How do you pick your favorite summer memory? As I'm thumbing through my personal memory files, it seems like almost every good memory of my life comes from the summer. I went to camps, took swimming lessons, tried new sports, wore out the slip and slide, and generally took part in the leisure of the season, and those are all such great memories. The greatest memory I have, though, is of a family vacation.
This is bittersweet, because I have an older brother with whom I do not keep in good touch (or any touch at all) and I am estranged from my father. My mother and I have always been very very close, and in my heart SHE is my family. However, this memory of a family vacation has grown so romantic in my memory, perhaps because I remember it being happy. It's hard to write about memories, when you are a person who doesn't have a lot of them... but here goes:
One summer, for probably two weeks, we rented an RV and drove from our house in Minneapolis to St. Louis, Missouri to visit family friends. Along the way, we stayed in campgrounds and toured historic areas, but what really sticks out in my very foggy memory, is the togetherness that time on the road lends coupled with the turtle-like novelty of bringing your home on the road with you. In an RV there is room to move, and you can even go to the bathroom without stopping! This is particularly delightful, because it eliminates so many family arguments about when and where to stop. We cooked on the road, we ate on the road, we sang songs, we napped, we did what we wanted until we settled in for the evening at our "campsite" and got to know the local flavor of our home for the evening.
Maybe at heart, I've always been a bit of a vagabond with a fondness for a home base, and this was the perfect way for me to explore. My brother and I would quickly settle in and make friends with just about anyone and everyone for the evening, we'd exchange addresses, promising to write, and then hop back in the Winnebago to meet our next adventure. I loved the freedom of it. So much that it created in me this bizarre dream to retire in a big ol' RV and just roam the country. So far, Mr. Lindstrom is not on board, but there's still time. And darn it if I don't have plans to recreate this experience with my own children as soon as we're able.
I have often wondered if this was the favorite family summer memory for the rest of my family, but have never asked, for fear that they will remind me that it may not have been so spectacular as it lives in my memory. That would be certain tragedy.