Monday, September 3, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I stood in front of a massive bed with a canopy and rich velvety draperies. The mattress was so high off the floor that you’d need steps to climb into it. I wondered if I could actually get away with spending the night in a museum, like the kids in one of my favorite books, The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. My mom and sister moved on, so I reluctantly followed. After touring the rest of the Kansas City museum, we spread a blanket in a nearby park and enjoyed a picnic with sandwiches brought all the way from home.
No, dear readers, this didn’t happen in the summer of 2012. It’s one of my best memories from the gallery of vacations past. It’s interesting to think about why certain memories stick with us, and what it says about our personality. As you can see from this one, I enjoy history, have an active imagination and I’m an avid reader. Food is obviously very important in my life.
My husband shared that his favorite vacation memories involve spending time with his three male cousins on their farm in Eastern Texas. He also has great stories about the trips to and from in his dad’s pickup. I’m guessing he liked this because he grew up with a sister in his house and two female cousins who lived next door. The trips to Texas allowed some rough and tumble boy stuff. Great times.
My three children shared their vacations until they married, but different things stand out in their minds.
The oldest son remembers a trip to St. Louis where we stayed in a hotel close enough to walk to and from the Cardinals game. To this day, he loves blending in with the locals, instead of looking like a tourist wherever he goes
The middle son recalls a trip to Nashville where everything was included in the package we purchased, and we followed a schedule for bus tours to the local sites. He still enjoys the “canned trips”, and enjoyed his first cruise with his wife.
Our daughter remembers seeing most of the sights from the back seat of our car, always in the middle between her older brothers. Her current love of country music was fostered by the serenades her daddy and I provided as we sang along with our classic country cassettes.
What memories will our grands retain from the annual Granny Camps? The oldest continues to talk about a trip to the submarine docked in Downtown Little Rock, and now builds all manner of ships with his Legos blocks. However, this year, all four enjoyed sitting at my kitchen table with markers and paper, and balsa-wood models and glue. Do you think this will spark even more creativity in the Carlisle cousins?
 As a follow-up to last month’s column, an eight year old friend of ours will remember this summer as the one he spent at Arkansas Children’s Hospital getting a new heart.  As we’re writing this, he’s living at Ronald McDonald house, waiting for the go-ahead to head home. His mom says she never knew she would be so grateful to see pink fingernails and chubby cheeks. Of course, we realize that another family somewhere will look back on this time with great sorrow, but we applaud their courageous decision, and hope that the two families will meet someday to encourage each other in person.

The end of the summer drought has arrived, and we now look forward to county fairs, caramel apples and chrysanthemums. Though at times we doubted it, we have survived. At my house, I’ve been enjoying the life of a retiree. My alarm clock is growing dusty from lack of use. I get up a full hour and a half later than I did last spring. I have the option to cook breakfast at home, or relax at a local restaurant. Shopping means taking my time, checking out all of the choices, no rush, no fuss. I’ve actually stayed caught up on my laundry, kept an appointment with the dentist for the first time in years, and visited with dear friends- in the daytime on a weekday. This summer will be memorable as the first one without a Monday-Friday job. Changes may be on the horizon again, but Oh, what a summer vacation it has been.      



Nichole Hall said...

I love how each child remembers different vacations. It reminds me of how many different perspectives there are in life. Along side of the child at Ronald McDonald's house and the one that isn't.

I too, am in a midst of change and look forward to the day when I can have a dusty alarm clock and live the simple life. So glad you are living life to the fullest and enJOYing all life has to offer!

Jenny McLeod Carlisle said...

Thanks, Nichole. Yes, there's quite a contrast between the memories those two families will have of the summer of 2012. My heart aches for the loss on one hand, but I'm rejoicing with the other family. God has a plan!