My mother would drive the full day of driving all by herself. We would leave early in the morning, and get there late in the evening. For most of the years, she never had anyone to help her drive. She also didn't have help with us six children. But my mother could handle us by herself. If we began to argue, she would simply pull over by the side of the road and let us sit for awhile in the sweltering heat until we were ready to get along and stop fighting. She would only begin driving again when everyone was acting appropriately. I'm sure she must have been exhausted by the time we arrived, but she never flinched, and made this trip faithfully every summer that I can remember.
She had grown up in this little town, and my father had grown up not too far away, so for them this was home. It was the only time of the year that we saw those family members. This could be why my mother was so driven to make the trip, despite the tiring long drive.
This vacation usually coincided with two holidays in July; Independence day, and Pioneer day. On Independence day, there was always a children's parade in the morning, and our family usually made a float to drive in the parade. My grandmother had a trunk full of costumes, so we children would dress up and either ride on the float, or walk in the parade. The rest of the day usually had a patriotic program, games, races, ball games, and culminated with a "watermelon bust" in the evening. They would bring in a truck full of watermelons, and we could eat as much as we could hold. The whole town would come out for this event. On Pioneer day, the parade would be themed around pioneers, so our costumes switched from patriotic to pioneer and native American. The rest of the day would be much the same, except in the evening we would have a "mutton fry" for the whole town. They would cook some mutton in a deep pit and we would bring salads and desserts to add to the menu. I have to say that I never developed a taste for mutton, but I sure loved all the rest of the food. These two holidays made our vacation extra special.
When I was a young adult I went to live in this same town with my grandmother for a year. I got to know the residents much better, and especially got to know my grandmother much better. As a child I always felt a little bit like an outsider when we visited, but after living there, I definitely also came to view this place as home. The scenery also became familiar to me, and just seeing pictures of it makes me feel at home. I will post a picture below of the scene that greets us every morning. This place was inhabited by many of my ancestors, and truly is a home for me.
Friends of mine tell me about vacations their family took to other countries, or to special theme parks. My family rarely took those kinds of trips, but only took this one yearly trip home for the summer. When my own children came along, I continued the same tradition. It never was a "comfy" location. We had to share a limited number of bathrooms for about 25 people at a time. We had to share one shower. That meant waiting in line not only for bathroom use, but for meals as well. So this wasn't a location where you would go to relax. Our vacation wasn't about relaxation. My father did a lot of fishing, and that was probably relaxing for him, but the rest of the experience wasn't relaxing. This vacation was more about tradition and family ties. As the years went on, each of my siblings also returned "home" once a year, and we would coordinate our trips so that we could visit each other. That tradition has continued to this day. I don't know what the future will bring, but even if my extended family discontinues this family vacation, I am certain I will find a way to make my way back home.
Check out the favorite vacation spots of our other consortium members!
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit, Black watertown, The Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)