Once again, it’s Monday, and time to join Judy @ Retired-Not-Tired for more memories. This week we’re continuing our travels down the road entitled More Vacation Memories…
Last week, I wrote about our family vacations with the children, and how we bought a camper, and camped for two weeks, every summer, while the children were young. Some of my all-time favorite vacation memories are from those eight years of camping, but I have many other good vacation memories, as well.
One vacation habit Ed and I established, fairly early in our marriage, was scheduling our vacation during the week of our wedding anniversary. This meant, for several years, we celebrated our anniversary while on vacation with three children–in a camper! It was a ‘cozy’ celebration, but we didn’t mind. Ed and I also established the tradition of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken on every anniversary, because that’s what we ate for our first meal as husband and wife. So, no matter where we were, or what we were doing, we knew we’d be eating KFC on our anniversary night of the vacation! Good memories!
a recent anniversary picnic [alone]on the beach – notice the KFC boxes on the table!
After our children grew up and left the nest, Ed and I went on a couple of vacations by ourselves. At first, it was strange being by ourselves, after so many years of being surrounded by our children, but it was good to finally have time alone to reconnect with each other. We quickly adapted:)
The most memorable vacation trip that Ed and I ever went on, by ourselves, was a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2005. I booked a room for us in the historical section of Charleston, and we had a wonderful time exploring all that Charleston has to offer–and it has a lot! You could say that our Charleston trip was almost like our second honeymoon, but Ed and I never even took a first honeymoon!
me, at the hotel, before going sight-seeing in Charleston
Two or three years after the Charleston trip, Ed and I decided to go in together with our daughter and her family, and rent a condo at the beach together. All of us had so much fun on that vacation, we vowed we’d vacation together again! After that initial trip, a new tradition was born–vacationing with our grown children!
Anytime Ed and I rented a condo on the beach, we’d usually invite our children and families to come and join us. Often, our condo only had a couple of bedrooms and one bathroom, but we always made room for company. Our motto was “the more, the merrier!”
a family picnic, during one of our trips
One particularly memorable trip was when ten of us slept in a condo that had only one bedroom!!! Talk about ‘togetherness’, we had it going on!!! Some were on beds, some were on a futon, and still others were on air mattresses… Our oldest son swears that my son-in-law and I had a “snoring competition” going on all night! I guess it’s a good thing were both sleeping in the room away from everybody else! Ha!
Another time, Ed and I split the cost of a three bedroom, three bath condo, on Fernandina Beach, with our two oldest children and their families. The condo was huge and beautiful. Everybody had their own bedroom and bath, which was especially nice, since we had a baby and a three-year-old vacationing with us. (It also meant we couldn’t hear each other snoring!) The condo came with its own grill, and the men really enjoyed that, while the women and children enjoyed the pool!
just returning from a family vacation… and we all look tired!
The last time all of our family planned a vacation together was in 2010. It’s our most unforgettable trip of all–but not for any reason you could imagine.
One July, our grown children, and their families, along with Ed and me, decided to rent a cabin in the mountains of Helen, Georgia, for three days. Our youngest, Brad, hadn’t married Jennifer, yet, but they planned on coming on the family trip, as well. It took forever to find a cabin that all eight of us could agree on, but we finally settled on one–and, best of all, according to some, was the fact that the bedrooms were far apart!
traveling on our last family vacation together…
On the evening before our trip, everyone was packed and ready to leave on the six-hour journey, the following morning. Unfortunately, our telephone rang very early, on the morning of the trip, and it was bad news. It was our son, Brad, telling us that Jennifer’s mother had passed away, unexpectedly, during the night. We were all stunned with disbelief! How could this be? It was absolutely unbelievable that Jennifer’s mother’s heart had simply stopped beating, while she slept, and now she was gone!
Once the shock of the news sank in, our family had a decision to make. The cabin had already been paid for, and it was too late to get a refund. Everyone had already taken time off from their jobs. There wasn’t a thing we could do, if we stayed home and forfeited the money we’d spent. So, after much discussion, the rest of us decided to refund their part of the cost to Brad and Jennifer, then go ahead and make the trip to Helen without them. Needless to say, it wasn’t one of our better vacations, but we did the best we could under the circumstances. We stayed in constant contact with Brad and Jennifer, the entire time we were gone, and came back early so we could attend Jennifer’s mother’s funeral.
relaxing beside the mountain stream
Seeing the picture above reminds me of something I’d nearly forgotten. Some of us got an unexpected “bonus” from that trip to the mountains. Our son and I came home with a bad case of ‘red bugs’, apparently, from sitting on those rocks beside that mountain stream! Not a good souvenir to bring home!
We’ve all talked about planning another family vacation together, but, as of yet, we haven’t done so. Our oldest son, our daughter, and their families have taken a couple of trips together, but Ed and I have stayed behind, so far. You see, these days, Ed and I are pretty much stuck at home, caring for ten chickens, twelve aging cats (and that’s not even counting ‘Trouble’), one very old, nearly blind and deaf, dog, and 167 goldfish who share the pond in our yard! I guess, for now, it’s a good thing we have lots of vacation memories to sustain us 🙂