"Hey, stop kicking that ham! That's my dinner!"

Just thought I’d share a few stories about my family’s vacations, which sometimes have yielded some rather rich ones… I’ll let the SDMB family judge for themselves, though.

We lived in Michigan from the time I was 3 until nearly 11 (1955-63), when we moved back to the mid-Atlantic region; several summer vacations, though, we returned to one of the towns we had lived in, on the coast of Lake Michigan–Manistee. The first time, we stayed for two weeks in one side of a rental cottage; the second time, we were able to rent both sides of the same cottage, one block from the beach. Each side had a small kitchen; the ranges were pretty old, though, and the oven wasn’t big enough to hold a pan to bake a ham in, so we used the oven in the other kitchen. Now a ham goes in to bake at a low temperature, so we must have gone to visit some friends. When we were on our way back to the cottage, we heard the fire engines, and said, “Hmm… wonder where the fire is… let’s see where they’re going!” So we’re following the sirens, which go right down the street to the beach … then turn on the street where the cottage is … finally, they stopped right in front of the cottage! Turns out that some of the grease from the ham had caught fire in the bottom of the oven. It was a small fire and hadn’t really done much damage at all, but the firemen had thrown the pan, ham and all, out into a sand dune just outside of the cottage. When my Dad pulled up in front of the cottage later (after the fire engine had left), there were two kids poking at the ham with sticks and rolling it in the sand. “Hey, get away from that ham!” he hollared at them (as the rest of us kids gaped and gawked uncomfortably from the car), “That’s my dinner!” He scared them, but not before they turned and gaped at us. My Dad went and “rescued” the ham, washed it off and cut off the more burned parts … and sure enough, that’s what we had for dinner that night.

Another favorite vacation spot was western Maine; the family stayed in several locations there, only one of which I ever vacationed at with them. This time, my mother (rest her soul) shows her propensity for predicting “disasters” (we called them RPD for Remote Possibility Disasters). My parents and my two youngest brothers were there that summer, and my Mom’s youngest brother and his family came to visit on vacation as well, staying with them for a few days. My uncle’s children were a bit younger than my youngest brothers; their son was probably 4 or 5 and my youngest brothers were 9-10. At any rate, my young cousin was sleeping in my brother’s room, which had bunk beds, and that night Mom went in and told my brother, “Listen, you’d better close the window, because your cousin might fall out the window, roll down the roof and fall onto the ground, roll down the dock, and into the water and DROWN!” My brother just gaped at her for several moments, then pointed out, “But Mom … the window is a half foot -above- the bed!” (Not wanting to spend the night without the benefits of the usual cool breeze of the Maine evening …) I think they compromised, and the window was left open a bit …

Your family vacationed in western Maine? Where? I grew up in Maine, and can’t think of any place that far from the mid-state mountains and the coast that would attract vacationers from as far away as Michigan in any season. I mean, Maine is full of beautiful lakes, but…wow. Not that I wouldn’t trade a year of my life for a year in unscenic Kennebec County where I grew up. It’s not that western Maine isn’t beautiful, I just never thought out-of-state tourists ever gave it a first, let alone a second, thought.

More important is the fact that you’ve told a wonderfully funny story. Thanks.

Glad you enjoyed the stories, King of Soup. When we vacationed in Maine, we were living in the mid-Atlantic (Delaware); one summer, we went to Tilden’s Pond, which is near the eastern coast (near Belfast, I think?), but most summers in Maine were spent on Lake Webb, near the town of Weld, which is indeed one of the many lakes in western Maine. Being a teen in HS then, I -always- complained that there was “nothing to do!” there. Instead of just enjoying the peace and quiet, which now I would -love-.