RDH Mom's head was when she came up with this little challenge:
Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!
At the ripe old age of 46, I've gone on a few vacations. I've been to England three times and traveled across the USA numerous times. I've had a couple of honeymoons, and trips for reunions and funerals. And I'm happy to say that MOST of these trips have been pleasurable in one way or another.
But when RDH Mom set forth this challenge, we had already been in the throes of vacation-deciding. Between work, a new roof, an unexpected car repair and soaring gas prices... our finances are a bit tight. Not much room for a real vacation. My son is nine now, and I want to give him a memory of vacations as he grew up - but so far, haven't really provided any.
All of which made me think back to vacations we took when I was child. My parents were usually in similar straits - plus they had five kids (at the time) to provide for. But somehow, they managed.
My Fun Monday vacation is the last real family vacation we took - before I left the immediate family and started my own life. It was 1977 and I was 15.
Because of the largeness of my family, most vacations started out on a beautiful country road in our trusty Volkswagon Bus. In those days, there was no law about restraining children. We had free run of the back seat and a playpen was set up where the middle seat used to be for whatever little kids needed to use it. On this trip, Matthew was really the only little kid. The rest of us were in various stages of older childhood.
One of the joys of traveling by car was the ability to STOP. We stopped a lot. Roadside Tables (which I don't think exist anymore), tomato stands, antique shops... anywhere there was something interesting to look at.
Our destination on this particular trip was Pine Mountain, Georgia and Callaway Gardens. FDR State Park rented campsites and cabins and that's where we always went when we vacationed here. Cabins for us - Mom wasn't into roughing it for too long with such a large bunch. After arriving and putting our stuff in the cabin, the first thing that happened was swinging!
Andy and Matthew adored these swings. We all did. Funny that it was always the first thing we did! That and we had to go say hello to the lake. It was just a glorified holding pond, but it had ducks and geese and was very peaceful.
No one went swimming there. There was a large community swimming pool a short hike through the woods for that. No trail actually existed, but trees were blazed with orange stripes so that you could find your way.
I have no pictures of the swimming pool, but I do have memories. Mostly of diving contests between my brother John and brother Jerry. Those contests were very good measures for the kind of men they turned out to be. John's dives were always spot-on perfect. He worked very hard on form and his dives were a work of art. Jerry was more... uh, freeform. They seemed to have no form at all - and yet, when they hit the water, John splashed and Jerry produced barely a ripple.
We got passes to Callaway Gardens and after the prerequisite tour of the gardens (which I didn't appreciate at the time), we got to go to the OTHER part. The part with the swimming lake, the pavillions with snackbars and concerts and the FSU Flying High Circus which summered there. You could go as many times as you wanted to - it was an all-inclusive pass. There were bike trails and waterski shows... children's paradise!
And HORSEBACK RIDING! Every girl's idea of heaven. Luckily, my dad indulged me in this from time to time. I've never had any formal training, but I loved to get on the back of a horse and go.
Our time there was OUR time. I have no idea how long we stayed when we went to Pine Mountain. But there was time for swinging, and playing, and telling stories. That was the summer Matthew was introduced to the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The little bridge that crossed the creek was the perfect setting for this, but it did take him a while to feel comfortable crossing the bridge. We finally convinced him by showing him that no trolls lived under this bridge. At which point he rather gleefully decided that he would be the troll!
We played cards, played music, drew pictures. We overheard odd snippits of conversation from neighboring cabins, including "Mr. Beemish say you be stupid!", which has become one of those code phrases that families have. Apparently the recipient of this comment was about to be fired by Mr. Beemish!
And at night, we slept on the screened porch with a symphony of owls to sing us to sleep.