Lebanon Reporter

July 18, 2013

Vacations, traffic jams, bathroom breaks and other diversions

Lebanon Reporter

---- — If vacations are so wonderful and relaxing, why is it that most of us seem to need a vacation from our vacation?

Another question I wish to impose upon you is this: why does it seem to take so long for our vacations to arrive, but once they get here, it’s all over in an instant?

Summer days can drift by at a pace that would make a snail seem fast. From the time the sun rises until it sets, the clock on the wall just seems to operate in the opposite direction — except for vacations. For every tick forward that the minute hand goes, it feels like it takes ten ticks backwards — except for vacations. Before clocks and other timepieces were ever invented, did the days ever seem to pass too quickly? Or did they just seem to creep by?

When the day of departure finally arrives, everyone is rushing around finishing last minute details before pulling out of the driveway. Did we stop the paper, talk to the mailman, or let the milkman know not to deliver our weekly supply of dairy products? Were we careful not to tell everyone and their brother that we were going to be out of town so that our house would be easy pickings for a greedy intruder?

An hour from home, the son already needs to use the bathroom, even though he assured both parents that he had done so before leaving. Finally stopping at a run-down gas station somewhere south of Crawfordsville, the boy hops out of the car only to find that the bathroom is disabled permanently. Not knowing what to do, the young boy is obviously in distress. The greasy mechanic finally guides him into an empty repair bay and points to a dark and seemingly unending hole. Oh, what relief, back on the road once again, everyone satisfied, until our daughter states that she needs to go to the bathroom as well. Luckily for her, we actually found a real working latrine fit for our daughter to use. And so it went, each of us taking turns either needing a toilet, or snacks and a soda. Before we knew it, the day was over and we already had to pull into a motel. Thank goodness, they had “left the light on for us.”

Vacations are filled with much anticipation of where we are going and just exactly what we will see once we get there. Are we there yet? How much farther do we have to go? Why do we have to go see Aunt Bertha? Her house smells like mothballs?

I remember when I was a child, going to Oklahoma to visit family members I had never met before, nor would ever see again. One relative, let’s just call him an uncle, was heading out to the storm cellar (root cellar) and I wanted to tag along. He said an abrupt no to me and told me that he had important business to attend to. I found out that he was attending to the business of moonshine. Oklahoma was a dry state at that time, and I’m not referring to the Dust Bowl either.

While there, my Mom and I were driving around the countryside in my Grandpa’s car when suddenly a policeman flipped on his lights and had us pull over to the side of the road. He was only stopping us to let us know that we had a taillight that was not working. Fortunately for us, he did not see the open container of whiskey that Grandpa had stored in the glove box. I don’t think any gloves were ever stored inside those compartments.

Detours, flat tires, overheated radiators, and other calamities most often haunt the families that hit our nation’s highways in search of peace and tranquility. Countless no-vacancy signs at motels also await the weary traveler, as he heads to a one- or two-week paradise destination. Once arriving at their much anticipated point of pleasure, most often they are met with higher-than-expected prices, large crowds, bad food, and unfriendly natives. Oh, how grateful we are to be able to get away from it all and just relax for a spell. No phones, no bosses, no headaches caused by life’s demands.

Contact Raymond L. Snoke at shark_guy2@yahoo.com.