Memory Monday ~ More Vacation Memories…

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday


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!

June 2012, Alex, Anniversary, cookouts 060

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!”

July 4, 2010 St.Simon's Is 021

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!


100_1013enjoying the condo pool…

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!

July 2010(Helen) 049

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.

Helen Trip 2010 155a father-son game of corn hole, in the mountains of Helen (our cabin’s in the background) 

Helen Trip 2010 128

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 🙂



Published in: on January 12, 2015 at 10:47 am  Comments (8)  
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It’s All Over But The Unpacking…

Kathy and Ed...38 and counting

My husband and I recently returned from our  thirty-eighth wedding anniversary trip to the beach.  It was heavenly going to sleep to the sound of those ocean waves, and waking up to that beautiful ocean view each morning.  Oh, if I could only bring that view home with me!

  As always, we had a nice time, but it was over way too quickly!  Also, as usual, the suitcases are still sitting around waiting to be unpacked…I hate unpacking!  I’ll get around to unpacking them, eventually…It usually takes me a couple of days to “get over” a trip.

We stayed pretty busy the entire time between going down to the beach, eating, going to Wal-mart, eating, visiting historic downtown Fernandina, eating, going to K-mart, sleeping, going back to the beach…I’m sure you get the idea…All of our vacation trips always include lots of shopping!

Clint, Brandy, and Madison resting in historic Fernandina

All of our family left on Father’s Day to come back home, while Ed and I stayed behind one more night.  It was so sad when everyone left–the condo was way too quiet!  After having seven people scrambling for the bathroom or a place to sit, suddenly it was very lonely.  Everytime I walked by the empty bedroom, I got sad–I felt the “empty nest syndrome” all over again.  I’m so glad that some of our children were able to join us for a while.  It was fun.

Brad and Jenn pose with pirate in historic Fernandina

Ed and I decided to go to the movies on Father’s Day, after everyone left.  I’m a big fan of both of the previous Toy Story movies, and I wanted to see Toy Story 3.  The last time that I went to see a 3D movie was about 20 years ago, and I got nauseated from the sensation.  This time I took some motion sickness medication, and did fine–except for being a little bit drowsy. 

 Ed and I don’t go to the movies much, and I almost died when it cost us twenty-one dollars to get in the theater!  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, so I guess it was worth it.  The 3D effect was a neat addition, too.  Thank goodness our children are all grown…I’d hate to have to buy tickets for a family of five these days!  I did notice some parents handing out smuggled in drinks and popcorn though, and I understand why!  I’m sure they were broke after buying the movie tickets.

We had a lively bunch of neighbors during our vacation.  There was a house next door to our condo, and there must have been at least twenty-five guests of varying ages staying there at any given time.  It took three large tents on the beach to accommodate all of them.  They provided free entertainment the entire time they were there.  We watched them play Bocce, a game played with lots of heavy balls , and then a bean bag tossing game called Corn Holing.  I’d never seen either game before, but both games looked  fun. 

A brand new bunch of people checked in when the first bunch checked out,  and on the last evening we watched as they caught several fish while “surf fishing”.  It was never a dull moment next-door.  I kept wondering where all of those people slept!

Our granddaughter, Madison, absolutely loved the beach on this trip.  She couldn’t get enough of it!  My youngest son, Brad, had an inflatable boat, and he took Madison riding  in the surf.

Brad and Maddie floating in ocean...

  She loved it–even when a wave knocked her out of it once.  She sputtered, and cried for a minute or two, then was ready to ride again…She liked the sand, too, but the water was her favorite. 

Maddie enjoying her sand toys...

That pretty much sums up our little “get away”, except for my picture-taking adventures.  I recently got a new camera, and was anxious to try it out all around the beach.  The pictures in this post were made with my new camera.  I’m already looking forward to trying it out again in the mountains of north Georgia in July…

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm  Comments (6)  

A Miserable Vacation…

Have you ever had one of those vacations that was so bad that you sort of wished you’d stayed home?  We only had one of those in all our years of taking family vacations.

It was the summer of 1988, and it was the month of June.  We always took our first week of vacation on or close to the week of June 18, because that is our wedding anniversary. 

 That year we  planned a trip to Clark Hill Lake.  We were hesitant to pull our camper that far, it was a 3 hour trip up in the steep Georgia hills around Augusta, and we didn’t know how “the tank” would do pulling the camper up those hills.  So we bought a two-room tent, some air mattresses, and decided to “rough it”.

We knew that we were in trouble when our middle child, Brett, fell off my aunt’s bed and broke his arm–just a couple of days before we were scheduled to leave!  He had a pretty nasty break of his forearm, and had a cast that included his elbow.  We debated a little about whether to cancel our trip or not, but decided to make the journey anyway.

I”ve written on here before about “the tank”, our old Suburban truck.  Well, we loaded “the tank” just as full of stuff as it could possible be!  Believe me, my husband knows how to pack, and I’m telling you that baby was about to burst at the seams!  In addition to all of the stuff inside of “the tank”, we had several bicycles tied on a rack on the back of “the tank”!  We were loaded to the max!

We made the trip to the lake fine.  We stopped about half-way through the trip,  and shopped a while at Wal-mart.  That was another family tradition back then–we had to stop at all Wal-marts along the way.  As far as I was concerned, they were part of the tourist attractions along the way!  Our children still laugh about that even now…

It took some a lot of effort and sweat on the part of my husband, but he eventually got that stupid tent up.  I will tell you that he grunted and grumbled a bit in the process!  We unloaded “the tank”, blew up our beds, and were all set to have a good time…then Brett began to cry with his broken arm.

Poor Brett, there he was–stranded outdoors in the heat, with a swollen and throbbing broken arm.  We eneded up making a contraption to tie his arm up in the air to relieve the swelling and pain.  He spent a good bit of the vacation stretched out in a lawn chair, with his arm in the air…we spent a good bit of the vacation listening to him moan.

Now you would think that the broken arm was enough to deal with, but no…things got worse.  One night it decided to rain!  It didn’t just rain, it poured!  Water got into our tent through the seams because we’d never heard of seam sealer!  On the outside of the tent, it looked like a pond all around us!  The campsites are built up from the rest of the ground, but it rained so hard that water actually stood on the camping pad.

We toughed it out, and made the best of a  bad situation.  It wasn’t all bad.  We wrapped and taped a trash bag over Brett’s cast, and let him get into the lake a little bit.  Our tent and bedding dried out eventually!  By the time we were getting ready to come home, Brett’s arm was actually beginning to feel better.

these pictures tell the story...

I laugh every time I look at this page in my scrapbook, and remember that miserable camping trip.  Outdoor fun? Ha Ha  Do you have a miserable vacation story to share?  I’d love to hear it!  Leave me a comment, and share.

Published in: on June 8, 2010 at 9:42 am  Comments (3)