Saturday, January 31, 2009

When we (my brothers and I) were kids, we didn't take many family vacations. When it came time to take a trip, we became the Griswalds. Much planning went into the journey. Weeks in advance, Mom was on the phone, borrowing travel supplies from family and friends. When she wasn't talking, she was cooking. Hard boiled eggs. Baked potatoes. Fried Chicken. When she wasn't cooking, she was washing and cleaning. Ironing clothes. Packing bags. Buying new suitcases.

Dad was the transporation committee. He and my uncle would map out the trip in great detail. My uncle knew which roads were the best and which were under construction. There was no interstate highway system, so the route had to be planned in careful detail. You had to be careful not to get too far from the major highways. Fill up your tank when you get half-full. Check your tire pressure whenever you fill up. Make sure your spare is solid. Once, to go to the New York Worlds Fair, Dad even bought a station wagon, just like the Griswalds.

There were always family and friends to visit along the way, or college buddies Dad wanted to check up on. We always wound up staying the night. I found out grits in Maryland didn't taste like grits in Alabama.

Now I'm a grown man, and I realize the effort our parents put in to making sure we didn't get exposed to the injustice of not being able to sit in a restuarant or not being allowed to use a rest room because of the color of our skin.