Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

Oh, the places you'll go

By Grace King | Apr 27, 2018

It always seemed to be a crisp summer morning when my sister Anna and I would crawl to the back of my parent’s minivan – my dad in the driver seat, my mom in the passenger – suitcases stacked in the back with jackets, pillows, odds and ends stuffed in between.

My dad would pull the van out of the driveway; we would watch the garage door close and then we were off. Every time I could feel the responsibilities of our busy lives being left on the road of all those miles we would travel.

You see, my family is a vacation family. Summer, spring or winter holiday, we would pack up our belongings and get out of dodge. If there’s anything my father taught me (and he has taught me a lot), it’s the importance of brushing off your cares for a week or two and discovering new parts of the world.

While we never traveled out of the U.S., our most elaborate vacation was the monthlong sabbatical my dad took us along with him for. We started in Iowa, drove through the Dakotas, waved at Idaho before traveling the cost of California. From San Diego, Cali., my mom, Anna and I flew back while my dad continued his sabbatical for another few weeks and brought the van home.

That vacation in particular, however, was very formative for our family. It was just the four of us for four weeks. No getting away from each other or sneaking off to hang out with friends. It was even the vacation where I got experience driving on the interstate for the first time. (So many of the highways had a speed limit of 70, even 75 mph and I did not last long as the anxious teenage driver I was. My mom quickly took over.)

One of the most memorable days of our sabbatical vacation was when we were staying in Oceanside, Cali. My parents had heard rumors that if you got to the beach before sunrise as the tide swept out, you would be greeted by sea creatures that got left behind. I can’t recall how early it was, but let’s just say it was early when I reluctantly got out of bed with the rest of the family to head out to the beach.

Anna will probably read this and tell me I’m remembering it wrong – that girl has a memory like an iron trap – but I remember we searched for a few minutes thinking that we weren’t going to find any magical sea creatures that early morning. I was definitely in a sour mood, that I remember well. When all of a sudden, we stumbled onto hundreds and hundreds of sand dollars. While we collected the washed up, dried out ones, we also came across many that were still alive, waiting for the tide to bury them again.

The last vacation the four of us had together was in the spring of 2017 when my family came to spend a week with me while I was living in New York City. I got to leave my one-room apartment and roommate for a few days and join them in their condo, sleeping on a pull out mattress with my sister and sharing secrets with each other after my parents went to sleep. I had missed her.

From here, it will get harder to agree to travel with them. They already have a vacation lined up for this summer that I won’t be able to join them on, but that’s okay. The last few have felt like farewell tours.

It’s a melancholy thing. Even though, sure, there was a lot of bickering on our vacations and some very, very quiet meals where you could cut the tension with a knife, I wouldn’t trade the memories of my family vacations for the world.

Meeting new people, hiking in the mountains, being a foot away from a Buffalo, or walking through a San Francisco and being invited by a street band in Chinatown to play strange-looking guitar – that was my childhood.

While those days are gone, and I am not planning on doing much traveling this summer, I am very much looking forward to my first real Mt. Pleasant summer. The events in the park, the Henry County Fair and my second Old Threshers are just a few of the things I can’t wait to experience.

For all the students still in school, hang in there. It’s almost summertime.

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