Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vacations nice, but home best

August 7, 2008

Taking a vacation, which really is getting away for more than just a long weekend, is what the doctor might prescribe for the working weary. Having not much time to do such a grand thing when one owns a business, my family and I ascribe to treating ourselves to at least one vacation a year.

It's surprising to me how many individuals and families do not go abroad, yet get stuck in a rut, working ourselves into an early coronary or mental depression. We lose touch with ourselves and our family and friends with the obsessed routine of our quest for the almighty dollar. The vacation allows us to step back into our lost selves and see life from a different perspective.

Ironically, even the simple pleasure of being able to awake on a weekday early, take a walk in the woods or down the beach without a care in the world is truly a pleasure of priceless proportions. This last week, we snuck away; not letting many know our whereabouts, hopping off the merry-go-round of work and obligation to just be normal people - vacationers.

Being animal lovers, some might find it a bit ironic we didn't take our pets with us. Because of motel, cabin and other restrictions at sometimes pet unfriendly institutions and having absolutely no room to spare once the car is packed to the hilt with our luggage - our pets would be mercilessly packed in uncomfortable conditions - they get a vacation with others.

Upon arriving at our destination, somewhere in western Michigan, one of our neighbors had a yappy beach digging, overweight Pembroke Corgi. Most of the sand castles the kids made at the water front this rambunctious canine undid in seconds with a relentless furry.

On one of these beautifully, cool mornings when I set out to walk in the shadows of maple, oak, beechnut and pine, I was surprised at how many pint-sized pooches rode comfortably in the basket of a bicycle. One senior citizen pedaled smoothly down the path as his Jack Russell Terrier rode gallantly, without nary a movement. It seemed he was enjoying his vacation as much as I. Another aspect of Master and Fido activities that amazed me was how many joggers there were in the canine world. (When I polled the felines recently, many said they had no time for jogging such a strenuously boring activity compared to couch potatoing). These fit dogs of varying breed, all ran with tongue extended and happy-faced stride.

The truly privileged and pampered pooches were seen riding aboard a cabin cruiser or in a sailing yacht. I truly envied these pets. What a life. I wondered where they "go" on board. I guess their owners have that worked out.

The motels and cabin we stayed in had cable television. We country bumpkins, who have not this luxury at home, got to watch such great things as "Animal Planet," "Animal Co," and the like. We even got to see an ASPCA hospital in New York City. Dogs and cats found stray, abandoned or abused on the streets were brought here for treatment of their afflictions at no charge. Kind of an animal socialized medicine. You might think we are a bit "taken to the dogs", but actually cable TV is a bit of a novelty to us. What else would a bunch of animal lovers view than "Animal Planet?"

As with all good and wonderful things, our vacation came to an end. The "runtime" of life awaited on the shelf back home. Our time was so joyously well spent. We all were 5 pounds heavier from all we over ate. We had great memories packed away in our suitcases of another great vacation. Traveling across America's breadbasket of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, I pondered "home." All the way back. As the familiar sights returned, and finally, as we pulled into our drive, both dogs rushed out to see the travelers returned. After a moment of hugs and licks, Minnie and Suz settled back into the shade of our maple tree - it was hot compared to the beautiful and cool weather we experience in Michigan - and we retreated indoors to the air-conditioned shelter of home. The phone rang it was our neighbor to the north. She informed us our cat had died while we were gone. Old Sylvester, probably, 17 to 18 years old, was found down by the barn, curled up. They buried him on the place for us. They also invited us up for dinner at 6, which we quickly accepted.

As I went out to begin unpacking the "modern day conestoga" our Honda "Pilot," I looked around, breathed in deeply, and felt the warm sun on my face about my face and shoulders. At that moment I realized there's no place like home (click, click, click) no place like home . . .

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