As earlier posts have mentioned, my first flight ever was transcontinental to Italy. My mom argues with this statement, saying I flew as a newborn, but in my opinion doesn’t count if I can’t remember.
As a family that loves to travel, and travels often, this limits our transportation options to boats, trains, and cars. For most of my childhood we had a 35 foot 1987 Vogue Motorhome. That baby took us on a few cross country trips, one including the four of us, our beloved Labrador Retriever, Drake, Frank our evil cat, and a grandmother in her 70’s. It was a cramped space and I won’t say we didn’t drive each other crazy, but it created fond memories I won’t just carry into my later twenties, but stories I’ll eventually tell the kids and grandkids.
This Christmas my dad decided that he wanted to get a condo out in the Rocky Mountains for a ski-venture, so we are driving all the way out to Durango, Colorado. I personally am a fan of long car rides, I get to work on my stories, listen to music, think to myself, and just enjoy the traveling part of travel. The trek out there was not without pit-stops though. First on the list was the maternal side family Christmas party in the small town (it literally has one stoplight) of Odum, Georgia. Full of southern drawls, a missing Uncle that sent gifts from his “station”, relatives who are a little too nosy, spoiled grandchildren, my mom and best aunt being complete goofballs, and of course, the lady of the evening, my now 83-year-old grandmother spewing words of wisdom. The evening was full of Christmas cheer , a few sexist comments, and good Southern cooking. I did get a chance to go back to my southern roots and blow off some steam with a little target practice, and just enjoy the company of family. Watching little ones open presents is always fun, and though most of the family tries to avoid talking about their childhood, memories are still brought up. Every holiday at my Grandmama’s I learn a little bit more about my mother and her siblings that makes her, and them, just a little more amazing than I had originally thought.
The next day was full of driving and a late arrival to my Aunt and Uncle’s house on my dad’s side in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My Uncle-a former marine who has now let his beard grow out Uncle Si style- cooked a true Creole meal of gumbo, complete with fried okra, chicken, pork, and rice on the side. We sat around talking into the wee hours while listening to the crackle of scrub oak on the fire, while my little cousins watched a Christmas movie on TV.
Today has been a day for sore butts. Starting our third day of travel at 9 am, it’s now 11:30 p.m. central time, so half past midnight back home and we are just reaching a hotel to crash in for the night. Tomorrow we’ll be in abominable snowman territory, and it will definitely be a white Christmas. Durango, we’re coming for you.