Rick Rogers: A night out on the town with Dad

Rick Rogers

Hey, don’t tell the wife.

I had a date with another lady the other night. She is this cute little curly haired girl, with a big smile and a funny laugh.

She stands a little more than 3 feet tall, and loves to dance to “High School Musical” songs in her spare time.

Of course, my big date was with my youngest daughter, Rachel, who just turned 5 years old this summer.

It was last Friday night, and Rachel was feeling a little left out after her big sister was invited to spend the night at a friend’s house, and the good wife was playing flute in the pit of Crowder College’s play performance.

So, Rachel’s only option was to spend a night with good ol’ Dad.

For some reason, Rachel was actually excited about this. Go figure. Elizabeth told me Rachel had been waiting anxiously for me to come home from the office. She put on a cute outfit, complete with a skirt, and had her mom do her hair up.

But, what Rachel did not know is that we had a few stops to make on the way to our dinner and a movie date.

On our first stop to take photos at the Neosho Nightriders ball game, she stood up against the fence and pouted.

“Hey there Rachel, hanging with Dad tonight?” asked Chris Marion, proud baseball father.

Rachel just looked up and said nothing.

“She’s not happy to be here,” Chris said to me.

Nope. Rachel was not happy. This was not part of her plans for the evening.

“It is time to go? Is it time to go?” she would ask every 64 seconds.

Rachel quickly learned what the good wife knows all too well when you go out with yours truly — there’s always work to be done somewhere.

“Is it time to go to the movie, yet?” Rachel asked from the backseat as we left the ballpark.

“Nope, but it’s time for dinner. Where do you want to eat? You pick.”

“Hmmmm, Taco Bell!!!” she yelped.

Boy, Rachel’s a cheap date. Two taco meals and a case of heartburn later, Rachel and I hit the road again.

“Time to go to the movie yet?” she asked. “What time does the movie start?”

The movie started at 9:05 that night, and we still had two hours to go.

“Two hours, urrghh,” Rachel answered back.

Our next stop was the bull riding event at the Ozark Saddle Club Arena, where the Professional Bull Riding circuit was staging a show.

I thought this would be a hit with Rachel because she loves animals.

But unlike the zoo, bull riding is a little more action-packed, and the minute one of the bulls came charging at us from our vantage point just outside the fence, Rachel took three big steps back and hid behind me.

“Do you like bull riding?”

“I don’t think so,” Rachel said. “It’s scary.”

Well, that was a dud, so after 45 minutes of taking photos for the newspaper we headed back to the car.

“Dad, is it time to go to the movie yet?”

We had one more stop to go. Medicalodge had scheduled a Fourth of July event for its residents, and since we were just a block or two away, I thought we could stop in and take a photo or two.

The event was canceled due to the possibility of thunderstorms, much to the delight of Rachel who threatened a strike and nearly refused to get out of the car in the Medicalodge parking lot.

“I want to go to the movie now,” she said. “No more pictures.”

Of course, I did what any good parent would do in this situation and replied, “Rachel, if you don’t get out of the car right now — no movie.”

It worked, of course.

And finally, after three stops to take photos and a dinner at Taco Bell, Rachel and I made it to our seats in the theater to watch “Wall-E.”

It’s always fun to watch the girls in the theater smile and laugh as their eyes are glued to the big screen.

And, yes, I have to admit I do enjoy a good Pixar flick.

After the film on the way home, I asked Rachel if she wanted to stop for ice cream.

She didn’t answer. I looked back in the rear seat and she was out cold — exhausted from a night out on the town.

Rick Rogers is the publisher of The Neosho Daily News. His fondest memory of a night out with his Dad was when they went to a hockey game on a whim. E-mail Rick at