Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The summers of melt

My family took a 2-week trip together every summer, then my parents took a separate trip without us kids in the fall. My father would get out the map of the US, put the compass down on Iowa, then draw a circle and say, "We can go anywhere in that circle." We kids would then start to research different venues for vacation -- Pike's Peak, Canada, etc. We sent off for Chamber of Commerce info, tourist guides, etc. then finally we'd gather and 'vote' as a family.

One summer we decided to go to Sault Ste. Marie and swing back down to the States through Michigan, hop the ferry across Lake Michigan, and come home through Wisconsin, stopping in Chicago for a baseball game.

The trip was memorable for the ferry ride (everybody but Dad and me were sick as dogs), the bing cherries we ate (and spit the pits out the car window), and the game -- not because I'm a fan of baseball, but because I left my Instamatic camera in the back window of the car. When I came out, I found a melted camera. Do you know what melted film smells like? It isn't a happy smell. My Dad scraped the melted plastic off the back window and we proceeded on our way, car windows open.

My family still talks about our summer trips and how hot it always was -- one year my crayons melted in the car, another year I burned my feet when I got out and forgot to put my shoes on before stepping out of the car. I can't believe we drove, 5 in the car (yes, car, not SUV), for hours at a time without the radio on, just talking or reading or playing games. We always stayed at a hotel with a pool and we always stopped driving by 5:00 so Dad & Mom could have a cocktail (the booze carried in the trunk) and us kids could swim before dinner.

Summer ... I can feel it calling to me now.