Friday, September 3, 2010

Are We There Yet?

September Challenge: Worst. Trip. Ever.

Remember the old "What I Did For Summer Vacation" reports we all had to write at some point in elementary school? Wonder what those were all about. Did our teachers really want to read through 30 children's "I'm hungry!" "He's on my side of the seat!" "I have to go to the bathroom!"-filled treatises on parent-torture? Or those airless summer drives to see the Grand Canyon and every gas station along the Platte River? The dragging of unwilling offspring to view battlefields that the inside of the station wagon could rival? Maybe.

As far as traveling goes, I've got nothing to complain about. With a father in the Air Force and a mother in possession of extreme wanderlust, we racked up serious mileage on the trip-front. Add to that my later job as a marketing representative for a software firm, and I could have hosted a travel show. On the whole I have great memories from these outings. As well as some, ah, interesting ones.

There was the time when:
  1. Our family was camped on Rehoboth beach in Delaware and the edge of a hurricane blew through nearly blasting our little tent-trailor out to sea. On the up side, I got to drink my first pineapple milkshake at 1:00 a.m. in a little cafe as we waited out the storm.
  2. I was beach-slapped by an enormous sneaker-wave that I'd turned my eight year-old back on to holler to my family. After being tossed end-over-end I came up with a years-long fear of deep water and 70 pounds of sand in my swimming suit.
  3. I got the living tamales scared out of me by a witch doctor in Old Town New Mexico. He was a nice man and I think he felt really bad. I wasn't buying it though. You can't tell a five year-old that a dude with red and black war-paint all over his face is Mr. Rogers' best friend.
  4. We spent a year the summer of '72 driving from Maryland to Utah. Station wagon. 55 miles per hour. 5 kids. Enough said. 
  5. I flew from Salt Lake City to Illinois, via Atlanta, plus a two hour drive. With food Poisoning. More than enough said.
  6. We stopped to get directions when going to visit my brother in Vienna, Austria, and a disturbed hitchhiker who thought we were picking him up jumped into the car as we took off. He regaled us with tales of all of his friends who had committed suicide, and got us solidly lost before we dropped him off at the city asylum to visit his brother.
  7. Our intrepid pilot decided to dodge thunderheads above Indianapolis instead of flying over them, or keeping us safely land-locked on the ground. We banked on our wingtips and dropped 20 feet in a shot. Oddly, no one stood by the cabin door to wish us well as we picked our way through the wreckage and disembarked.
So, looks like I do have a few tales to tell. And maybe that's the point. I could use these in my writing. Or at least keep things interesting at a party. I guess an eight year-old's retelling of a family vacation might be good entertainment for a teacher after all. And perhaps for the world at large. Imagine how you could embellish it for a book!


indiana weaver said...

What's that old saying about it being all about the journey and not the destination... These stories are funny! And I, for one, am thrilled that you had to endure them so that 30 years later I could be well entertained while taking a break from some serious house cleaning [yes, we're battling the cobwebs...between the windows and storms!]

Janiel Miller said...

Well, glad I was able to disengage you from your cobwebs for a moment. Sounds like your weather is being typically Indiana-funky. :)