Do you remember standing in front of the class during grade school or high school so that others might know what you did with your summer vacation?
I don’t remember exactly how often this occurred in my world or in what grade(s), but I know I recounted the summer adventures of an adolescent at least once or twice. Our family took a road-trip vacation almost every summer, so I would have had something worthy to talk about – although, I could have easily related the number of hours I spent at the beach doing nothing except swimming and darkening the tan of a German-American white girl.
I recall trips that took us up to Copper Harbor, Michigan; around Lake Superior, into Canada; up to the locks at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and the Soo Locks on the Canadian side; to Chicago to visit the Museum of Science and Industry and Kankakee, Illinois, to visit relatives; over to LaCrosse, WI, and down the Mississippi; and out to South Dakota where we visited the Badlands, the Corn Palace, the Black Hills and watched an outdoor presentation of The Passion Play. I found out early on (after an “incident” in the back seat of the Chevy Impala) that I easily became car sick by reading or performing any task while dad was driving, so I spent most of the time looking out the window at the landscape or napping.
Those were the days, of which I’ll get back to in a minute or two…
I recently went back to work after a 10-day “staycation.” This was a vacation where I had no plans to go anywhere outside the State of Wisconsin or the confines of a growing community unless there was a mandatory need. This was a vacation where I did what I wanted, commiserated with who I wanted, and stayed in bed as long as the cats and/or the internal alarm clock would allow (I never made it past 7:00 am). I found this staycation to be relaxing, even though I kept busy most days.
If I had to stand up in front of the WordPress peeps and give a dissertation on the highlights of this vacation, these would be the most exciting points:
- I gave up coffee. Cold turkey. I did not give up caffeine as that would have been a complete failure, but the java is “no more” due to the havoc it had been raising with the tummy. I became tired of being nauseous almost every day by mid-morning. It’s been twelve days and counting and I haven’t strangled anyone yet.
- I was >this< close to the fireworks on Sunday night. Natasha and I made it to the park at a good time and found a spot for us and five additional spectators at pond’s edge. Before the amazing light show, I ate a bratwurst, stood in line for the port-a-potty, listened to a great cover band and hung out with friends. When the fireworks show started, it was right over our heads. Natasha called them combat fireworks. They were loud and proud and spewing the remnants of their casings along the edge of the pond, where we were sitting. I found myself laughing hysterically during the first few minutes of the show, although I decided quickly to shut my mouth lest one of those remnants landed on my tongue.
- I went for a walk almost every day, around 3.5 miles. Worked out at the gym a few times. Went for a bike ride mid-week. I love summer! It allows me to enjoy the outside most days and motivates me to get to the gym and keep moving. I often thought, during these times, how great this will be once I’m retired, that I can enjoy the outdoors every day it’s not snowing or -20F.
- I have a new activity of sorts. It’s called bible journaling. The leader of our Wednesday night ladies’ group from church suggested we try this for summer rather than the usual track, and we all agreed. Journaling of this type allows one to write or draw in the wide margins of a bible to reflect, make observations, add prayers, or doodle while discussing scripture. As we got started last Wednesday, I found it to be relaxing and a mix of adult coloring, scrapbooking, and penmanship with an artistic flair. I love this, but I am wondering how/when I will add another new endeavor into my life. I also wonder why I do this to myself.
- I went to the farmer’s market a couple of times, visited with mom and friends, had an evening meal with girlfriends, drank a glass or two of adult refreshment, watched Star Trek reruns, and RELAXED. The latter was important. Now that I’m back to work, I realize how RELAXED I was at home. It was difficult to go back to the normal routine this past Tuesday and it seems to become more difficult with each passing day. I want to be retired and RELAXED forever.
As you can deduce, this was not the most exciting vacation in terms of locale or activities, but it was one of the more enjoyable. The weather was about as perfect as I could have hoped for in a 10-day period and I truly took advantage of it and the time off work.
Now that I’m on the cusp of another weekend, surviving the penance of excessive work that seems to come with taking vacation, I think back to the adolescent road-trip days and all of the places that mom and dad saw fit to take their children. They made sure we visited places in our own state, such as The House on the Rock or Holy Hill. And mom always made sure we stayed in a “clean” motel. That was her pet peeve. It the motel was not up to her standards, we moved on. My brother and I tried to talk her into camping, but mom would have none of it. Vacation was not a time to be spent in a tent, laying on the ground.
It’s kind of funny how my brother is now a hard-core camper and how his sister seems to like it too, as long as there is a campfire at night and mosquito spray during the day.
So, in honor of summer vacations and road trips and special vacation memories, I give you a peek at my younger years and some of the places our Impala (or whatever car we had at the time) landed.
Have you gone on a summer vacation or have something planned? What’s your favorite road-trip memory as a youngster? Is there some place you want to visit again and again?
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