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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Well Aren’t I just Parent of the Year? For the first time ever, my boys (eighth grade and fourth grade) actually were able to attend the last day of school this year to witness the pent-up mayhem prior to summer vacation. Every other year this has been a travel day (13 hours!) to meet up with my cousin and his family in beautiful Pawleys Island, S.C., where he owns a home, for a long Memorial Day weekend family tradition.

Of course, as any parent knows, the days of throwing the kids in the back of the Pontiac station wagon are long gone. As spouses who work together and own a business, getting away can be “challenging.” Having everything “ready” for the trip is exhausting.

We now pack enough electronics to jam a small country’s radar installations — Kindles, iPads, iPods, etc., along with all of the requisite chargers.

On the recent trip, when my youngest son, Jackson, awoke around the Corydon, Ind., exit, he immediately channeled his inner Clark Griswold with a battery of questions relating to ETA and time zones. I don’t believe we incurred any brotherly fighting over pillows and blankets or backseat territory (that can often be as contentious as the Gaza Strip), until darn near Frankfort, Ky. Of course traveling through Tennessee, they were in solid agreement over the 165-plus Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Was it to be ESPN’s Sports Talk or the Spectrum channel, and, most intriguing, was the old man willing to relinquish control? Into North Carolina, we had a late lunch, which always is easier said than done: Jack could grow up to operate Subways, whereas my oldest Max might someday serve Arby’s French Dip to his wedding guests. Thankfully, fate intervened, or in this case Momma with a stern, “Boys you will eat where your dad takes you.” Those moms have some serious mediation skill sets.

After a harrowing exit stop with my wife driving, who was a bit “unsure” over which way to get back out onto the interstate, we soldiered on with me behind the wheel, and into the back roads of South Carolina we went. After a brief stop to wash off a rubberized floor mat and to give a lecture that included “Jack, you have to look up from your device more often,” we continued the drive with the sunroof open through the South Carolina cities of Sumter, Andrews, Williamsburg (pretty sure not Colonial), and then Georgetown before reaching Pawleys Island.

Upon arriving — after unloading the drum carrier, er, car top carrier, and car contents — vacation began. The payoff: being there with my month-younger cousin as he turned 50, and the younger cousins crabbing, swimming, body surfing, and playing. Memorial Day with a large American flag on the beach and being with family was reason enough for the trip.

Will we do it once again next year? You bet.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker

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