American Family At Its Finest: The Annual Vacation
by James Snyder
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The one great event that brings people together is the annual family vacation. It brings them together so they viciously argue about where they want to go. At least it seems to be a common experience with most families.
Throughout the year, family members go their separate ways and only see each other as they pass in the hallway. What with mom and dad going to work and the kids going to school there seems to be very little time during the year for real family togetherness, which may cut down on family arguments.
Because of this high-level activity during the rest of the year somebody, nobody knows who that somebody is, came up with the idea of the family summer vacation. I only wish they had come up with a good way to pay for these vacations.
Usually, I look forward to these yearly family activities. Of course, if I ever looked backward, I probably would think about it a little more than I do.
However, as a forward-looking person I take these things in stride. The pressure involved in selecting the annual family vacation lays heaviest on the father of the family.
This is what really ages fathers. No matter what we choose, nobody in the family is happy. Everybody else knows better; where to go and what would be the most fun, which would be all right, but nobody comes up with the cash to do those things.
I operate by the rule that says, “He who has the most cash makes the final decision.” My family operates by the rule that says, “He who has the most cash forks it over immediately.” I have no idea who has spoon-fed them this information.
As head of my family one thing has loomed large in my thinking — I can either satisfy my family or gratify my checkbook. I cannot do both, at least at the same time. Since I live with my family on a daily basis, it puts me in a rather awkward position, which no one in my family truly appreciates.
Because I wear the pants in our house there is an assumption that my pockets are full of cash. Notwithstanding being the man of a house, I press forward with these yearly plans hoping for the best.
For me the annual family vacation is the time to get away from stress, the rat race and all the money I made last year.
Early in the year, when I announce plans for our summer holiday, there is much excitement; cheering, jumping up and down followed by several cartwheels across the room, ending with a special rendition of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. When the children learn of the plans, they are just as excited as their mother.
Once the dates are set for the vacation, which is more ceremonial than anything else, the next step is to choose the place. This introduces what I like to call, “the situation.” This is simply allowing the family members to have input into where the vacation will take place, which puts me in an awkward position of standing alone against the rest of my family.
I have tried to make this a model of the democratic process. Unfortunately, I keep getting out-voted and I have reason to believe last year’s vacation choice was stolen from me.
I have deliberately developed a political overtone to our family. Children need to know how the political system works in our country and I believe the family should be a model of that process. In light of this, I’m beginning to believe my family leans toward socialism and thinks my wealth should be divided equally among them. Of course, what they don’t know is my checkbook is getting dangerously close to Chapter 11.
In thinking about these annual events with the family, I see a correlation with presidential elections. The only difference between selecting the family vacation and selecting the president of the United States is we only select a president once every four years. The cost for both, however, is about the same.
With this in mind, I put forth a party platform to have our family vacation every four years. Obviously, it did not go over very well and I faced impeachment proceedings.
I then suggested we only go on vacation on even years. It didn’t go over at all and I was at odds with the rest of my family, who suggested I act like a good patriot — Benjamin Franklin — and go fly a kite.
Sensing my attitude about the situation, they did volunteer to let me stay at home while they went on vacation ... with my credit cards.
I have a personal motto that I live by. “My credit cards don’t leave home without me.”
I’m thinking of a new motto: “Don’t leave home.”
Even God takes a positive view on vacation. His vacation is superb. Jesus has made all of the arrangements for us and offers a simple invitation.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 — 30 KJV.)
Have you noticed a weariness to your soul lately? What you need is a spiritual vacation that will last for all eternity.
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