Every couple of years, Dad would load us up in the car and we’d go On Vacation. It was a bid deal. I can remember a handful of times we actually went anywhere. Dad wasn’t big on Family Travel.
Most of the time we went somewhere vaguely educational. We went to the Henry Ford Museum one time. That was cool. I learned that Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers and Tommy Edison all has workshops within walking distance of each other. Or they could take the tram if the wanted.
Another time it was Sea World, when it was still in Sandusky. (That would be in Ohio.) I think they shut that one down, which is sad. Think of all the out of work walruses. “Will perform natural behaviours on cue for fish.” And the cardboard would keep getting wet and disintegrating. There was that one walrus who was Sherlock Holmes in the All Walrus Review, or something. That pinniped had some tallent. Now, he’s a washed up character actor.
Or someone bought them out. I think it was Six Flags. Either way, gone or bought, it’s not the same. It’s still sad thinking about out of work walrusses.
When Dad was on his Civil War kick, we went to some battlefields. Imagine the fighting around the souvenir kiosks and interpretive signposts. I sat on a cannon. I remember that. You don’t forget the first time you sit on a cannon. I didn’t anyway. You might. I can’t tell.
We never stopped at Stucky’s on any of those trips. That would have been educational. The World Famous Pecan Log. When I take my family on Family Trips, we’ll stop at Stucky’s and get Pecan Logs. And Amish cheese. I’d stop for that too.
One time we went to Washington DC, our nation’s Capitol. We saw a bunch of monuments, mostly out of the car window. And we went to Arlington National Cemetary. That was the first time I heard Taps played by a real musician. It was devastating. We blew through the National History Museum. Five minutes till closing and we wander in. Didn’t see much. A dinosaur, I think.
While we were in Washington, I had an epiphany. I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. We went to the Navel Observatory. That’s what I wanted to do, observe navels. (I wasn’t a particularly careful reader back then.) Imagine the power…
“Ma’am, you’ll have to unbutton the bottom of your blouse and lower your pants just a bit.” Of course this is in Jack Webb’s voice as Joe Friday. “No ma’am, you have to. We’re with the Government.”
Then I found out they had something to do with tides and clocks and stuff. This made sense, sort of. Where are the tides? Beaches. What do girls wear at the beach? Bikinis. All the better to observe a few navels. It makes perfect sense. Sure it does.
There is a dark side to Navel Observation. Fat, hairy men. Much less fun than feminine navels. But I was ready to put in the time. For my country of course.
I was ready to sign up right there. Do my duty, for God and my Country, and all that. They didn’t seem to be hiring.
One more dream, down in flames.