Human condition: Smile … you’re on vacation!!! _lowres

 

Many summers ago, my husband and I planned a vacation trip with three small boys and my mother-in-law to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

A couple of days before we were scheduled to leave, the air conditioner went out in our minivan. The budget was tight back then. We could fix the air conditioner and stay home or hit the road with the windows down. We were feeling adventurous and evidently my mother-in-law was, too, because she still decided to come with us.

Other than attending the Passion Play, we really didn’t have a plan. Actually, we didn’t even have a reservation!

I was smiling when we took off in our little red minivan, packed to full capacity with people and luggage and the windows rolled down. I had no idea that the broken air conditioner was just the beginning of this adventure.

Despite the heat, the trip went well until we stopped at a rest area for the picnic lunch that we had packed … or NOT! Next stop, fast food.

Then we hit the hills in Arkansas, where turkey and chicken farms are plentiful. There was no escaping the smell with the windows down, and we could not get to our destination fast enough.

We arrived in Eureka Springs hot and tired, but with no reservations, we had to shop around for an affordable hotel. I was not smiling as much at this point.

I remember a day or so doing the “vacation” thing before one of the boys got sick during the night — throwing up everywhere and by the next morning, diarrhea.

By the next night, the other boys had followed suit. And why not my husband and mother-in-law, too?

By some miracle, I did not get sick. So, when I wasn’t cleaning, washing and spraying Lysol, you could find me outside by the pool. I was not smiling!

Thankfully, the stomach bug was of the 24-hour variety, so we were finally able to resume our vacation, enjoying the area and the Passion Play.

On our last morning, we had a quick breakfast of doughnuts and milk.

About a half-hour into the trip home of up and down hills, one of the boys said his stomach hurt and promptly threw up all over everything, including his brother who was sleeping on the floor.

We pulled over as fast as possible, but the damage was done.

There was lots of crying and gagging and I was not smiling — I was too busy crying and gagging! Let me tell you, that was one long ride home.

My mother-in-law was a really good sport throughout the trip, but she never wanted to go on another vacation with us.

Actually, I didn’t want to go on another vacation for a long, long time!

— Duhe lives in St. Amant

Advocate readers may submit stories of about 500 words to the Human Condition at features@theadvocate.com or The Advocate, EatPlayLive, 10705 Rieger Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. There is no payment, and stories will be edited. Authors should include their city of residence.