Monday, November 2, 2009

And We're Off...

   Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan

I blame it on my grandparents. They’re the ones who first took me travelling, bundling me off to exotic locales like Panama, Grenada, and Arizona. What was not to like? The fun? The different cultures (not so much Arizona, though it might have marked my first meal at a Denny’s)? The free stuff on the plane? A kid could really clean up back then, what with all the airline comic books, replica pilot’s wings, and silverware for the taking. I must have had enough flatware to throw a small dinner party, complete with complimentary unused airsickness bags if the food were subpar.

And then there were the stories, often told so frequently they passed into family legend. They always served as far better souvenirs than any tchotchke ever could, though sometimes a souvenir magnet might have sufficed. Do we really need to hear about the irony of my crying that time on a ship when I was presented with a crib rather than a bed? Better that we talk about the time our rental car was stolen in Barcelona, or the time in Turkey when my grandfather inadvertently wore a hat that was meant for circumcision candidates. I wasn’t even there for that one, but I know the story so well it’s as if I had been.

Even a simple local drive could turn into an adventure as my sisters and I gave my grandmother random directions (“turn right, now left”) in a game of Get Lost. Only dinnertime or military intervention (we dead-ended at the entrance of a Coast Guard station manned by armed guards) could halt our expeditions.

It’s been a few decades since we negotiated the back roads of Long Island in my grandmother’s copper-colored Plymouth Duster, and a couple of years since my grandparents’ long and entertaining story came to an end. Thanks to them, though, I’m still playing Get Lost, admittedly sometimes unintentionally, still on the lookout for good stories and, of course, free stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
Gotta Gettaway by Josh Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.