Aiden was fast enough to avoid his embrace as well.

So Aiden spent the next few minutes scraping mud off his mother, while Alex enjoyed his reward – a nice, cold beer – and told me I’d be doing the Tough Mudder with him next year.

All I can say is, they don’t make a big enough mug of beer that would motivate me to go through that.

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