Make vacations fun again

Post 35/2021 Saturday 21 August . . . Taking a vacation presents a raft of challenges, mainly related to the dangers posed to personal and community health by the still-with-us pandemic. (Pray that more and more people grasp the true meaning of the words, “pandemic” and “Covid-19 and variants,” and do the right thing to combat it.) Make vacations (and home stays) worry-free and fun again.

A favorite vacation

On Thursday evening we gathered under a shade tree with immediate neighbors. One item on the agenda was to go around the circle and tell about a favorite vacation. People spoke fondly of travels to Hawaii; Alaska (most cited); a Disney Cruise with grandchildren; the enjoyment of trips to all contiguous US states and all across Canada; the tug of a family-related paradise in Tennessee; Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; the Mennonite Colonies in Uruguay; Paris; and more.

I traveled back to the early 1950s, recalling a day of vacation in late August. I grew up on a farm, helped with chores and harvests, played with pets, and enjoyed occasional evenings of homemade ice-cream with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. Our immediate family’s summer was marked by a day at Grand Bend on Lake Huron.

At the end of the main harvest season, just before school started in September, my parents took us and a cousin on a day-long outing to Grand Bend. What a day! We splashed around in the lake, built sandcastles, drove bumper cars and rode the merry-go-round in the arcade, dug into a picnic lunch my mother prepared that included red salmon sandwiches, potato chips, pickles, veggies, and fruit in season–supplemented with an ice cream cone and probably cotton candy. (I wonder if they make bumper cars for adults? Perish the thought, but as I visualized it I burst out laughing.)

I could have added a second memorable vacation, this time one of several overnights, that included Niagara Falls; Watkins Glen, New York; and a visit to friends of our parents at Clarence Center, NY. At Niagara I remember the wonder of seeing people step into a cage when a door opened and then shortly thereafter seeing different people get out. It was like magic, my first sight of an elevator.

I recall the wonderful walk up the gorge at Watkins Glen. Mother was concerned that Dad was walking too close to the edge of the path as water tumbled down the ravine. At the top we siblings were treated to our first glass of nose-tingling Coca-Cola. (I think I’ll have one for old times sake.) We also visited a nearby zoo. Vacations were fun, opening a new world as we fresh-from-the-farm-kids were exposed to the wonders of travel. If ever we said, “Are we there yet?” I’ve forgotten it.

Scenes of the week from around Greencroft

Roadside stop in LaGrange County

This is a go-to roadside fruit and vegetable stand in the hamlet of Mongo in LaGrange County. On Friday we got tomatoes, cucumbers and a small watermelon. Honor system to weigh and pay. The sign on the building notes: VILLAGE JUSTICE OF PEACE 1881-1921.

From our walk today

Sandhill cranes in what had been a wheat field between Greencroft and Goshen College.

Relish the past, engage the present

As I look back, I look forward to creating new favorite getaways. We’re making plans (changeable of course) to fly, float, drive or walk away on some mini- or maxi-, awe-inspiring vacations, even if some of them are written in books or present themselves as a day outing. Planning and going bolsters one’s sense of adventure, curiosity, enjoyment and engagement beyond the familiar. One returns home with fresh eyes. Up and away!

-John

4 thoughts on “Make vacations fun again

  1. Summer memories recalled were of hot days helping mom with the huge garden, podding bushels of peas under the shade tree among many other things and then a huge vacation at summer’s end, in the eyes of a child, like you said a fun filled day at the beach. How glorious that “vacation” was after all the work involved growing up on a farm. Remember the taste of the home made root beer that quenched your thirst on a hot summer day?
    Kaye

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    1. Wonderful memories, Kaye. Lots of work and almost endless supply of goodness for another winter and spring from the basement larder. Homemade root beer to boot. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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    1. Good memories, Laurene, of the times you visited us in Indiana and Florida and we in your homes back home. Blessings!

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