Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: My Favorite Vacation Spot

When I was growing up, we always made the same pilgrimage for our summer vacation.  My mother was from a small town in southern Utah, and her parents were my only living grandparents.  So each year we would travel back "home" and visit them for as much as a month at a time.

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!

RummuserAnuAshkokGaelikkaGrannymarPadmumMagpie11, andAkanksha,Will KnotMaria the Silver FoxAnkiNema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and RohitBlack watertownThe Old Fossil, our newest member MAXI! and last, but not least SHACKMAN! :)


Delirious said...

Oops, I meant to set this to publish on Friday morning but forgot. Oh well. lol

Grannymar said...

I didn't read it, saving it for tomorrow. Honest! I am off to prepare my own piece now.

Rummuser said...

Great minds think alike Delirious. Mine is more or less on the same lines. It is not spots or places for me but people.

Never mind being two days too early. You gave a wake up call to two people!

shackman said...

Great story D - and a great traition. Not atypical in may ways methinks - I remember a few driving vacations from my childhood in Colorado, one of which included Bryce & Zion canyons. Bryce is one of my fave places to this day. I wish I had a family tradition like the ine you described.

Nene said...

I really miss the mutton fry - I did acquire a taste for mutton and I loved it. The BBQ is great, but I've never had mutton again since I was a teenager. The other thing I miss about the mutton fry is the talent show that was always immediately after the dinner. Everyone stayed for it. Now not that many attend.

Grannymar said...

I have finally stopped chasing my tail and am sitting with my afternoon coffee enjoying your annual pilgrimage back to your roots.

In our family, the house where I grew up, became the base for many of our extended family. I have cousins across the globe who, when they talk about 'Home', mean our house and not homes in which they were born.

PS: The captcha today is the clearest I have ever come across.

Maxi said...

As one of seven kids, I understand being cooped up in a car.

How nice that you went back D, got to know your grandma and the good feeling of a familiar place.

blessings ~ maxi