Almost every summer, my family would load up the station wagon, you know, the kind with the amazing pop-up seats in the back, and make the 13+ hour drive to see my grandparents in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
My mom would get us to help vacuum out the car the night before (only now do I see the value of not sitting in your own family car filth) and my dad would drag the topper out of the garage and play Tetris with all the luggage.
The preparation for this trip would happen long before that evening, however. For weeks leading up to the trek, my dad would create ways to earn money for our epic “Fun Money Stops”. We could memorize Bible verses, help with chores and even take notes during the Sunday sermon and youth group to make an agreed upon sum of money. Dude was and is a motivated salesman. (And I sure did cash in on my sermon notes until I graduated college!) A week out from the trip, he would playfully declare in his winsome way, that it was TRIPLE POINT WEEK!!! We would earn triple the money to pad our wallets, so that at any point on our drive to New Jersey, we could see a flashy Sheetz or a bizarre souvenir stand and shout out “FUN MONEY STOP!” and without question, my parents would pull over and let us play and peruse.
For girls who loved to stop and parents who loved to make memories, this has made for a treasured childhood memory. As does the time when the car topper flew off and our clothes were flattened all over the highway. Not to mention, the countless hours of Adventures in Odyssey and camping at the KOA KampGround when we hit our halfway point. So will our without fail, stop at the “Sky High Pie Diner” in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. (I squealed when I found this picture of the diner online!!)
Such awesome memories.
It was this pretty plate of hodge podge snacks (ends up you can’t tell the pepper was getting wilty and the pretzels were just the crumbs at the bottom of the bag if you put them on a pretty plate!) we devoured during homework time the other day, that triggered my walk down memory lane.
In my mind’s eye I could see my parents, aunts and uncles sitting on the brick patio surrounding the never-above-70-degrees swimming pool on Clydesdale Drive. There we were noshing on beautiful plates of happy hour snacks. As a kid I lived for the snacks and the fun of being with the adults as they ebbed and flowed from light-hearted conversation, (laced with a few party tricks such as cherry stems tongue tied in knots), to the NY Times best-seller book they were reading. Meanwhile, John Lawson, my dignified Yale grad Grandfather would wait for the perfect opportunity to come bolting out of the house yelling “Geronimo” into the chilly water. Happy hours indeed.
When my Grandparents sold their home a few years ago, I was so sad to say goodbye to the tradition of happy hours spent out on their patio. But what happy hours of being with family and what great traditions to pass down. What memories to never forget!
Did your family take road trips growing up? Any other station wagoners?? Funny how the cars you grew up in become so iconic in your mind.
Did you have grands? Share your fave memories below! (And actually the “leave a reply” button is at the top of this post…any techies know how to change that?? I am a technical nightmare here…but willing to learn!)