23 August 2013
The Legacy of the Family Trip
When I was twelve, my father, a member of the Air Force, was stationed on the coast of Southern California for three years. Since my grandparents lived in North Carolina, it became our family's summer tradition to drive across the United States for a yearly visit. As a child, I viewed the annual summer crossing with dread. Being cooped up in our old pink station wagon - with my parents, sister, and two brothers, for six days of monotonous travel - was not something that I anticipated with enthusiasm. At that time in my life, I was unable to understand the importance of those family trips. In hindsight, I realize they provided six days, which were void of life’s delay distractions, filled with cherished family memories and opportunities to learn about life. Certainly, this was a legacy worth passing on.
Our summer trips always began in the same way. My siblings and I moped around the house whining about the injustice of being subjected to such a boring fate. In the hope of soliciting our interest, my father pulled out maps and brochures depicting an endless array of possible tourist attractions. My mother, choosing a different line of attack, spent a small fortune buying a myriad of snacks, games, and books, which were intended to entertain us for six days. Regardless of their efforts, we spent most of our time endlessly fighting and bickering among ourselves. Usually, by the third day of our journey, even my mother was obliged to join us in this noisy pursuit. Today, my sister, brothers, and I laughingly agree one of our fondest trip memories is of our mother, leaning across the back of the front seat, flailing her arms wildly in an effort to smack us, while we cowered in the back of the station wagon. In recent years, my family has spent countless hours happily reminiscing about the once dreaded summer crossings. Amazingly, sometime during the passing decades, like a...
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