How I spent my summer staycation

This year, Dad said we couldn’t afford to go anywhere farther than the back yard because of rising gas prices. It took Dad two days to get the RV into the back yard. When he did, it was great.

Camping in the RV is a lot of fun. Dad lets us watch videos that we could never watch at home. One day, I watched all three “Shreks” in a row. And he lets us wear the same clothes three days straight. Mom wanted to go on vacation with us, but she said she had to stay home and work. Sometimes she’d come out to see us, but most of the time after work she would stay in the house. She said that was vacation enough for her.

Last year, we went to the Grand Canyon. It was really great. The best part was that they have donkeys you can ride down to the bottom. Donkeys are like horses, but they have stupider names – like Sally and Buttercup. No cowboy would ever ride a horse named Buttercup, so I said I wouldn’t ride down there until they gave me a boy donkey. The guide came over, looked at my donkey, and asked: “What stupid cowboy told you that was Buttercup? That’s not Buttercup. That’s Jolly Roger. Buttercup doesn’t have a white spot on her forehead.” I felt sorry for the stupid cowboy when everyone laughed at his mistake.

Sometimes, Rudy, who lives across the street from us, would come over to hang out. He was on vacation, too. His Dad filled up their back yard with sand and put up a volleyball net. We would go over there sometimes. Mr. Delfino said it’s the best vacation he’s ever had. He said he may never mow the lawn again. Once, Mrs. Delfino yelled at him for tracking sand through the house, but he didn’t seem to care. He said she should come out and let him rub some sunscreen on her back. It didn’t sound funny to me, but she laughed.

My sister, Halley, just turned 14, and she is so snooty. She acts like she’s 15. She and Dad fight all the time. “I need a real vacation,” she said. Dad said, “A vacation from what? The mall? I tell you what, how’d you like a vacation from that cell phone for a few weeks? I can make that happen.” She made a face and went into her room and locked the door. It made me remember how much she hated the Grand Canyon because her cell phone didn’t work there.

On the way to the Grand Canyon, we stopped to see Grandma, which was fun because she lived in the Olden Days before they had video games and chicken wings. She said kids didn’t used to talk back to their elders, and they knew what the word “no” meant. That must have been a long, long time ago. I asked her who her favorite rappers were, and she said they didn’t have music like that when she grew up. She said the television only had three channels, and they didn’t have DVDs. They didn’t have anything when she was a kid. She must have been really poor. I told her she could use my iPod if she wanted to, but she said she wouldn’t know how to use it. What’s to know? You turn it on and scroll through your playlists.

“What did you guys do for fun?” I asked her. She said they made cookies and pies in a bowl, you didn’t buy them in a store. I thought she was joking, but she said she’d make some cookies right now. It was fun. Kinda. Especially the part where you lick the spoon. If you don’t lick the spoon, the cookies won’t come out right or something. Even Halley liked the cookies, and she doesn’t eat practically anything.

We couldn’t visit Grandma this summer, so I called her and told her that if she wanted to have some fun, too, just make some cookies and send them to me. And she did. They were OK, but they weren’t the same. I think she forgot to have someone lick the spoon.

Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life” and “Baby’s First Tattoo.” You can reach him at

Copyright 2008, Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

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