Chainsaw“It’s the not the Destination, it’s the journey.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882). “Getting There is Half the Fun!” — Advertising slogan for Cunard Luxury Cruise Lines circa the late 1950s.

Whether it’s a trip to the grocery, or a seaside vacation, these are mantras I live by. There will be a playlist everyone can sing along with and enjoy. No need for phones, tablets or backseat TVs, let’s chat and play road games. There will be snacks and beverages provided. And stops along the way to acquire more if needed or to dispose of those previously acquired.

So as we set forth for our annual vacation the plan was simple. We are going to have a blast…for the next 4+ hours…whilst trapped in a car together. At least those were my intentions…which as the miles rolled out seemed to literally pave their way to that special road.

For reasons that were incomprehensible, Lil Red, my usually delightful lil spouse, was very upset. She was unreasonably angry that the tiny woman (that lives in my phone and tells me where to go) couldn’t do so, while simultaneously directing us to the nearest Waffle House. In 12 years of marriage we’ve never had an argument or fight (like yelling — no hitting). This was as close as we’ve ever come. I prayed that this wasn’t setting precedent for the entire trip.

After several unsettling hours (and a Waffle House — thank Gawd) we escaped the car’s confines for a confrontation calming, condo couch, conversation. It seems my beloved was having a variety of issues and was distressed that it would inhibit our long awaited get away. She was lovingly assured that we would persevere and make the best of it.“ was your trip?”

As it turned out she was unable to go in the ocean, play in the pool, take long walks on the beach, hang out at the arcade, play putt-putt or do anything that required being on her feet for more than 15 minutes. There by imprisoning her to the condo, with a balcony view, for most of the trips duration. This left yours truly tasked with accompanying our sweet, excited 10 year old Grand-saw on all aforementioned fun beach-time activities. Though he was disappointed we’d have to eliminate most of the “family” portion of our family vacation, he was sympathetic and understanding.

When it seems things can’t get any worse… they usually do. On day one the ocean decided it needed to incorporate some gymnastic stunts into my body surfing. Snapping my board and back simultaneously; as it attempted to educate me on how to do a proper front flip underwater.

PAIN… must persevere… for the child’s sake …so forward to the arcade. AGONY and where the grandson developed a weird obsession with the “play till you win mini-rubber-duck machine”. Onto Walgreens to acquire Aleve, which didn’t alleviate s*** and 18 holes of TORTURE at Gilligan’s Island Funland (and yes the theme song was on the playlist)!

Come the dawn, thoughts of calling the trip a bust were delayed by a child’s humble request to return to the sea… one last time. So back across the sand we go, expecting to be struck down once again (ya know — just to maintain the track record)… there was no disappointment. Board and back audible crack! But this time the surf exhibited mercy and its chiropractic skills by popping my back back into place. Things were looking… well, at least sideways.

Over the next several days contentment fell into place. Rising early, Saw 3 and I hit the waves; arriving back in time for Red to have rested enough to go down to the arcade for milkshakes, cheeseburgers… and more mini-rubber-ducks. She waved from the balcony as we swam in the pool. He and I putt-putted and then took her out for seafoods (there’s more than one). Short trips to the beach-wares stores were followed by snacks and family movie (or cartoon) times. Evenings were shared overlooking the ocean and the moon and fireworks reflected thereon.

Family time is anytime you get to share. Despite a rough start and having to redefine “family vacation” as it went, we made it work. By the trip’s end we walked away with many a fond memory…and 26 mini-rubber-ducks.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via through the Focus, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused. See ya.