I recently saw this picture of a family driving together on a motor cycle:
The baby in a bucket is obviously fake, but it gave me a flash back:
When I was a kid, we went on a few vacations. Nothing fancy, but they were still vacations. We went south to visit my dad’s family, and sometimes we would hit some other places on the way there or back. The Smokies or King’s Island, that kind of thing. We usually had enough money to get in the door and drink out of whatever water fountains we could find. Dad would do everything in his power to direct us away from gift shops and food stands.
By the time I was six or seven, my oldest sister had passed away and my oldest brother was on his own. Which still left four kids at home. Four little kids who had to fit in a car with two parents and a lot of luggage. We didn’t have a station wagon or a mini van. Did they even make mini vans back then? What we had was as big a car as my dad could find and afford. Dad packed the trunk as tight as he could and we headed out.
Seat belts? They were safely tucked up into the long bench seat, out of our way. People didn’t wear them back then. I didn’t wear a seat belt until I was in my twenties. And air conditioning? That was for rich people. My parents didn’t even get air in their house until long after I moved out.
I distinctly remember one trip, driving at night to avoid traffic. We all slept while dad drove. My younger brother was in the front between mom and dad, and I was on the floor of the back seat, with my older brother and my sister sharing the seat. I was slumped over the hump on the floor that covered the drive shaft, hearing and feeling the wheels on the road, humming beneath me. Somehow it was soothing.
It was good when we were asleep, because when we were awake, someone was usually fighting. It was mostly my older brother and younger sister, but we all got into the action. It’s what happens when you pack people into a car like sardines.
Now I have my own family. We have a mini van which, no matter what anyone tells you, is the greatest vehicle ever created by mankind. We only have three kids, but we’re still packed like sardines when we go on a trip. The kids manage to fill every square inch of the van. And they manage to fight about pretty much everything. But we have a great time, just like back in the day.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
But we do make them wear those newfangled seat belt thingamajimminies.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011