POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.


“National Lampoon’s Vacation” depicted the family vacation from hell. We all have stories about family getaways, some memorable; some not so.


Part 11: Road Trip – Did your family go on vacations? Tell us about one of your favorite trips. A jaunt to the local beach could have engrained lasting memories. Even a traveling horror story of your own may stay with you forever. Write about your vacation. Don’t make me turn this car around!


AS I RECALL (haibun)

Dad was a teacher. Mom was a homemaker, in the truest sense. Their bank account held no vacation funds, I’m certain. They allowed me to accompany my heart-rich, generous aunt and uncle and their kids on vacations of their own. My little home-body heart was comfortable on the road with my extended family, who felt more like siblings than cousins to my sister and me. I got to experience the ocean in Nahant, Longwood Gardens, Hershey, and Gettysburg, PA., and cherry blossom season in Washington D.C. I have memories of Aunt Peg trying to convince a Whitehouse guard that I was Jackie Kennedy’s niece. Though truth-be-told, I’m not entirely certain that is my own memory, or if it simply became real to me as family reminisced and laughed through the years. But even reminiscing about memories that are not truly ours makes for grand remembrance, doesn’t it? Funny how what I love to look back on is not where we went, or what we saw … it is simply time spent with those I love … those who returned to life right across the street from us when our vacations were done.

to reminisce
to journey in my mind
where love leads



Uncle Harry was a sailor; a submariner with tales to tell. Our families would alternate visits from one summer to the next. Dad’s blue Plymouth Belvedere wagon was the magic carpet that swept the eight of us (Mom, Dad and six kids) up to Kittery, Maine every other year. The following summer Harry and my Aunt Marianne would bring their six kids home to Lackawanna. Sixteen of us cramped into whichever house served as accommodations.  Sometimes relations would strain toward the end of even the happiest of visits, but it was what it was. The cousins paired up closely in age and we played, fought, talked, shared, loved and cried when the time came to return home. Did I mention Harry lived on Love Street? No matter how our visits had gone, we always hated to leave Love behind.

My brother Ken was a sailor; a submariner with tales to tell. Serving at the same base, the place brought back memories and afforded us a chance to return to Love once more in our adulthood. It is equally heart warming and sad to be one of your own memories.

Embers of love live
in the hearth of kith and kin;
always glows within.

Copyright ©  Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

NOTE: Marie and I both wrote our pieces as a Haibun. Coincidentally, it is NOT a requirement of this prompt! Strange things happen when you share the same brain! Walt.

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143 thoughts on “ROAD TRIP – PROMPT #76

  1. Marie and Walt, I love both your poems! Marie, I have tons of cousins too and we are all pretty close with them.
    Here goes my try:

    Family Camp

    My favorite vacation spot of all
    Was in beautiful Grant’s Pass, Oregon.
    Each year we’d go down and camp for a few days
    At Indian Mary Park.
    Our friends and family all came along;
    We all camped in tents and R V’s
    Hot cocoa greeted me each day at breakfast,
    Grandma loved to make it.
    I’d hang out with friends all day, play volleyball
    And swim in the beautiful river,
    Sit by the campfire at dusk,
    And listen to funny stories;
    Or wander to other people’s fires
    And stay practically all night.
    Now it’s nothing but a wonderful memory,
    Which stirs up wistful smiles of longing
    As I remember those wonderful days
    In beautiful Grant’s Pass, Oregon.

  2. Wish I’d noticed the haibun before I wrote. An excellent idea, oh 2, 2, 2 minds like 1.

    The Door to Adventure

    We did not ever explore the Grand Canyon,
    or go, and bring back a hundred slides from
    Canada, or Washington, D.C. Some summers
    we’d drive to a SeaBee reunion for a weekend,
    but there were never family vacations. What
    we did, instead, when I was old enough,
    was to fish, going first to my grandmother’s.
    The grownups would talk by the light of one
    hanging bulb, and I would read Farm Living,
    and frayed old Reader’s Digests, then sleep.

    This is hard to convey, but being wakened
    in the deepest night, to dress and go to the car
    was more exciting than Christmas, and I would
    stand in the starlight, no sounds but my parents
    moving downstairs, and maybe a night bird
    or barking fox. And I would shiver so hard
    you would think I would come apart, or that
    my chattering teeth would break. And you might
    think I was cold but, no, it was the night
    and the silver stars, and the not knowing.

  3. Where We’d Been

    Sitting in the way back
    of the blue Plymouth station wagon
    facing where we’d been
    I can still hear my sister say,
    “Are we there yet?”

    By Michael Grove

  4. Pingback: Reigning in the Memory of, “Road-trip.” « Metaphors and Smiles

  5. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Meg and Walt, loved both!

  6. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Pacific Coast Highway

    …always up or down the Pacific Coast Highway… in a big station wagon, every summer. Cute, new vacation clothes and sandals. No preplanned motels; Dad always stopped at each one to catch the “vibe” of the place–to feel its safety factor– they were always nice, safe, and very clean–some with pools, some without. Mom always packed great traveling food and snacks, and, for a special treat, we ate at McDonalds, Taco Bell, or KFC. Sometimes we went to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm; the beaches of San Diego, Oxnard, Ventura to visit relatives; Port Hueneme Grunion with Aunt/Uncle and cousins… San Francisco one year– sourdough bread pulled from the loaf with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese and The Jackson 5 singing, “I’ll Be There” on KFRC radio, while we drove thru a misty, foggy dusk. Another year, Dad bought a new Chrysler Cordoba (much less roomy than our station wagons) and we drove over to Monterey, CA, with Bill Withers singing, “Lean on Me”, and reminders of scenes from Clint Eastwood’s very scary movie, “Play Misty for Me”. Out on the Wharf that day, the organ-grinder’s monkey danced, played, and held out its little tin cup to us tourists on our way over to souvenir shops, and the yummy aromas coming from the resturants’ kitchens… Once, up to Coos Bay, Oregon, and then coming home by way of the giant Redwood tree park—I can still smell the redwoods… Good memories! After all of our trips, we always came home a few days early, so that we could all rest up from our vacation and then resume our daily routines.

  7. Laurie Kolp on said:

    Memories of Estes Park, Colorado

    We climbed the highest boulders
    as if we were mountain royalty
    you the king, me the queen
    (in reality, first cousins)

    but we pretended, had a wedding
    amongst the chipmunks and rabbits
    and our family thought it funny
    while deep down I wished it true.

    We fished in creeks with homemade poles-
    fathers with their kids beneath blue skies
    while mothers shopped window to window,
    vowed to bring us back the very next day.

    Such a swanky part of town
    like I’d only seen in movies,
    but the parade, I was used to
    living in New Orleans at the time.

    The picnic in Devil’s Gulch,
    KFC inside the car a sweet aroma
    as rain pelted the windshield-
    but, at least we were there!

    Then the last day, the accident
    running up the stairs I fell
    knocked out four of my front teeth-
    after all that mountain climbing.

    A miserable drive home, cramped
    all the way to San Antonio
    with ice packs on my swollen mouth
    lots of soup and mashed potatoes.

    Something to laugh about now
    this trip with extended family, a joy
    because your drinking went unnoticed
    the mountain swerves mere curves of fun.


    We were a large family
    on a teacher’s salary.
    We never went on vacation.
    But the year after my grandfather died,
    we went to see my gramdmother in Florida
    in the summer of 1961.

    We drove from northern Ohio
    to Pompano Beach in a 1955 Chevy.
    There was no air conditioning,
    no seat belts, and both parents smoked.
    We three kids ages 8, 5, and 4,
    sat in the back fighting over sitting by the window.

    It took 3 days to get there.
    My mother planned ahead,
    wrapping numerous little gifts
    in color coded paper
    that we could open after
    taking a nap or sitting quietly.

    The gifts helped to pass the time:
    packs of gum, puzzles, books, cards,
    candy, jokes, snacks, toys.
    We played what games small children can,
    and drove our parents crazy.

    We learned a lot on that trip:
    My brother could fit on the shelf in the back window,
    The Carolinas had beautiful mountains,
    The Smokeys are treacherous,
    My brother gets carsick,
    And Georgia has delicious orange juice.

    We spend almost a month in Florida,
    tasting salt water for the first time,
    seeing alligators, snakes, and some really big bugs.
    It was hot all the time and rained at 4:00 every afternoon.
    We went to swamps and aquariums,
    and spent lots of time with grandma.

    We never took another vacation.
    More kids were born, Dad worked summers
    and money was always tight.
    But that vacation was so huge, so memorable,
    that I never really needed another one.
    I had every experience I could imagine on that one trip.

    • janeshlensky on said:

      Who says once is not enough? This brought back so many memories of the exotic critters we saw on vacation. Like your folks, we only went on a vacation four times in my memory, mostly when my dad wanted to go fishing and leave us to our own devices anyway, but those were so good for our imaginations, as yours was for you. Love your poem.

    • Laurie Kolp on said:

      Sounds delightful… our trip to Estes Park was the only big vacation we ever took (10 whole days). We mostly went to the beach.

    • Marjory M thompson on said:

      Wonderful to have so much to pack into one trip then keep for memories over the years.

    • What a cool mother.

    • You have an amazing memory of that trip. What a special family time.

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Delightful and fun!!! Your rain at 4:00pm brought me back to Navy bootcamp in Orlando, FL — heat and humidity!

    • Your mom, Linda…Genius!!

      “wrapping numerous little gifts
      in color coded paper
      that we could open after
      taking a nap or sitting quietly”

      Such an excellent idea!!

      I’m going to put this in my memory bank if we ever go any where far..we don’t vacation though.

      Your poem is wonderful, Linda!!

  9. Beach Trip

    My father loaded the car with food,
    fishing gear, bedding, towels,
    snacks, beach chairs, suitcases,
    strapped us in, Mama plus one of us
    up front with him, the rest squeezed
    into the back seat, squirming and slapping
    at one another until he said,
    “You kids settle down”
    in that voice we never failed to hear.

    Sometimes we even brought a friend
    to join our family of seven, forcing
    another car to caravan behind us
    one of us liberated from the family
    car and riding with Uncle Shorty,
    who was neither our uncle nor short,
    but a fine fishing buddy and tall as a tree.

    Mapless, a man with a mission,
    my father settled us in with a vat
    of Kool-Aid the size of a small child
    but refused to stop except for gas
    thus instilling in us Adam’s dilemma
    with fruit in paradise, delicious
    in the moment, but treacherous
    in the outcome. Each child learned
    to distinguish want and need.
    We developed camel bladders, our
    tissues firm yet liquid, on vacation.

    We were perpetually lost, the roads
    that he knew were absolutely right,
    twisting through an unknown landscape
    circling on themselves—lost with a man
    who would not ask for directions, once
    following a man into his driveway
    because “he looks like he knows
    where he’s going.” He did. Home.
    I wish we had asked this man
    to accompany us to the beach.

    There was generally weeping involved
    in any trip to the beach, weary,
    sticky, sleepless misery wondering
    when, o god of vacationing children,
    would we be there, walking wet sand
    our eyes peeled for perfect shells,
    blue water crashing its invitation
    to come on, come in, tobacco fields
    and cows the last thing on our minds.
    The road trip raced from our brains
    when we smelled the sea, so ready
    were we to ride the waves,
    laugh too loud, and burrow
    into sand, playing joyous children
    until we got home.

  10. “We developed camel bladders, our
    tissues firm yet liquid, on vacation.” Great lines, and I share your experiences. Wonderful writing, Jane.

  11. Marjory M thompson on said:

    It was when we left our beloved island that I had my first chance to travel more than a few miles from home. We stayed for a short time with relatives is Washington, then headed to LA, CA with a stop-over at Grandma’s as mom went on to LA to find a job and housing. One sister stayed in WA with relatives until school started in the fall. Chose this trip because I stopped reading the prompt at the name “ROAD TRIP”. We never ‘vacationed’ until after my mom remarried a few years later.

    Year 1951 (Alouetta Form)

    We are set to go,
    how far I don’t know.
    Trip in old Model –T Ford.
    Everything packed and on board,
    last hugs and good-bye
    slipped a five on sly.
    Trusting trip we can afford.

    Mom with two daughters
    Head for grandmother’s.
    From Seattle we turn south,
    Over bridge near river’s mouth.
    Leave city and reach
    wide expanse of beach,
    speculate on mermaid myth.

    When we leave the coast
    hot sun makes us roast,
    slowly, upward the road climbs
    round wide mountain bend it winds.
    Dodge sun and shadows
    as fresh soft wind blows.
    Old Ford engine sputters, stops.

    Mom must now decide
    to try thumbing ride.
    Sis and I explore and play.
    We have adventurous day.
    Near that old dead Ford
    tall woods we explored,
    Careful not too far to stray.

    Mom’s thumb brings her luck
    She comes with tow truck.
    Back down mountain road we wind
    Where a motel we must find.
    Hope Ford can be fixed,
    mom is feeling jinxed.
    What will old mechanic find?

    Then to road return,
    hope no more concern.
    Reach our Grandma’s hill top shack
    by old gold mine that’s gone slack.
    Beside a fast creek
    where small fish we seek,
    then build dam with rocks we stack.

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Wow, incredible creation from your road trip, M!!! 🙂 !

    • Your rhyme carried me right along with you…thank you, Marjory!! 🙂

    • Marjory M Thompson (MMT) on said:


      Our family camped before RV time
      In green tents and sleep bags
      Hoping that in the middle of the night
      Rocks would not be found under our bed.
      Cooking over a campfire or kerosene stove,
      Lanterns hung in tree or set on a folding table.
      We sat on logs, rock or maybe a folding stool.
      Lugged water by bucket from an area spigot.
      And privies (shall we say) were primitive.
      We snickered at the folk
      Who claimed that they were campers
      Yet cooked, ate and slept
      In ‘tin houses’ pulled in on wheels.

      Daytime we hiked on trails of our own making,
      Gathered wood for the campfire,
      Built rock dams across streams, and
      Floated branch-boats off to make-believe shores.
      We met and played ball with
      Campers we never met before (or since)
      Discovered new friendships and puppy love and
      Made promises to ‘forever’ exchange letters.
      As the day ended,
      We sat around the campfire
      Singing fun songs, sharing stories,
      Roasting marshmallows for Sa’mores
      And hearing spooky tales
      Under the night sky ablaze with stars.

      Then we washed and warmed
      Our feet in heated water
      Before scurrying off to the sleeping bags
      To whisper and giggle in the night.
      In the morning we were awakened
      By smells of the campfire and frying bacon
      Tempting us to leave our cozy beds,
      But we lingered until …
      The call of the privy could not be ignored.
      And we struggled into our clothes
      While still wrapped in our sleeping bag.
      The air warm, crisp, and fresh,
      Food tasted its very best.
      Learning, sharing, growing,
      New things to discover, smell, see,
      The quietness, the sounds, the sights
      And the feel of Mother Nature.

  12. Another World

    Each summer, the seven of us packed into a station wagon
    with our things under an upside-down row boat on top,
    and snacks and bread bags full of sandwiches in a metal cooler
    and we’d escape like refugees in the middle of the night.
    The youngest squeezed between our parents in the front
    while the older four stuffed into the back leaning our heads
    on each other’s shoulders one way until one of us would say,
    “Lean!” and we’d switch and lean the other way.
    On the way to Delaware, from Pennsylvania,
    we’d always tell our parents to wake us up
    when we crossed the Bay Bridge. They never did.
    I wondered why until I was a parent myself.
    We arrived at the cabins in Laurel, Delaware
    as the day dawned. They faced a sandy area
    and then the lake with docks, boats and a swimming beach.
    For a week we lived in a different world from trees and hills,
    having the time of our lives: swimming, fishing,
    playing hide and seek with locals and other vacationers.
    We’d also go to the ocean and sun burn despite Mom’s best efforts.
    Then we’d return home where it looked strange, grassy and beachless.

  13. Marjory M thompson on said:

    Neat memories –

    As I’ve read about trips and vacations, I think many familes were five or more members and a station wagon was an essensial part of family movement. Looking around today I still see the faithful family-station wagon – just a bit different shape with fancy names. 🙂 Providing memories for our kids and grandkids.

  14. Unimproved Road

    Adventures require less than ideal conditions.
    The most direct route to Canyonlands
    National Park was an unimproved road.

    Rugged red mountains surrounded us.
    The road’s rocks were smaller but just
    as red. Where was John Wayne?

    The borrowed Oldsmobile bounced
    as Elizabeth restrained its errant wheels,
    willing them to obey. What had she done?

    A four by four emerged from the park.
    Its driver warned of a difficult ride ahead,
    but was returning easier? Elizabeth thought not.

    We passed no one as the car crept along
    the park road with no protective railing
    between us and the Canyon below.

    When we stopped for some gas we
    saw a sign which said: “God forgives;
    mountains don’t. We agreed.

  15. Emergency

    Ford Galaxy
    Slammed Door
    Doctor’s office
    Big bandage on middle sister’s toe
    Oldest sister feeling guilty for the rest of her life.

  16. Mother and daughter
    Ten days, three thousand miles
    Northwest odyssey in an Odyssey

  17. The Road Much Traveled

    Family vacation spots were pretty much within a 300 mile radius of the route from my little town in Pennsylvania to an even smaller town in Tennessee. This, because my grandparent’s house was generally our vacation destination. Other stops were strategically planned, (within reason), along the way.
    An only child, vacation travel was…quiet!
    When I was young, I would say to my parents, “If you hear me talking back here, I’m just talking to my friends.” and proceed to prop my doll’s heads just above the top of the backseat, hoping others on the road would think there were more children in the car.
    I practiced magic tricks, listened to music on my cassette player,
    recorded weather reports (guess I was destined for radio),
    shuffled cards (endlessly, until they were mysteriously left behind in a hotel), and tried to read, but that always made me feel sick.
    Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, Luray Caverns,
    Mammoth Cave, Skyline Drive, My Old Kentucky Home, Hershey Park,
    Niagara Falls (not exactly heading south), the Football Hall of Fame,
    and other detours that beckoned as we drove by, made the list.
    When I was 16, my dad decided to let me drive for a stretch of road
    with the instructions, “wake me up before Cincinnati”. Mom and I waited
    too long and before we knew it, Dad’s first (and last) nap while traveling,
    ended with me taking the curves on I-71 through the heart of Cincinnati.
    We laughed….later!
    My last trip with my parents on the familiar route was in 2004.
    Again, just the three of us. But this wasn’t a vacation; it was to attend
    my grandfather’s funeral. We didn’t take any “side trips” that time,
    but we certainly took a journey down memory lane.

    No matter the size
    vacations with fam-i-ly
    are always a trip.

    © KED 2012

  18. Marjory M thompson on said:

    Just this past week, two of my sisters, our hubbies, my son, and I spent a week on the Oregon coast. One of my goals was to build a sand castle…

    SANDCASTLE – Oct 2012
    Two way Etheree…..

    build sandcastle
    set on sandy knoll
    just beyond the tide’s reach.
    Strong dike can protect castle
    from advancing tide waves that
    surge forward, but leave sand dike unscarred.
    Sandcastle drying in steady beach wind
    that blows though afternoon, night and morn.
    Two high tides can’t breach solid dike
    ringing sandcastle with its
    red banner flapping free.
    New tide advances,
    flows o’r dike to
    fill the moat.

  19. Marian Veverka on said:

    Our souvenirs from those old Kentucky hills

    When the foothills of the Appalachians
    Appeared in the windows of our Ford V8
    I could see tears welling up in my mother’s eyes.

    My father, meanwhile muttered curses as
    He tried to navigate the curves and the ups
    And downs of that beautiful scenery.

    When we landed “down home” my mother’s
    Voice suddenly took on the accent of our
    Kentucky kin – some words becoming almost

    My father would get even by speak with a fake
    Germanic accent, slashing his “W’s:” turning
    Them into “V’s”

    I had a choice and I chose to speak with a
    Made-up accent all my own.

    When we returned to Cleveland, mother’s
    Soft southern vowels would linger for a while.
    Father, meantime, would amuse his friends
    By speaking with a fake southern accent that
    Changed all the “W’s” to “V’s”

    His friends all laughed, but mother did not
    Think it was funny. No one laughed at my
    Made-up accent and mother told me that
    I sounded like a child who was a bit backwards.
    Maybe I was.

  20. Ottertail Lake

    Every year,
    one week in July,
    we would cram in the car,
    we would say goodbye,

    When we were young
    we swam like fish
    and played in the sand
    only stopping for food in a dish;

    Pinball machines in the lodge
    slamming screen doors
    that you tried to dodge;

    Across the road at the local bait shop,
    comic books – Archie, Super Heroes and Ghouls
    and a double-layered sugar lollipop
    and no school rules!

    Speed boat on the lake,
    learning to ski
    and that first double-take…
    which led to him and me.

    Those stolen kisses
    and sneaking off at night
    getting yelled yet
    for giving your parents a fright!

    Summer vacations can’t be beat,
    I wish I could put them on repeat!
    I wish I could put them on repeat,
    Summer vacations can’t be beat!

  21. Please Keep Your Seat Belt Buckled At All Times

    Taking the memoir journey
    has proved an unexpectedly rough road-trip
    With some piercing insights rustling to the fore
    and exploding with unbearable ease
    From beneath a brittle crust
    long constructed around my psyche

    However recalling actual travels
    with my family
    —after circumstances necessitated the sale
    of our summer cottage—
    Those trips wear a patina, a charm that memory
    kindly gives to the past
    Sheathing those years as if protectively
    Like placing fine crystal in tissue
    before stowing it for safe-keeping

    In a dream, I am laying beneath a weeping
    willow weeping
    There is a bit of a wind blowing – no – not a wind
    A breeze – barely enough to move the long fronds
    of the willow; I am in a fever to keep from waking
    I know if I awake there will be no fixing anything
    No mending the past, no use in looking ahead…
    Did I mention taking the memoir journey has been
    an unexpectedly rough road trip?

    • Henrietta Choplin on said:

      Oh, Sharon… this is beautifully, painfully spoken… I especially loved: “…Those trips wear a patina, a charm that memory kindly gives to the past Sheathing those years as if protectively Like placing fine crystal in tissue before stowing it for safe-keeping…”

    • I agree with, Hen…and I love the idea in the same part that Hen mentioned. Beautifully, emotively written, Sharon!

  22. Pingback: Counting on a Vacation « Misky

  23. I’m going to try posting this again, just because I like things to look nice. 🙂

    Counting on a Vacation

    I’m all twisted and swaddled up in a sleeping bag in the back of our baby blue station wagon. A Comet it is, although its top speed under my dad’s heavy foot has nothing in common with its name … it does leave a long, lingering trail though – dark and thick and smelling of something belonging to the tar family.

    Twelve, thirteen, fourteen …

    I’m counting streetlights zooming by like flying saucers. I’m not sure which will get me first: the Russians coming or the Martians. I think the Martians are scarier because they’re green. I think Russians are red.

    Eighteen, nineteen …

    We left home in the middle of the night so Dad can go salmon fishing on a charter boat out of Westport. These vacations are no vacation. Dad has the vacation; he’s the only one who’s worked enough to earn a break, he says. We’re just along for the ride, stuffed like a sausage into a sleeping bag and told to quiet down and go to sleep.

    Twenty-nine. Thirty-four, thirty-eigh…. My eyes are feeling… A. Bit. Slee…

    I can keep my mouth shut but I sure can’t sleep. No way. Mom and Dad are murmuring syllables, muffled sounds that can’t get past the backseat, their words are all plugged up in the upholstery – like a stuffed up nose -all of those murmurings piling up like debris in the kink of a drain.

    Thirty-eight, thirty-nine …

    I’m blinking at every streetlight that flicks by in a streaking hurry to go nowhere. Strange that when you’re flat on your back in a sleeping bag that it feels like you’re going nowhere but the streetlights are rushing by like comets in a fast, frictionous burn.

    Fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two.

    I’m still counting streetlight flashing by, and now I’m trying to see how long I can hold my breath. The problem is that I can’t count two things at once so this game has turned out to be pretty stupid. Maybe I’ll wake up my sister. I’ll tell her what frictionous means.

    ~ Misky


    An excursion to FLA via Myrtle Beach. Thought we’d fly,
    We didn’t.
    Thought we’d rent a van,
    we didn’t.
    Thought we’d have clear sailing,
    we didn’t.
    Thought we’d share the driving,
    we didn’t.
    Thought we’d stop midway,
    we didn’t.
    Sixteen hours straight through to Myrtle,
    (I did).
    Thought we’d get there in time for check-in,
    we didn’t.
    Parked on the hotel lot and fell asleep.
    We didn’t think we’d ever make that trek again!

    We didn’t.

    **A BONUS: the trip that still nags my aching back! Heading to Ponte Vedra for wife’s cousin’s wedding. A stop in Myrtle Beach I just had to share.

  25. “What were they thinking?”

    The canvas tent was sun-bleached blue and bird-dropping white, sealed along the seams with latex glue, sprayed with water repellent, pin-holed with tics and spider legs. We swept it clean every night, unzipped the screens every morning to see Dad dip his razor into a pan of boiling water and soap, the bullfrogs humming a morning song, the campfire glowing with logs and ash. Instant oatmeal, hot-chocolate breakfast, pack and go. pack and go.

    Night after night, six of us clustered inside that movable cavern smelling of fish and campfire and dusk and kerosene and dew and Off, though the drone of mosquitoes was always in our ears, the creepy crawlies at the foot of our sleeping bags. Rolling, rolling, rolling, stopping at campgrounds through the Little House on the Prairie prairies, the state of a thousand lakes,

    through Anne Oakley land and Wyatt Earp, to the night we flooded out in the John the Baptist river. Four soggy kids, molding with sleep in our eyes packed in a frantic getaway to herds of buffalo, through Wyoming and a brush with death and a grizzly—little ashen girl, teeth-chattering with fright, grizzly bear breath down her back (an angel must have closed his

    mouth.) Pre-dawn escape to the highway and the music of truckers’ air horns, the click of the kicked-backed pebbles, the flashing of the center white lines ticking away the time to see Old Faithful and Morning Glory Pool and four huge presidents carved in a rock and a canyon grander than any ol’ picture. Pack and go, pack and go.

    Poor parents, poor Buick—both buckled to the stress in the Arizona boil, both steaming in an overheat, Buick brakes baked to death. Four kids in a sweaty argue. Parents questioning their sanity. We drink Mountain Dew at a service station hour after hour, picking at mosquito bites and bickering word bites remembering this as the best vacation ever.

  26. I love that your words display vividly the depth of your familial closeness….this statement, creatively rendered, is the true epitome of it, imo….So beautifully written, Marie!!!

    “Funny how what I love to look back on is not where we went, or what we saw … it is simply time spent with those I love … those who returned to life right across the street from us when our vacations were done.”

  27. You address so much in this haibun, Walt…amazing and emotive…well done my friend.

  28. claudsy on said:

    I’m late with everything this week, but I had to fill in this blank somehow.

    Poetic Bloomings 10-7-12 Prompt #76 Write a poem about a family trip.

    It began innocently enough. Mammoth Cave was my first family adventure. We wound our way down slippery wooden steps, through scantily illuminated rock galleries. Damp cold chilled my shorts-clad legs. Girls of twelve tend toward personal considerations before others, and I was no exception. Yet the wonder of things witnessed that day amid the small crowd of thrill-seekers and awestruck seniors stayed with me. My rising need to explore hidden places held private meaning. From that day, I found my private spelunking challenges throughout high school. The parents had made the introductions. They knew the risks as I did but did not restrict the activity when I chose to seek out the dark places beneath rock faces and into hillsides.

    One trip, one taste of depth
    Within Earth’s recesses,
    Color life’s pleasures.

  29. Expo ’67

    A little red leather diary
    With a lock
    And one key
    Held my travelogue
    A white
    Soon to be dust-covered
    Volvo station-wagon
    Held the four of us
    And pulled
    A one-wheeled
    Heilite tent trailer
    That unfolded into a circus tent
    It held our gear
    From Sacramento to
    Through Kansas and
    to DC
    With rain-delayed
    Fireworks at the Washington monument
    And disappointingly dirty
    New York City
    Where I expected
    Emerald City, instead
    And finally Montreal
    Where we played baseball
    French Canadians who
    Didn’t speak English
    But did speak fun and laughter
    The Exhibits?
    I remember the dome pavilion
    The Epcot symbol
    Like most things in
    It’s the journey that

  30. Vacation Remembrances

    Picnic day trip, meant
    from building
    packing cars with tubs of food,
    virgin marshmallows.

    Balancing on logs
    across stream,
    playing ball,
    some fights, some tears made better
    by food and laughter.

  31. Wow, I think I made it in just in time! I started writing this one a few weeks ago during the prompt about our favorite foods, but the added prompt of family vacation gave me the push I needed to finish it up. My first triquatrain as well, I thought the form would add to the light-hearted feeling I wanted in this poem. And yes, this is based on a very true story 🙂

    Spilling the Beans

    In November each year, family from far and near
    Would travel in their cars, vans, and trucks,
    From all across the nation for Thanksgiving vacation,
    A festive celebration deluxe.

    Back around ‘82, if my memory holds true,
    Aunt Rose was to keep us all fed,
    So she chose a meal with widespread appeal,
    A batch of brown beans with cornbread.

    It’s quite the trick to survive cooking for twenty-five,
    And Aunt Rose was well up to the mission.
    With a quite happy look, Aunt Rose set out to cook
    A warm pot of some down-home nutrition.

    So into the pot went the beans that she bought,
    But things didn’t quite look like her plan.
    “That just won’t be enough,” so she proceeded to stuff
    Four more pounds of brown beans in the pan.

    Now the beans that she bought to put into that pot
    Were beans that had never been soaked,
    And as most cooks should know, unsoaked beans tend to grow,
    So Aunt Rose stirred, waited, and hoped.

    To Aunt Rose’s surprise, right before her shocked eyes
    Those brown beans began to swell up.
    Her panic was showing as those beans just kept growing,
    Filling up all her bowls, pans, and cups.

    She borrowed containers from all of her neighbors,
    Seeking any support she could find
    To stem the great surge that began to emerge,
    A crisis of the culinary kind.

    Aunt Rose needed the means to dispose of those beans,
    And the family clan seemed heaven-sent;
    Feeding our brood took a whole lot of food
    So straight into Bean-land we went.

    We ate beans in the morning; even with forewarning
    The pairing still came a shock.
    Lord knows we weren’t ready for beans with spaghetti.
    We ate those brown beans ‘round the clock.

    Beans on buttered toast, beans served with pot roast,
    Beans every which way we could fashion.
    Bean salad and mash, bean burritos and hash,
    Just the sight of more beans left us ashen.

    Now the point of this tale is not to regale
    Of the need for attentive bean soaking,
    But to honor Aunt Rose despite her cooking woes,
    And to make up for the thirty years of joking.

  32. Pingback: PART 11 – Road Trip | Two Voices, One Song

  33. Pingback: Making History | echoes from the silence

  34. Vacation

    When growing up we were so very poor
    We rarely traveled beyond the next town
    That in itself was a treat for me
    ‘Cause even short trips had new things to see
    New things to see was a treat for me

    Once a year we’d all pile in the car
    40 miles north for our Christmas reunion
    Aunts, uncles, cousins; all in one place
    Everyone happy and stuffing their face
    Stuffing their face all in one place

    Summer vacations were spent close to home
    Baseball, football and basketball with friends
    Evenings with family, playing games and stuff
    Escaped into stories, couldn’t get enough
    Couldn’t get enough playing games and stuff

    Outside of our world, as small as it was
    A big world waited, but we didn’t care
    Life was so full with family and friends
    The big world could wait; ‘twas our time to spend
    ‘Twas our time to spend with family and friends

    (C) 2013 Earl Parsons

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