Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: PHOTOS and/or SOUVENIR(S) (vacation) (07/16/15)
TITLE: A Family, a Vacation: Maturity and Love
By Hugh Houchin
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“Too bad,” Julia said, “I was here first and possession prevails.”
As Junior pulled his 16 year old twin sister off the seat, the back door of the van swung open. There stood Papa with luggage next to him.
“What’s happening?” Papa said. “Listen, it’s 5 a.m. The next 12 to 14 hours we’ll be on the interstate, and I won’t put up with this. If you don’t shape up, I’m gonna ground you so long and so deep they’ll have to dig up to bury you. Now, help me.”
Soon, the Kodiak family cruised on the interstate on their first away-from-home vacation in five years.
“Oh my,” Mama said, “I can’t believe I’m on my way to Honeyland. I’ve always wanted to go there. Did you kids remember your phones so you can take pictures?”
“Yepper, got our cells. I heard Honeyland has a nectar coaster and molasses wheel,” said Junior.
“What about a syrup-go-round?” Julia said. ‘What excites you, Papa?”
“Well, an advertisement in the Grizzly News and World Report said there’s a forest bordering three sides of Honeyland, and there’s a bee farm in the forest. They offer two tours each day, and you get a little complimentary jar of honey. If we go twice, we’ll each get two jars.
Mama said, “Oh dear Papa, you’re getting old. I’m just gonna enjoy myself watching my family enjoy themselves”
After endless miles, playing musical drivers, and death threats lobbied between the twins, they closed-in on Honeyland.
“It’s dark, and the park is closed,” said Papa. “Let’s get a motel, order pizza, and get some sleep.”
To thwart sibling bloodshed, Papa and Junior slept in one room and Mama and Julia in another.
The next morning Mama said, “Yesterday, we passed a McOmnivores. It’s close by and they have a menu that’s perfect for us, let’s eat there.”
“Any complaints?” said Papa.
“Let’s go,” the twins said.
After breakfast, Papa chauffeured them to Honeyland. There, the crushing crowds disintegrated any semblance of security the thunderstruck family felt.
“Let’s hold hands, so we don’t get separated. Ok?” said Julia.
Hand-in-hand, each family member felt in harmony with the others.
“Allll right,” Junior said, “there’s the syrup-go-round; it’s between the nectar coaster and molasses wheel. Let’s go.”
True to her pledge, Mama watched her family enjoy the moment and took pictures.
After the rides, Papa bought four tee shirts that proclaimed: “I salivated my way through Honeyland.”
“Aha, it’s my turn,” Papa said. “See the sign pointing toward the path into the forest. Hope everybody’s ready.”
The intricacies of the bee farm intrigued, but it was the beauty of the forest that inspired. This meant more pictures. After the tour, they savored their honey.
The last night of their vacation they ate at McOmnivorous. “Wish we had one of these at home,” said Julia.
“You can take a picture,” Mama said.
It was quiet the next morning as they packed the van.
It was still quiet as Papa threaded through traffic to make sure he was in the correct lane for the turnoff to the interstate.
Junior spoke first. “Really enjoyed Honeyland and have pictures and souvenirs. But, the neatest part of the trip was being together. I’ll never forget holding hands as we fought through the masses. We’re a family; I don’t need things to remember that I love you guys.”
“As for me,” Mama said. “I’ll treasure the conversations with Julia in the motel room. Mentally, she’s a woman. Thanks sweetheart, and I love you all. Course, I have too because I’m the wife and mom.”
The van reverberated with family laughter.
“Thanks, Mama. I treasured our time together, too. But topping the list, I see, and feel, Junior handing me his jar of honey after I ate mine. Thank you, brother. Even though I was first born, I see maturity in you I don’t have. Love you.”
“Guess that leaves me. Papas get the last word. This vacation gave us a chance to think about things we didn’t realize we needed to think about. In many ways, we matured these past few days and that doesn’t show on keepsakes. When we Kodiaks slow down and close our eyes for our long winter’s nap, this week will keep us warm inside. Love you much.
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