In the last 10 days Jackie and I drove to Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and back home to Pine Ridge. Over 2800 miles. A lot of time in the car together. A lot of time for conversations and site seeing. (More on that later.)
During our drive Jackie asked what my favorite childhood vacation memory was. I shared of the time mom took us to Florida and Disney World the year it opened. But I was 7 and only remember it from pictures. I did have a great time when mom and Roy took us to Disney World in the camper. And I remember things like fishing with my brother Mark. Getting eaten alive by mosquitoes while sleeping in the car at the campground. And having the freedom and trust of my parents to explore the parks on my own.
The trip I remember most was with my family was a snowmobile trip to Cadilac Michigan. It was just mom, Roy, and me. It was great to be alone with them. I told Jackie about driving in the snow and having it come in on the defroster. I am sure it was only a few flakes but to my 12-year-old self it was a storm! I remember riding to bars and eating frozen pizza!
I also told her of some friends we met at the cabins almost dying from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
I shared with her one of my favorite stories of my stepfather. (I need to write a longer post on him and how he helped shape me.)
We were riding in the pine forest of northern Michigan. The trails were groomed to perfection. The weather was crisp and the snow fresh. The trees were covered in snow and the boughs of the pines sagged with the weight of the snow. It was beautiful.
Roy had a great sense of humor and enjoyed life. He decided to take advantage of the snow-covered branches to play a trick on me. He decided to reach up and slap a branch to cause snow to fall on me. Now you need to know that snowmobiles have a safety feature that stops the sled if you fall off. Roy connected the tether switch to his right glove so that he could stop without killing the sled. (The cord pulled off and killed the engine with the intent of stopping the sled if you fell off so you would not have to chase it.)
He reached up to slap a branch with his right hand.
As his hand went up, he let go of the gas.
As the hand started to slap the branch the tether card pulled and killed the engine of the sled stopping it in its tracks. As the sled slowed I bailed off the back of the sled. His hand hit the branch just as the sled stopped.
All the snow on the branch fell on him.
Up until he passed away, we would tell the story of the slap. Every time the story was told the snow got deeper. We would laugh every time we told it.
It is funny that this story is my favorite childhood vacation story. It is one of my favorite memories of Roy. It shows his sense of humor and his mischievousness. Later in life good friends would not allow us at the same table for dinner because we would get the whole group laughing to the point of them not being able to eat.
We also discussed all the places we have taken our kids. Either on a true vacation, a cruise, and a Disney trip, or with mission trips.
My hope is that you will be able to create memories with your kids.
God loves you and so do I.