We've just had yet another patriotic weekend. Mine was a fun one filled with lots of exciting events and good people. I have many fond memories in the summer. My kids have year round school and so I don't think they (and when I say they I really just mean my oldest) truly grasp the awesomeness of a summer vacation. Remember the jingle-jingle of the ice cream truck? Oh I hear it now all the time, blaring it's obnoxious music through my neighborhood, but it's not the same. Back then, you could afford one of those sherbet ice cream feet with the bubble gum ball covering the big toe. We even had a dude driving around a slushy mobile and regrettably it started a turf war with the ice cream man. But that's an entirely different story that I would probably fabricate beyond any recognition.
Family summer vacations was the stuff of legends. We never really went anywhere exciting (other than Disney World). Most of the time, we took long 3 day drives, in barely any air conditioning, sleeping on the floor with our feet on the windows, out of our seat belts trips to places like Utah. We played the staring games which usually consisted of trying to make the other person blink while spitting luke warm water in their faces. Ah good times. Some of the best trips were to NYC. My dad was born in Queens, lived in Brooklyn, and my grandparents had a third story apartment on Palmetto Avenue. That was an adventure.
When I was in second grade... (oh I'm starting the nostalgic moment now, in case you were wondering.)
my great-grandma Lukikas passed away. She was like 99 years old and about as tall as a hobbit. I used to cry whenever my parents made me go in say hi to her. I was such a pansy... Well, she passed on and it was decided we would drive the 16 hours to attend the funeral. I'm a little shaky on the actual memory of whether or not this happened in the summer, but for the sake of continuing, let's pretend it was. A winter trip really wouldn't fit in to this blog post.
We spent most of our time at the funeral home as my parents and grandparents visited with relatives and friends and preparations were made for the burial. I still remember the funeral director. She was a nice, elderly lady with a thick foreign accent. I'm not even sure where was she from, but she made us feel right at home. After the services were finished everyone filed out of the funeral home and hopped into their limousines. Everyone was going to ride in a limousine. Everyone, that is, except for my family. We had a big black Subaru station wagon (the same I would end up driving my senior year of high school) and they saw no need to spend the $100 for us to drive in style.
I threw a fit! It was epic. Complete with weeping, wailing, and I'm sure some gnashing of teeth. The sidewalk received it's punishment as I rolled around on the ground, screaming because I needed to drive in a limo. What was wrong with me? I was normally a fairly tame child, but the limo deal rubbed me the wrong way. Good for my parents; they didn't back down. After all, the trip to the cemetery was only a couple of miles and we were there to mourn the death of a family member not to gallivant around as celebrities. Still, I persisted and eventually caught the attention of the very nice funeral director. She could see my predicament and wanted to calm me down. So she offered to let me ride with her in her limousine. Immediately, I stopped crying and begged my parents to give in. Oh how I wanted to stick my head through the sun roof while sipping some cold beverage from the mini-fridge. I had seen movies and I knew limos had special buttons that could make all of my dreams come true.
My parents surrendered and I was permitted to ride with the lady. She was my new best friend. I joined her outside of her limo and she opened the front passenger door for me. I had been hoping to ride by myself in the back, but riding shotgun in a limo had to be better than riding squished in the back of our station wagon. As we pulled away from the funeral home, I was a little disappointed. The limo was nothing special. It was long and black, but there were no fancy buttons or tasty beverages. In fact, the front of the limo looked suspiciously like a normal car. What was going on? I wanted an explanation, but didn't know how to ask the funeral director who was now forced to ride in the center of the front seat practically straddling the gear shift while the driver drove the vehicle. That too was weird. Wasn't there enough seating where she could sit comfortably? And wasn't there supposed to be a cool, automatic, tinted window blocking the view of the back seats? There wasn't one in this limo. Instead there was a pink, frilly curtain.
I don't know if you picked up yet on my subtle hints, but I'm terrible at giving clues. The truth is, I wasn't driving in a limo. I was riding in the hearse. Great-grandma Lukikas was enjoying the full amenities of the back seat and I was crammed in the front. What a crock!
The funeral director, trying to be nice, handed me a roll of candies and suggested I share them with my brother and sister. I thanked her for the treat and crammed them in my pocket. Later, I ate the whole roll. Now you could say I did this out of spite. I was angry with my poor luck in not actually riding in a real limo, but to be honest, I don't think I really knew how to share. Plus the lady was hard to understand so I played that card to my advantage. Yep, I scarfed down the whole package. Turns out, they weren't really candies. Nope, they were antacids.
As a side note, a few antacids are quite lovely, a whole package... well, they didn't leave me feeling fresh and gas free. My dad said I actually turned green and he was worried I might pass out.
That was a pretty lame vacation. I don't remember much after the funeral. I'm guessing we might have stopped and saw the sights, but I'm not really sure. All I can remember is the hearse and the Rolaids. But isn't that all that matters.