Picture This…..

Picture This.....

Every summer the six members of my family would cram into the old Ford station wagon and head south for a two-week “vacation.” Our dog got to go along too. I don’t think there was ever a picture from any of those vacations with a single person smiling for the camera. There was always a fight among us kids for a seat by a window. My younger sister was always given one because she got carsick, so that left three of us vying for the other. The two unlucky ones had to sit in the middle. There were only two bench seats in that old car; Dad and Mom in the front, four of us kids on the back seat, and the dog riding way in the back with all the luggage and paraphernalia deemed necessary for a two-day, 650-mile trip to my grandparent’s home in Georgia. The window seat directly behind Dad was the one we all wanted. Dad couldn’t reach around that far when he decided he’d heard enough griping and swatted indiscriminately with his big heavy hand. If you sat in any of the other places on that back seat you were sure to be a target, whether you were guilty or not. His heavy hand of justice would manage to catch all three. There wasn’t enough room to duck or swerve out of the way. One big whack, and then miles of silence broken only by a few sniffles now and then. In the year I turned ten years old we began a particularly memorable trip on a very hot July day. Those were the days in our home when bacon was served with every breakfast. The bacon grease was saved to be used later for frying eggs. It was Mom’s practice to completely empty the refrigerator before leaving on vacation. She disposed of everything in the “fridge” on the day we were to leave by carrying it to the back of the one-acre lot behind the house and dumping it on the ground. Accordingly, before leaving that July day, she carried out a container full of leftover green beans , some old lettuce, assorted other leftovers, and all the old bacon grease that had been saved. What she didn’t see that morning was our faithful dog, Shorti, following along behind her. She came back up to the house, finished packing the car, and called lastly for the dog to get in. The doors and tailgate were secured and we were off. Dad drove south, and we got to Baltimore on a sweltering early afternoon. We were all perspiring freely, and tempers were flaring. The dog was panting, panting, panting! Suddenly, while driving through a neighborhood of brownstone buildings with lovely white steps and decorative painted screens, a canine version of Mount Vesuvius erupted. The entire back section of the car, all the luggage and travel paraphernalia, the back seat, and four miserable kids were covered with a massive volume of green, slimy , smelly doggy vomit. Dad stopped the car, got out and walked away. Mom was left to deal with the situation as well as she could while numerous local residents looked on. We all had to change our outer clothing while standing at the curbside. The dog was given a long walk to allow her to finish emptying her stomach, and Mom wiped out the car with some towels she had packed. Those had been meant for good times at the lake in Georgia, but they got dumped in a nearby garbage can. After a lengthy interval Dad eventually returned, and our “vacation” resumed.


2 thoughts on “Picture This…..

  1. Oh the image you painted has me laughing so hard. Though we were only a family of 5, I do remember the hot August trips crammed in the backseat of the loaded station wagon, bickering over anything until Dad had enough. Can’t match the dog story though.

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