LESLIE CRISS: Family vacations provide tales to be told years down the road

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
St. Augustine

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

I’m happy to see folks still take time to plan and take vacations, especially during the summer months.
Some of my most fond and fun family memories have been made on trips made together.
I’m not certain if the earliest trips taken could be considered true vacations.
Truth is, my father, an accountant, would put my mother and me on a train during tax season for several of my toddling years.
That train, headed west, would take the two of us to Williams, Ariz., my mama’s birthplace, where we’d spend weeks with my maternal grandparents.
Then after April 15, Dad would drive out, visit a few days and take us back home to Grenada, Miss.
On one of those trips, we also made the short trip from Williams to the Grand Canyon. Actually, that was my second trip to the Canyon.
My first was as an infant. My dad had hiked to the bottom and as my mother waited at the top with me in tow, she realized she was out of baby formula.
I don’t remember the wonder of the Grand Canyon, but I do recall hearing the story, more than once, about how upset and angry my mama was at my dad when he finally made it out of the Canyon.
My family’s other vacations during my childhood were to Texas and to Florida.
In Texas, we visited family members my sister and I had either never before met or did not remember meeting. We spent a day on some large lake near Dallas on our Great-Uncle Roy’s houseboat, visited Six Flags Over Texas and walked along the Paseo del Rio, the San Antonio River Walk along, appropriately, the San Antonio River.
It was a great vacation, one of the best I recall, despite the horrible heat.
In Florida, the family did Daytona, took a ride on a glass-bottom boat in Silver Springs and drank from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine.
Our last vacation of any length together, was when my family helped move me to Los Angeles. The plan was to leave me at my new apartment and then spend a day or two at Las Vegas and spend some time again in my mom’s hometown of Williams, Ariz.
I ruined that trip for my mother, who was in emotional turmoil having left her first-born in L.A., and for my sister and my father, because I’d put my mother in emotional turmoil.
I’ve heard my sister had to grasp our mother by the shoulders and tell her to, “snap out of it,” somewhere in Las Vegas.
I’m happy to have missed that portion of the trip.

Click video to hear audio