Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Missed Vacations

It was 1996 and I was on the verge of getting my drivers license. Unfortunately for me, my parents had scheduled a family vacation to coincide with my spring break that year and my birthday just happened to fall during that week. What should I do? Should I go with my family on vacation? Should I stay back and get that all elusive drivers license that every 15 year old counts down the days for? Full disclosure here, it wasn't that hard of a choice. My previous family vacation(and my Mom will vouch for this) wasn't exactly the funnest. We went to California. You know, Disneyland, Sea World, the whole nine yards. I can't necessarily pin down one specific thing that made the trip not fun, but maybe it was the six of us driving around California crammed into a Buick LeSabre or maybe it was having to wait on my brother and sister to do anything. Of course they were only five years old, but as an impatient 15 year old, I wasn't in the mood.

So it was decided with much ease that I would not go on vacation with the rest of the family and I would instead stay in Bartlesville with my grandparents to get my drivers license. Regrets? None. That week is a week I will cherish forever.

Before my parents left, they bought me a car. A 1987 Ford Tempo with five million miles on it. Okay I exaggerate, maybe it had 150,000 miles on it. Needless to say, the car had seen better days. This doesn't change my opinion of that car. I loved it! And actually wish we would have never gotten rid of it. So many memories!

Because of the state of my car, my Grandpa decided he was going to help me get it all ready to go for when I turned 16. He showed me how to wax the car, he helped me clean the entire inside, and he also helped me fix the trunk that was rusted out. That week was spent getting up in the morning, sharing breakfast with my grandparents, and then going to the garage with my Grandpa and working on my car. The way my Grandpa treated that car was the way he approached everything in life. The car cost $1500, but he treated it like it was worth $30,000. He treated everyone like they were the most important person around, no matter who they were. I have always admired that about him. He didn't need to help me with that car, but he did. He spent hours upon hours that week showing me what to do and helping me get my car ready because he knew it was important to me.

The day came and he took me to get my drivers license and at that moment, I thought it was the best day of my life. How could life get any better? Looking back now, it wasn't the best day of my life, but quite possibly one of the best weeks of my life. My grandfather died seven months later. He took with him the kindest most gentle heart of anyone I've ever known. That week spent with him taught me more things than words can describe and his patience with me was something I'll never forget. I hope that in the rest of my life I am able to take with me a small percentage of the man my grandfather was. Because I know that even a small percentage would make me a better person.

I love my family vacations now. I can't wait for my family vacation in December. But I can't help but look back and be thankful for missing out on one family vacation.

1 comment:

afoos said...

That California vacation sucked- right from the very beginning! I remember our plane was like 5 hours late or something and then, when we pulled up (in our nice Buick for 6 people!) to the place mom had reserved it was A/ a shack and B/ out of business so we were driving all over trying to find a hotel at 2 am.

I am glad you had that time with grandpa- he always had a way of taking the most ordinary things and making them so special. I miss him a lot and wish Gab and Louise could know him too...

Can't wait for Italy- we should have enough car space and the villa probably won't be a shack so that it will be fun!

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