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Needs a vacation after stressing about going on vacation

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By Kes Colbert

Cathy wants to go on a vacation. I told her, “We live in Florida!” I don’t see how we can improve on that! I invited her to sit out on the back steps and enjoy the sun slowly sinking into the Gulf. I volunteered to take her out to Indian Pass and watch the tide roll in. We could stop by Jim McNeil’s store and have a romantic fried scallop sandwich on the way home. I offered to rent a canoe…

She is talking about a “real” vacation. I was about to suggest we could visit Mother and maybe take a tour of the McKenzie, Tenn. downtown area when she rather curtly avowed that a trip “back home” was not a vacation. She didn’t even waiver when I pointed out they’d recently planted some trees, built a new gazebo and cleaned out the fish pond on the square in McKenzie.

Ye gads, she even mentioned staying at a bed and breakfast! I don’t mind the $79 for the room; it’s the $53 I’ve got to shell out for a poached egg and some whipped cream that kills me! And you know how those things are always “within walking distance of the historic downtown district.” Yeah, right! We stayed in one in Dahlonega, Ga. a while back. I had to change oil before I could get to the paved road. The most important “amenities” they had was the map to town and the canteen of water!  

I think Cathy is easing into her second childhood. She is seriously talking about a whole week. Complete, I am told, with sightseeing trips, quiet dinners with real tablecloths and guided tours “of quaint homes and out of the way places.” Any time you have to pay a guy to tell you where you are and what you are looking at, I’m thinking you’re just throwing good money after bad.    

She is “suggesting” places like Albuquerque or San Francisco. I was trying to talk her into Nashville. “Hey, hon, it’s Music City, USA! They’ve got a fairgrounds and a museum. I’ll take you on a riverboat ride down the Cumberland River. I think there is a Civil War battle site around there somewhere. We could take a tour of Webb Pierce’s guitar shaped swimming pool. And the old Grand Ol’ Opry building is on Fourth Street. Plus, we could stay at Leon’s house. It wouldn’t cost us a thing. Paula can make pancakes and a sausage casserole that’s out of this world. We can pretend it’s a bed and breakfast!”

She didn’t even consider it.

“How about Memphis?” I wasn’t going to just lay down on this one. “We could walk along Beale Street. I’ll take you down to the Mississippi River Park on Mud Island. We can tour Graceland. I’ll feed you those dry barbeque ribs at Rendezvous until your belly pops. If we can find Sun Records on Union Avenue I’ll show you where Jerry Lee, Conway, Elvis, Charlie, Carl, Roy and the boys started. We, uh, uh, could stay over at your sister’s house. I don’t think Jo

Blair will mind. In fact, I

 

know she won’t if we promise her all the ribs she can eat.”

I’ve got a cousin in Paducah who owes me a favor. A “bed and breakfast” visit might just square it. “Cathy, you can’t believe how beautiful the Ohio River is from the Kentucky side. And I’m pretty sure Paducah has a restaurant with tablecloths. I think there was a Civil War battle fought close by. I could show you how high the water came up during the big flood of ’37…”

When did going to see your folks stop being a vacation? Mom and Dad took us to Granny’s and it was a vacation. We left our house. Somebody else fed the animals while we were gone. We spent the night in a different bed. We took a not-so-guided tour of the woods and the big ditch behind their house. Granny put a breakfast spread in front of you that would make your tongue smack the back of your head. And she didn’t need to hide any of the taste with whipped cream. Dad wouldn’t get on us much in front of family. I’m telling you, you can’t have a much better holiday than that.

I took Cathy to the cornbread festival in South Pittsburg, Tenn. One year we went to see Rock City. And we near ’bout got lost in Mammoth Cave. We’ve been to Uncle Clifford’s just off the Steadman Ridge Road. I took her to Aunt Ruby Nell’s house. We have eaten a thousand times at Uncle Womack’s. We’ve only missed a couple of the fall festivals up at the Mt. Zion Church. I tell you, I’m about vacationed out.                

Folks, I’m fighting an uphill battle here, and both feet and one hand have done slipped off the rocks!

Aren’t we in a depression? And a war? It seems like, historically, travel restrictions have been put in place when those state of affairs are present. For the sake of the country, we might ought to stay home until things get better. I would certainly hate to be seen as unpatriotic at this precipitous time in American history. We should be rallying around the flag, guarding the homefront, asking what we can do for our country, realizing that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself… We shouldn’t have to fear an over-priced and over-zealous trail guide “informing” us it might be dangerous if we fall over the rim of the Grand Canyon.

I have explained very rationally and most emphatically that instead of going to the Washington Monument, Hoover Dam or the Shedd Aquarium, we could just wait until the movie came out. I thought that was pretty clever. Cathy didn’t.

I wonder if you can get a little dab of whipped cream on your cornbread at the La Siesta B & B in Del Rio, Texas.

I will ask.