What Are The Joys Of Summer?
My parents never planned a vacation; we just took off. I have the best memories of being scooped out of bed in morning mist and placed in the backseat of the Plymouth, which would turn out to be a battlefield with my sisters. My dad's goal was simply to get us in the car, back out of the driveway, and head for the horizon. Who knew what we might find?
My mother would turn her side of the car into a miniature kitchen, with plates, silverware, and groceries. Sandwiches, carrots, and apples appeared like magic at short intervals to stave off hunger and boredom. My sisters and I used our dolls' suitcases for tables, and then we slid back into our pillows and read, napped, and watched the telephone poles fly by until it was time to get out and look at something we had come a long way to see.
I remember wearing raincoats on Maid of the Mist as we came closer to the spray of Niagara Falls. I remember the mountain at the end of the street in Salt Lake City that was really beyond the end of the city. I remember riding a tandem bike with my dad around Michigan's Mackinac Island and being so proud I made it. But most clear in my memory are the long rides home in the back of our old station wagon, feeling the wind on my face as I watched the stars race by. I always pretended to be asleep when we pulled into the driveway so my dad would carry me up to my room and I could maintain the illusion that our travels would never end. When my mother tucked me in and turned on the floor fan with the hum that made the bed vibrate, it was as I I were still riding through the night, safe among those who loved me most in the world.