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JUST A THOUGHT - Family Vacations
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I hear other families talking, almost bragging about how fantastic their past family vacations always were. My question is, are they delusional or do they use denial as a way to stay sane? Sure, we had good times when the kids were young and we went on some fun journeys but then there were the trips from hell.

Come on, you have to remember the kids fighting in the back seat because one of them touched the other one. My favorite was stopping at every restroom that appeared because someone was always bored and wanted a way to get out of the car. There was always a voice in the back that repeatedly asked, "How much farther?" and "Are we there yet?" One of my favorite family trips was our famous Santa Cruz camping excursion. The moment I stepped out of the car, I tripped over a rock and skinned my knees, which continued to bleed for most of the night. Pete and I were not that experienced at putting a tent up but somehow we managed. What we didn't notice was that we positioned it on a slightly uphill area so all night long all of us constantly rolled down to one side of the tent ending up on top of each other. By morning without much sleep, I groggily got out of the tent and could hardly walk because my leg was totally numb due to the log in the ground that I was positioned on most of the night.

One trip that I took without my husband was with my two small children. At the time, we boarded the train at the Escalon train station on Main Street. It was a scary trip as the train was overcrowded and I didn't know if we would have a seat all the way to Colorado. For part of the trip, we stood and eventually managed to sit down. I remember another trip that we took as a family to visit an uncle in Salt Lake. My kids were teenagers at the time and my daughter constantly reminded us that she wanted to be home in time for a party that one of her friends was giving. We tried to accommodate her and after our visit with my uncle resisted stops at historical sights trying to make sure that she was home in time for a party that as a teenager she believed was more important than life itself. My husband drove more hours than he normally would have, drove in the driveway and as we entered the house, the phone was ringing. The party was cancelled...Karma greets us in many ways.

When my daughter had teenagers and their family went on a trip to South Dakota to visit, they decided to go many miles out of the way so that the kids could see Yellowstone and witness the amazing geysers. The kids did the usual, "How much longer?" over and over but eventually, finally got there. Everyone got out of the car, sat down and waited for the geyser to erupt. The second the unbelievable steam and water spray was over, all three of the kids said, "That was boring, let's go!" I had to chuckle to myself when she told me this.

A family tradition with our kids was to take a trip to San Francisco at least once a year. We basically did the tourist thing. On one such trip, our oldest son was 13 and our daughter 10 years old. Our son decided that we weren't doing what he wanted and began to pout like kids do. He kept walking yards behind us to drive us crazy. As Pete sternly told him that he had better get up with us or else, a group of nuns walked by. We were embarrassed that we had to scold our son in public but to add insult to injury, just as they began to pass us, our daughter decided to ask us how babies were made and how they were born in her loudest little girl voice. Being Catholic and knowing in the '50s that children were never allowed to talk about such things, we almost died. Times have changed so now it all seems pretty funny. A family vacation that I remember as a kid was when my mother and grandmother took my sister and me on a ferry to Treasure Island in San Francisco to attend the World's Fair. As a child, the vision alone of the first viewing of plans for Disneyland being displayed and buildings with beautiful Grecian columns made an impression that I will never forget. But most of all, I remember fondly how we all felt being together and getting to experience such wonderful sights. These days, our family has grown so going places all together doesn't happen often but when they do, I now sit and listen to the sounds of several generations of our family enjoying each other and creating wonderful memories.

That's the best thing about denial; we forget the arguments or the competitions over unimportant things such as who gets to ride in the front seat and just remember how we laughed together and bonded over things that happened on each of our family vacations.

Sheila Arellano is a retired reporter for The Escalon Times and a longtime local resident. She continues to contribute a monthly column.