Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Summer Trips

Dad, Mom, Adam, & Sheryl @ Kit Carson home in Taos, NM
Summer 1981
I recently entered a writing contest and was asked to relate "travel" and my writing to the contest. It brought back memories of traveling with my family in the early '80s when we took several month long vacations across America each summer. My father was an art professor at a local college and he would have off from June till September.This left 3 months to do my mother's "honey do list", gardening, or planning our annual summer road trip.

We would head west through Pennsylvania with our first stop being somewhere right across the border in Ohio. It never felt like we were on vacation until we traveled through the 300 plus miles of "Pennsee."    From there, we would continue either towards my grandparents' home in Pueblo, Colorado or our cousins' cattle ranch in South Dakota.

Driving through miles and miles of the Midwest, I would rest my head on the car door just gazing out at the fields of the Great Plains. Farms, small towns, and the occasional odd tourist attraction would pass by silently.  I remember seeing attractions such as a corn palace, oversized fiberglass dinosaurs, petrified "forests", and ghost towns. Each was equally odd yet perfectly representative of kitschy Americana.

Adam, Grandpa Haynes, Dad, Sheryl, and myself in Pueblo, CO.
Love the cowboy hats!
Summer 1981
One trip driving through Missouri way off in the distance maybe 10 or so miles, we spied a small tornado which had spawned from a dark blue thundercloud. The dark color was jarring compared to the nearby golden wheat and blue skies immediately around us. As a child of 8 or 9, I had no concept of its size. I just knew it was large, ominous, and luckily moving slowly in the opposite direction. I was scared, asking my father if we would be alright. Dad said we would, and I believed him as every child should believe their father. My eyes were transfixed as it eventually disappeared into the horizon.

Mom feeding grapes to the roaming descendants of mining
donkeys in Cripple Creek, Colorado!
Summer 1981

It always intrigues me that certain memories from our childhood are so strongly ingrained in our psyche. I remember so many unique events from those trips:  Mom and Dad feeding grapes from our car to the wild donkeys in Cripple Creek, Colorado; picking a cactus flower for my Mom in New Mexico, emerging from the field covered in spines; arrowhead hunting with my family on the ranch in South Dakota; and walking one sultry evening down the River Walk in San Antonio with my family. I remember more of that than of the Alamo!

I could go on and on recounting these special times. You could say a part of me does live in the past but I see nothing wrong with that. In a way, these memories give me comfort and they also have helped ignite a passion for writing.

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