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more about travelling with family

June 24, 2011
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I just came back to NM with Notah. He and Rachael have it arranged: they come and get me and R & M bring me back to Ohio. We had to make the trip in only three days this year since Notah couldn’t take more than two days off from work. It was definitely a speedy trip-not to mention the fact that Notah has a lead foot. We came from Columbus to Rolla, Missouri the first day, from Rolla to Amarillo, Texas the second. Had it not been for me I’m sure Notah would have finished the trip that day. It is only five hours to Albuquerque from Amarillo. But out of consideration for me he stopped. Besides we wanted to eat dinner at the Big Texan!

I thought how different the trip was, even though it was a quick one, from travelling with my Dad or my brother. I wrote elsewhere among the blogs about travelling to Arkansas with Mom and Dad to see Aunt Rene and Uncle Arthur. It involved travelling until everyone was dead tired and then finding the only available motel–usually a dingy dreary one that no one else had wanted to stay in.

Years and years later I made the same trip with my brother and discovered he had the same stupid rationale! We were coming back from Fort Smith—my brother, his wife, Jackie, Jole, Dessie and Richie-who was only about a year old, maybe not that. My kids were both teenagers and I was old enough to know better than listen to Buster.

The trip out was for Uncle Arthur and Aunt Rene’s 50th wedding anniversary. We had a nice trip out although my brother was driving my van and we didn’t stop until nine or nine thirty. It was at least a decent motel. And we got to Fort Smith around noon the next day. My brother insisted we make it in only two days. That’s hard to do with three kids under five, but we made it.

Coming home, my brother insisted that we do the trip in ONE day. We drove through to Illinois. I tried several times to get him to stop but he refused. He didn’t want to get home one day and then have to go back to work the very next day. Well duh. What did he think his wife was going to do with three fussy crabby babies while he took that day easy? What did he think I was going to do. What did he think Notah and Rachael were going to do–well school is about the same as work…

It was pretty late when he asked Notah to drive while he slept a while. Great! He laid down in the back of the van and spent the next hour grouching at two pre-schoolers who were too exhausted to sleep. Finally Jackie and Rachael squeezed Jole and Dessie in between them on the bench seat because he was being so nasty to them. Richie got passed back and forth between the two of them.

Notah drove until he was tired and when Richie, in typical tired baby behavior, threw himself backward into Rachael’s face smashing her lips against a mouthful of braces and making her nose bleed, I decided we would stop. I told Notah to pull into a motel and before my brother woke up enough to even realize the van had stopped I was inside getting us rooms. I put the whole thing on my credit card. Half way through registration, Buster came stomping in to the motel office wanting to know what I thought I was doing.

I said, “I’m getting us a room for the night. Everyone is exhausted and this drive-straight-through-thing is stupid.”

He told me that he wanted to get home tonight so he could ‘rest tomorrow.” Oh yeah. HE would rest, Jackie would spend the day chasing kids so he could rest! I was diplomatic but I told him that and said I had to go to work on Monday, too, and I would like to rest tomorrow, too, but not at the cost of three preschoolers and my kids being worn out and cranky.

“Who’s paying for all this?” he wanted to know. I told him I put it on my credit card even though I knew he had enough money to take care of his family.

“Well, just don’t expect one cent from me!” he said and turned around and stomped out. I never saw one cent from him either. He got his travel habits from Dad. He got his stingy attitude from Grandpa Elliott.

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The last time I traveled on along trip with dad a similar thing happened. We had a travel trailer with us that year… Having a travel trailer meant that we didn’t have to stop at a ‘real rest stop” but could simply pull off at a nice place, have lunch and rest a while. Yeah, Do you really believe that?

We would travel along—until we were all tired—and then Dad would start looking for a place to stop. My most distinct memory is of a road side rest area. It had nice trees and you could pull well off the road so it was almost like you were out in the country.

He pulled in and the kids unloaded with the dogs. He and they all went out in the grass and played under the trees. Guess where I went. Yep. Into the travel trailer to ‘get something to eat quick.” But the trailer was packed full-that was dad’s modus operandi when ever he traveled. So before I could ‘get something to eat quick’ I had to move all the junk. Then I had to pull out a pot to make canned soup and put together sandwiches.
Of course the canned soup had to be made with water from the thermos since there was NO water at the rest stop.

Wy the time the soup was hot, Dad was calling out ‘how long till we eat? we want to get going. We can’t spend all day here.” (Translate that: HE wants to get going and HE can’t spend the day here. I certainly wasn’t worried about it. )Fortunately, soup was hots so I called everyone in to eat.

Now Dad didn’t believe in disposable cups, etc. so we used real bowls and silverware, which of course had to be washed after everyone finished. Guess who had to do that—with water from the thermos heated on the little camp stove.

By the time I finished Dad was still calling, ‘Come on. We’ve all had time to rest. Let’s go!” Oh yeah? WHO rested? Not ME. That was my last camper trip with Dad. I refused to go in it again.

I loved him and sometimes I really miss him, but he did have his contrariness~

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