June 20, 2007

Just the Family Vacation

I love my family. I love trips. I'm not too sure about the combination of the two.

This week is my family's first trip together since our disastrous one to New York City about four years ago.

That's not to say we haven't traveled at all in the past few years. I've turned into a traveling fiend. Dublin, Philadelphia, New York, etc. My sister and mother love to travel, too. My dad loves to go to Civil War and history-oriented locales, but he hasn't in the past few years, so we're doing locations primarily he likes in central and eastern Pa.

Today we visited Lancaster, Intercourse, Paradise, Bird-in-Hand...You can just imagine some of the retail merchandise...In any case, it's been quite an adventure.

Our family does fight in the loud and obnoxious way that most families do. Today we had our first fight and I was an integral part of it. Nevertheless, we plodded on in our lovely rental that doesn't actually plod--it really flies. In fact, my mother rode the white line at 75 mph until a tractor trailer almost plowed into us with his cow catcher-like bumper.

Tomorrow we travel to York and the Harley-Davidson factory. We are not bikers, nor do I foresee anyone owning a bike, but we are going there to broaden our minds.

Today, we were pretzel twirlers and bud-eaters. I'm not really a tour person because I watched Mr. Rodgers' nearly every day of my childhood, but it was pretty interesting to watch a one-man pickling operation at a cannery. He packed twelve eggs into each can and then a long spout of purple juice slid into the jar, which was finally sealed and a label was slapped on.

It was a compelling spectacle for a few minutes, but I caught myself feeling sorry for the guy. I can't get the book, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, out of my mind. Ehrenreich is an undercover journalist who "exposes" what her life is like in various six- and seven-dollar occupations through her reflections. She is employed in the book in several vocations, including a maid, a Wal-Mart employee and a waitress, among others. Though I think her voice is a bit persnickety in the book, I find that her stories are nevertheless alarming, and make me think twice about my place on the proverbial totem and why I think her voice is persnickety. Have I accepted my class? Has she been spoiled by hers?

In any case, I think about the people who made up the rooms that I am sleeping in for the night. I think about the people canning the eggs and making my vacation omlets. I wonder how much they are being paid and what their lives are like. I've always done this, and because I do, I never really relax on vacations. I find that this awareness is heightened this trip, especially. Maybe it's because we're still in Pa. Maybe it's because pay raises and finances are a constant news item. Maybe it's just a great combination of all of that.

When people cook and clean up for me on vacation, I want to remember to respect them and to be grateful for this trip. We may fight and say a lot of things we don't mean, but at least we're given one more time to be a family before we scatter--or more appropriately--I move. It's strange that I'm on vacation at 21 years old with my family, but who else gets that chance? They'll be other trips to savor with friends and business trips, but this vacation is something else entirely: it's an affirmation of us, still as a unit, no matter where we go and what we do.

It's just too bad WallyWorld was closed today. The poor moose. :-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at June 20, 2007 8:06 PM | TrackBack
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