Posts Tagged ‘New Mexico’

A Bucket Full of Adventures

VW Camper on side of RoadA Heap of Livin’ and a Bucket Full of Adventures

 Mom always used the expression, “a heap of livin” to explain all the wonderful adventures my dad dragged us to and through.  As age begins to creep up on me and I am closer to the finish line than when I started out, I recall many of those adventures with a bit more nostalgia and joy than I did when we were actually in the midst of them.  Like the times when Dad would come bursting into the house full of zip and energy – announcing we were going on a trip to the New York World’s Fair!” (We lived in Kentucky) and we were leaving in the morning at day break!  And so the adventure would begin.  We stayed almost all day so we wouldn’t miss a thing!!!!

No Fancy Hotels for us…
Our travels took us to little out of the way places that were not often frequented by other travelers.  That often meant our sleeping arrangements were tiny “hole-in-the-wall” hotel rooms, (or a tent without a floor, – a sheet of canvas over poles, in the middle of a
grassy field).   Mom always carried her electric skillet, so we enjoyed a huge country breakfast right there in the room.  I can only imagine what the other guests might have been dreaming about when Mom heated up her “stove” and the aroma of the sizzling bacon drifted into the other occupant’s rooms. Meals not eaten in the hotel rooms were generally eaten in the car as we traveled, or served on concrete tables in roadside parks along the way. (I still enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches).

Adventures & Misadventures…
When we became teenagers we groaned about “roughing it” on the long trips . . . but as adults we recall those experiences as precious memories. Well . . . mostly precious memories.  There was that time when we literally pushed our Volkswagen Camper Van across the Painted Desert, and the time Dad was hauled off to jail because he illegally made a U-turn on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  But even those memories have the mixture of love and family growth that bonded us into best friends for life.

One family outing was spent traveling in a borrowed car to the North Carolina coastline.  Along with our family of six were my uncle, aunt, two cousins, and all our beach toys, swim gear, and picnic supplies. Oh yeah, the borrowed car was actually a hearse loaned to us by a mortician friend.  At the time we were of course, mortified . . . but today, it’s sheer joy as we recall the “day we went to the beach in
a hearse”.

When Dad would make these announcements, I know it was a bit of a hardship for Mom, but his spontaneity was infectious, and the ever practical side of Mom most often gave way to the thirst for excitement that Dad brought to each of his many “adventures”.

Dad’s Influence on My Adventurous Spirit…
Dad had a unique take on life that lasted him up until he took his last breath on March 4, 2002.  He filled our lives with adventures from our earliest days, giving us the freedom and tools to do special things – different than most children our ages.  Many hours of my play time were spent climbing into the hayloft behind our house, with Dad’s blessings, and Mom’s admonitions.  Even as I write these words, I recall that dusty, dry, grassy smell, and feel the prickle to my skin as I climbed in and over and through my “hay fort” and down  into my seven-story high tobacco-stick house.  (I shudder to think what might have happened if it had toppled over). Hiking alone in the woods,  playing hide and seek in the corn fields, wading in mountain creeks, and using Dad’s tools to fashion forts, tree houses, and secret hide-a-ways…ah, what pleasant memories.

As I approach this February 21, 2014, (the date my dad would have celebrated his 88th year), I look back with joy and forward with anticipation.  Mom said it right about her life, and I can truly say it about my own.  I’ve done a “heap of livin”, and life is certainly full of adventures to remember and many yet to come.

Have you done a heap of livin’ and stored up buckets full of treasured memories of your many adventures?  I can only imagine that your adult children would love to hear about them.

%d bloggers like this: