What I Did On My Summer Vacation


Photographer Unknown

It had been her idea to go see the Caves.

I was excited, my sons were excited because we had never been in a cave system before.

Our excitement though was short lived because on the half hour drive to the caves, my FORMER In Law spent every second she could telling us how the Pacific Northwest was boring because it was nothing but ” Volcanic Spew ” and that the only real place that had anything important to see in the way of geology  was in Colorado-

which at this point I would have  gladly kicked her back to ever inch of the way.

Oh and to make the drive even more interesting, my other FORMER In Law stopped to pick up a hitch hiker out in the middle of nowhere- I mean he sort of appeared on the side of the road like he had sprung up from the dusty and the sand  and this is the super duper fun part-

he looked like Charles Manson with short hair blond hair.

So between her telling us that we lived in a boring pile of volcanic waste, Charlie was agreeing with her.

That was more then I could handle.

Out of  nowhere I started to talk about the last funeral I worked where all we had to bury was an arm and a jawbone- he had been a John Doe- and we interred those unfortunates at the Home I worked at.

I told them I brought cut flowers from my garden and the gravediggers and landscaping crew suggested we sing a hymn and the only song we all knew the words to was Ball and Chain by Social Distortion.

I thought I had wrapped up my story, but my youngest son pointed out he had helped cut those flowers and anytime I wanted to murder few more of Dad’s roses to let him know.

Charlie realized I was sitting right behind him and when he turned around to get a look at the person innocently talking about her work day, he realized we had blown by his stop and we could let him out- right here and right now.

Bye Bye Charlie, I thought to myself as he scooted out of the car, I wish you could have taken my In Laws with you.


When we got to the caves, the first thing we got from the guide was a safety pitch and then we went in and to drive home why you shouldn’t wander off the path he told us to stand perfectly still and to turn off our flashlights- then they killed the lights and for the first time in my life I was in absolute darkness.

It’s funny because I’m not claustrophobic, but all of the sudden I felt like I was being squeezed or squished and then I felt one single bead of sweat  break  free from the nape of my neck and it slithered right down my spine.

Terror, I thought, I’ll be this is what real terror looks and feels like and for some reason I was into the experience- but  I also like to sit in the first car on the rollercoaster so that may have something to do with it.

I know this is a mixed thing, but I felt like I had just found a hundred dollars on the sidewalk- and then the lights popped on and I was standing face to face with my FORMER In Law who thought the Pacific Northwest was a volcanic wasteland.

I’m not sure why she was turned around and why we were now  face to face but when the lights came on and she saw my ‘ I just found a hundred bucks on the sidewalk’ expression she looked right into my eyes and backed up and nearly went sliding off the path into this pool of water that was full of minerals and bug doo and animal pee.

That smile never left my face.


You know that saying, it’s not the destination its the journey?

It’s true.


2 thoughts on “What I Did On My Summer Vacation

  1. LOVED this post, and how you freaked the hitchhiker out – it brought back memories of wanting out of cars NOW!! Particularly enjoyed the image of your smiling at the end. Maybe next time you can take them to a geyser and encourage them to take a cover peek?

    • To this day I don’t know what made my in-law pull over and pickup a hitchhiker out in the middle of nowhere when we had a car full of kids. I’m serious. Who does that? And then the other in-law, Ms Nature Lover. She was turned around and facing me when the lights went on because she got scared and panicked and probably was trying to get back to the entrance. Anyway that was actually a fun trip because me and my boys did love that cave system.

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