We had fun this month reading through the great vacation stories from so many of our readers. This was a topic you definitely took to heart.
I sometimes wonder what vacation stories my kids will tell. Like many single parents, I couldn't afford a 'real' vacation when my kids were little. Because it was cheap and wholesome, camping was our getaway of choice. I begged, borrowed and scrounged sufficient camping gear so that we could go away in relative comfort on excursions within a few hours' drive of our home in New Mexico. Camping also meant we could bring along our dogs, Fresa the waggle-tailed dobergirl and Moosh, our black-and-white schnauzer-poodle mix, and not have to worry about boarding or pet-sitters.
The only downside to this adventure was how very much the dogs loved it. They rode in crates in the back of my pickup, quietly inhaling much of New Mexico and Colorado as we tooled along. Quietly, that is, until we began to slow down, which the dogs knew meant we were stopping for food or to set up camp, in which case, they could get out of their crates and into action.
Their response was completely predictable: Fresa would begin a low-pitched howl as she pranced in her crate; Moosh would immediately follow suit. As soon as Moosh joined in, Fresa's howling became positively operatic. So in every town we drove through, strangers would gawk at this small black truck stuffed to the roof with camping gear, children and two yodeling dogs. From the concerned glances, I'm sure some bystanders thought the dogs were in torment. My daughter dealt with the humiliation by diving to the floorboard and staying there until we began to pick up speed; my son pulled his cap over his eyes and pretended to sleep. The dogs just yodeled with great gusto.
I'm pleased to announce that the results are in: Children can, indeed, go on to lead productive, successful lives without the benefit of all-expense-paid vacations to Disney World and Six Flags over Something or Other. They can even endure the humiliation of howling dogs and secondhand camping gear, provided they get sufficient s'mores and campfire stew at the end of the day. Both of my kids are healthy adults now, and what they do on their summer vacation is … you guessed it … go camping.Happy autumn!
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