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Thankful Thursday XVI – Vacations

Yesterday was a busy day for me, so I took a break from Thankful Thursdays. Not quite a holiday but a wee break from one thing that’s part of my routine, even though it’s one I quite enjoy. It got me to thinking that this “thankful Thursday – redux” I’m thankful for vacations. Both little ones and grand ones, ones I’ve enjoyed, ones others have taken and just the concept itself… one that resonates, I’m sure coming onto the unofficial first long weekend of the summer.

My dad loved to travel; my mother not quite as much but she still enjoyed getting away from it all – not to mention staying in a hotel and having the cooking done for her – from time to time. My family wasn’t poor but neither were we rich, so our holidays when I was a kid were somewhat modest. When I was young, we had a camper trailer – a modest one mind you, nothing like the behemoths we see being towed along our highways today with their own satellite dish and front and back doors – so we’d often get away for a week or so and go camping. Exploring the eastern half of our Canada, and adjacent areas of the States; cooking some dinners over a camp fire, going to town for the local restaurant other days, sleeping in a trailer with screen windows, hearing the hooting owls and cacophony of bugs in the woods around us. By day we’d explore the forest trails, take some pictures, or maybe visit the nearby towns and explore the local shops and attractions.

A few years later, when I got to be of double-digit age, we found a fondness for Florida. For several years we took a summer holiday in southern Florida. That seemed crazy to some, but we liked it just fine. The prices were cheaper, the beaches less crowded and we had all the time in the world. Well, a few weeks anyway, given that it was school break and my mom was by then working as a teacher. Sometimes we’d head down there by bus and my Dad would drive down a week or two later when his holiday kicked in, all driving back home together. We made friends there, found that the 90 degree days there in July were quite tolerable with the sea breezes absent in the 90 degree days back home and enjoyed dips in the Gulf water.

They were good times, generally relaxing times. It was driving back from Florida I got to marvel at the vibrancy of American cities like Atlanta and the beauty of the Appalachians. I don’t remember a lot from when I was about four years old, but I remember standing under “The Big Nickel”, as the name suggests a statue of a very big five cent coin – in Sudbury on one of our camping trips. I recall vividly the excitement I had a few years later when I, as a young baseball fan, looked out the window and saw the magnificent home of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Ken Griffey and all those great Big Red Machine teams – Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium – go by as we crossed the Ohio River. I remember stepping into a patch of long coarse grass one time in Florida near our hotel and hearing a loud, distinctive buzzing set in right away , and quietly backing away, not in fear but rather awe knowing that I must have awoken a sleeping rattlesnake. Still wish I’d been able to see the critter, from a safe distance.

When I grew up and became an adult, budgets usually didn’t allow for a lot of exotic holidays, but I have equally fond memories of camping in some of the provincial parks along Lake Erie during the bird migration; of the sights of New York when I went for a long drive, and experiencing that vibrant Atlanta as an adult. My dad meanwhile, with his equally fond-of-travel new wife, took many trips back to his homeland in Switzerland and hers in Britain before they sadly became too old and unsure of their health to do so any more. They’d regale me with the stories of their trips, photos of the landscapes and tales of the best food they got in the foreign restaurants. That was mostly my dad’s thing.

The travel industry took a beating in the last year with Covid. There are pros and cons to that; obviously it’s bad because it effects so many people’s livelihood but the reduced air pollution from the fewer jets and cars on the road has done a wee bit of good to the environment and enabled people to find interesting things to do at home that might have eluded them previously. Still, it would seem that the more people get to travel, the more we might hope to understand each other. It’s easier to have empathy for others when we’ve actually met them and seen their lives a little rather than just the Hollywood sterotype depictions of them.

So, vacations. They can be big or small, far or near, but here’s to them. Hope you can treat yourself to one, no matter how humble, sometime soon.

14 Replies to “Thankful Thursday XVI – Vacations”

  1. Now after reading this…I wanna go on one! We went camping a few times but Florida was the popular spot. We live only 7-8 hours away from Pensacola and Panama City.
    My parents divorced while I was young but I would get to go with an uncle or sometimes my dad…one time with my mom we traveled down the eastern side of Florida to the Keys and came back up on the Gulf side…that was a trip!

    When I became older I went more and more and it took me back to those times. Dave that was a hell of a drive back for you guys. You did get to see a lot of America that way. Going back home seems like it takes twice as long as getting there.

    Your camping trips sound really neat…I wish we would have done more of that also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We usually stayed in SW Florida, often Fort Myers Beach, beautiful area. After he remarried, my dad sometimes liked to go to Panama city in winter for a week or two, a bit cheaper than south Florida and sometimes friends of theirs would go with them. We made it over to the East coast a couple of times for day trips… I recall seeing the Kennedy Space Center, that great big square building where I guess they stored rockets until they were ready to launch of something.
      I liked camping a lot when I was young, first with my family in that trailer, and then as an older teen or 20-something in a tent . Last time I did that I think was 2001, when I went to NY, as it happened not long before 9-11. Planned to make a full week of it, but car was wonky so kind of hightailed it home after I think 3 days, but did do one night “camping” in the Adirondacks. Only I’d got a new tent for it, and made double mistake of not trying it out first AND getting to a campsite a little late in day… couldn’t figure out how to get that thing up (one of those dome tents) so ended up curled up in the back of the car.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw Kennedy Space Center also with our trip around Florida…that was around 1974-75. I loved it down there.

        We would plan our trips right after Labor Day…it would be cheaper….and we are kinda planning it this year…with a little luck we will get to go.

        I’ve been there with a tent before! It made me feel stupid but they can be confusing. I do like camping bu ONLY if it’s cool…I’ve went in August before and that was not fun. We packed up after waking up with sweat at 2 in the morning and went home.

        South Florida would be nice in the winter…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hope you get to go!
        I loved camping back then but not sure I would be that much of a fan still… sleeping in a bag, the weather consideration. Don’t think anyone in the family here likes it anyway, so it’s probably a moot point!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Do you like fishing while camping Dave? I love fishing but I never got into hunting… I just can’t… nothing against anyone who does though… fishing more for the talking and relaxing…

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      4. When I was a kid, we’d often go fishing in the lakes or rivers near us… I think it was my dad’s thing at one time. I kind of found it very boring. HAven’t been in years but I don’t really object to it, and I guess I’d eat a fish like a bass or a pike that I caught. My dad’s grandson (through my step-mom) that lived with him in his last year of life was a big fisherman, especially liking ice fishing in winter. Had his little hut and all… to me that’s a “no” since it would be boring, dark (inside a little hut on a frozen lake) and mostly, cold! But more power to him! He enjoyed it and got some dinners out of it. Never been in agreement with hunting although it is a part of the heritage around here and over the years I’ve grown to agree with many of the nature organizations I support in seeing duck hunters as something of allies, as they at least care about the outdoor environment and keeping it productive for wildlife. My “hunting” if you will is with a camera.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I would love to try ice fishing just once…just once! We have rivers and lakes here and it’s a good bonding experience. The most fun I’ve had was Deep Sea fishing in Florida. That is not boring. You catch a lot believe me if you don’t get sea sick.

        Good for his grandson…is he still alive? The way I read it I wasn’t sure if you were talking about your dad or him.

        The hunting I just can’t do. I have read where if hunters don’t do what they do…about deer here…that the deer would starve but I’m not sure about that. I just could not pull the trigger…I couldn’t. I guess if we were starving…that would be a different situation…I hope I’ll never know that.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. deep sea fishing would be something – did you catch anything? Looks like if you hook one of the big swordfish or things like that you’ve got to earn your supper, so to speak.
        I guess I worded it poorly, I meant my dad’s last year, the grandson is still around, driving dad’s car (which I am all for – he’d been doing the driving in that house for the last year due to dad’s bad eyesight so it seems fair he hang on to the car).
        If I didn’t have so many food allergies (ones to peanuts and tree nuts being the primary and most dangerous) I’d probably try to be close to a vegetarian, even if not an adamant one. But I do like to have some meat with dinner and love sandwiches frankly… so to some it seems hypocritical that I’m not a fan of hunting. But that’s me …I can’t buy into the “sporting” argument personally when they’re carrying around AK47s and hiding . If they went an knocked a deer out by hand, that would be a fair contest , although a rather silly one.

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      7. Yes we caught some red snapper and they cleaned them back at the dock and we had them that night…they were excellent. If you ever get a chance Dave…go. We saw Dolphins also…not catching them of course.

        Oh ok…that is good…glad he is fine.

        I’m about to take a food allergy test. I eat the wrong food and I blow up like a balloon…I’m starting to keep a food journal…everything else looks good.

        No I just can’t shoot anything that is living. I can fish with no trouble so I dont’ see why I can do one and not the other.

        Yea I don’t like it either.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Red snapper was my mom’s favorite fish dish, she’d always get it several times each time we went to Florida. Don’t think I’ve ever had it but I’d try it, I like most fish.
        Yeah, you’d best get tested – do you get hives too, or worse , have that throat closing up feeling? Those are the dangerous ones. With me, nuts and shellfish are dangerous. I’m also allergic to eggs , but not in the same degree… they’ll make me sick and have a really painful stomach but don’t seem life-threatening. A bit of a nuisance but could be far worse. I read the ingredients in pretty much every prepared food we buy though, and tend to stick with dishes I know at restaurants.

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      9. It was my dad’s favorite fish to eat. Oh it is really good. I’ve tried swordfish steaks also…they are really good but never caught one.

        Yes because I blow up like a balloon…and it’s irritating as hell. No I don’t get that…its more with my intestines…oh strawberries really give me trouble.

        Yea you would have to read everything. I gues anything fried in peanut oil you cannot have either.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yep…no Burger King for me. They switched to peanut oil a year or two back…ate 2 ( literally TWO) french fries and had a reaction …took about 6 Benadryl to quell that

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Oh man that sucks Dave…you do have to be really careful. McDonalds at one time had the best fries but they changed to peanut oil and they suck now

        Liked by 1 person

      12. oh yeah , dolphins- nice! From time to time we’d see a school (if that’s what you call them) of them swim by offshore, jumping out and looking like they were having fun. Quite neat to see.

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