Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Holiday

The Holiday

By Allison Adams, 04-17-11 – Submitted to The Greeneville Sun 04-18-11

“Mom? Why are you slapping together a pile of turkey sandwiches at 8 o’clock in the morning when we’re just about ready to hit the road?”

“Why don’t you have a seat there, and I’ll tell you a little story while I work on these sandwiches.”

“Why don’t we just pretend I never saw the whole thing?”

“Once upon a time families used to ‘road trip’ a little differently than they do today.”

“You mean like how they used to travel together in covered wagons?”

“No – like how they traveled together in station wagons.”

“You’d never catch me riding in something that lame.”

“The premier model station wagons often had decorative wooden paneling along the sides.”


“Luxurious. And road-tripping families would pick-up a commemorative decal for every city or state they visited, and they’d decorate the windows of their station wagon with their decal collection to show everyone where they’d traveled to – a little like placing a stick pin in different cities on a map.”


“Trendy. And road-tripping families of long ago made traveling an adventure!”

“How so?”

“Well, daddies would study road atlases for the scenic routes, and mommies would make sure to pack plenty of things to entertain the kiddos.”

“Like a portable video player and an iPod?”

“Like crayons, coloring books, activity books, playing cards, dolls, … things like that. Why, I remember once being in the ‘way back’ of my family’s station wagon with my doll and some scissors, and somewhere between Arizona and California I cut-off all of her hair!”

“Wait a minute. You were sitting in the ‘way back’ while the car was moving -without a seat belt?”

“Well, things were different back then – cars didn’t have seat belts.”

“Whoa! And your parents let you have scissors while you were bouncing around?”

“That’s right, son. No seat belts, and sharp objects. It was a wild and crazy time! And listen to this – in the absence of a rest stop, parents often made their own. They’d pull off the highway whenever they needed to, and produce a little plastic travel potty, and let the kids relieve their bladders!”

“No. Way.”

“Yes - way. Families traveling with small children came prepared for anything! Oh – and families played car games like ‘Name the state capitols’, ‘Cow Poker’, ‘License Plate Bingo’, or ‘Punch Bug’…”


“… and there would be singing, and laughing …”


“… and we’d almost always travel with a spare can of gasoline, just in case the scenic route of our road trip took us through a remote area with no gas stations.”

“NOW you’re talking! You’d sit in your station wagon with a full can of gasoline?

“Sometime, yes.”

“Awesome! That’s so … combustible!”

“There’s more. Families also packed food to eat along their journey.”

“No way! Why didn’t they just stop at McDonalds or Wendy’s?”

“Fast food joints weren’t on every corner then, like they are today. People were more practical, more frugal. Long ago, families didn’t automatically spend money for the sake of simple convenience.”

“Because they were poor?”

“Because they were resourceful. Families would pack a picnic lunch, or supper, or both – to eat along the way on their road trip. Sometimes they’d pull over on a scenic overlook and spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy a good stretch and a nice break. Sometimes families would eat their picnic as they drove – driving straight through the night to reach their destination, and avoiding the need and expense of a motel room.”

“What did they have against a Holiday Inn?”

“Once upon a time, the holiday was as much about the journey as it was about the destination.”

“Wait just a minute. Is that why you’re making turkey sandwiches at 8 o’clock in the morning right before we pull out on a road trip?”

“Yes, dear. I’m making the best of the situation – and your daddy and I are sick and tired of fast food.”

“Please don’t make me sing songs or play ‘Cow Poker’.”

“All right, dear.”

“And can we bring along something combustible – just to add to the excitement?”

“Certainly. I’m packing the bean dip.”