Hunker Down

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 09:07 AM.

            Taking a trip of any kind when we were growing up was a bit of a relative thing. It depended on how close the relative lived. If we could get over there and back in a day, we were more apt to go. If it involved someone feeding your chickens or looking after a milk cow, you could forget about it.

            No one took a vacation back then. We went to visit Aunt Beatrice or Uncle Hugh. Thanksgiving we would go to Pa and Grand’s with everyone else in the family. The rest of the time we hung pretty close to the house. I can’t for the life of me understand why today. We weren’t doing all that much mind you, but we were close by in case something broke out!

            Bobby Brewer and I joined the Cub Scouts because they marched in the Strawberry Festival down at Humboldt. That was thirty-four miles away and you talk about a road trip! The school loaned us a bus and the whole troop rode down together. I carried the Troop 78 flag one year. You’ve never seen so many people in your life. ’Course, I didn’t see much of the crowd, any of the downtown area, precious few of the big houses along the route and I didn’t cap open one strawberry, I was too busy struggling to keep step with the Cubbies on either side and the flag in the air at the same time. 

            Buddy Wiggleton and I went out for junior high basketball when Coach Scott told us he’d scheduled games at West Port, Lavinia and Clarksburg. We did an inordinate amount of running that winter in order to make a limited number of road trips. And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure Lavinia was worth it. It was dark, cold and rainy when we pulled in. We dressed on the bus, blew an eleven point lead late, crawled back on the bus and bee lined out of there without actually seeing much of anything except the incredible tiny gym.

            We went to church camp one summer up at Camp Linden on the Buffalo River. It was neat. We built a fort and went rafting and swimming. The counselors set around after supper asking us what we normally did if we were back in our hometowns. Three out of four guys answered, “We’d be building forts, rafting and swimming.”

            I dreamed of going to Del Rio, Texas, Tombstone, Arizona or Hollywood. I just knew I would run into Tex Ritter or at the very least, one of the Sons of the Pioneers. The Grand Canyon would have been a treat; as would any number of alligator farms stretched out along the Florida-Georgia line. I would have settled for Top Ten Dance Party in Jackson, Tennessee, for goodness sakes! I just wanted to take a road trip. None of us had ever flown in an airplane, spent anytime away from our parents or stayed in an actual hotel. 

            We felt like the world was passing us by. Chattanooga had the Look-Outs but that was no way close to any of our grandparents. Elvis was tearin’em up in Memphis. But that might have well been the moon for all the good it did us. We talked big….but the truth is we really went nowhere. Fast!

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