Friday, September 4, 2009

Family Vacations

When Michael and I were in our early teens we went with our parents on car trips to the west. Our father was the Captain and did all the driving. Our mother was the social director and was responsible for keeping us quiet by playing geography, sign reading and feeding us. The morning of the start of the vacation, after loading up, Mom brought out the wicker basket of fried chicken, potato salad and the likes. We left Chicago proper and about a half hour later, Michael and I were hungry again. Our Dad who was capable of moving to the red zone in an instant imparted these loving words, "shut up and sit back." This was a man who respected his Mark lV Lincoln and would not tolerate greasy fingerprints anywhere. He was determined to put at least 500 miles on each day and stopping to use a gas station bath room was met with disdain. Michael and I read all the signs; Wild root Hair Tonic, Red Man Chew, Burma shave and the like. When we learned of a Reptile Zoo 60 miles away we began the chant, " Let's stop there, huh dad, huh?" Tirelessly we asked, pleaded, and begged to stop and see the zoo. We were ignored in the beginning, but when we were with in 5 miles of the Reptile Zoo our Mom would add to our cause and say," come on Harold let the boys see the zoo it's their vacation too."
This was how we rolled, a challenge at every stop. One I cannot forget was in the mountains somewhere and they had the Seven Colored Falls and Indian Relics. The falls were beautiful and when the sun set they were illuminated in different colors and sight seeing boat rides took you into caves and underwater lakes. After you saw what was to be seen as if by magic one ended up in the general store with Indian Relics. If our Father was tough on stopping the car, asking for a souvenir was unthinkable. While I was messing around with the cedar boxes holding sharpened pencils I hear a, "Psst, psst Allie?" I turn around and there is Michael in a full Indian Chieftain's headdress, feathers reaching down to the ground, and Michael's shining face beaming at me. My reaction was taken as encouragement and Michael started to do an Indian dance yips and all. The store manager saw us and snatched the headdress off and returned it to prominent display case. He then took each one of us by the hand and out of the building. In the next inspired moment Michael announces he has to go to the bathroom. The manager releases our arms and begins wiping his face with a hanky. Michael returns to his native dancing to hold back his swollen bladder. The manger wants to know if he can hold it and Michael asks if he would like to hold it? Back we go to the store Michael yipping along the way. Hustling us to the Men's room, the manger starts calling out, " I have 2 boys here that have lost their parents, please take them." "Boys, boys where have you been? Your father is furious." Like we couldn't guess that.
Back in the car empty handed awaiting our next adventure.

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