Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Object of My Desire: Family Vacations

Summertime meant loading up the car and driving across the country to whatever destination we had taken months to plan. Once we left Independence, Missouri, for Orlando, Florida, to visit Disney World and Gatorland Zoo. It was the first time I'd ever set foot in the ocean or actually seen oranges growing on a tree.

Another time we headed off to Nashville, Tennessee where we spent two days at the long-gone Opryland USA amusement park and caught an evening performance of The Grand Ole Opry. I even had my picture made with Dolly Parton's star on the Country Music Walk of Fame, which was taken away when the museum was relocated a few years back.

Then on one particular vacation, we piled into our 1973 Chevrolet Impala and headed out to Estes Park, Colorado. That's the trip where I picked up this Pike's Peak ash tray. While nobody in my family smoked, I was allowed to buy this souvenir that today reminds me of how we only went up the mountain half-way because our brakes almost went out and how my sister and I were amazed that we could write our names in snow in the middle of summer.

My parents did an ingenious job of putting together activities for us to enjoy, even without the help of the Internet. We saw the Royal Lippizzaner horses perform on night, and then another evening we rode out to a dude ranch for a barbecue. We even waded in the icy Big Thompson river just months before it flooded. Being teachers, my parents economized on our trips, meaning that Mom traveled with an electric skillet to heat up at least one meal a day. But for a few days far away from home, we still felt super-fancy staying in that Ramada Inn with a swimming pool -- and enjoying a time together that would forever last in memories.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


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