Rick demonstrates both good essay writing and his own, unique, sense of humour.
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
This summer was an especially busy time for me. Normally, I like to take the time to relax at home in Burnaby. We go to the beach and explore various parks around the Lower Mainland. This year we decided to travel to other parts of the province that we don’t normally visit. Our exploration of BC took us to three places: the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver Island, and the Central Interior.
Our first trip was to Kelowna and the District of Lake Country. This is my hometown and my father and brother still live there. Unlike previous trips we had to pay for accomodation. My father recently sold his home and moved to a senior’s home, so we made arrangements to stay at a bed and breakfast on Okanagan Lake. We divided our time between visiting my 89 year old father, going to the beach and sampling the fresh fruit. It was very relaxing and therapeutic. We made the most of the seven days we had there.
After returning to Burnaby for a few days, we were back on the road to Vancouver Island. The purpose of this trip was to visit our friends from university. We took the ferry to Nanaimo and drove north to the quiet town of Campbell River. The weather was terrific and there was plenty of wildlife to visit. We stayed with our friends and enjoyed seafood caught in the local waters. After two days, we headed south to the capital of B.C., Victoria. We were impressed by the renovations my friend had done to his home. He was constructing a stone wall around the property and had built a wonderful entertainment room above his garage. My wife reminded me how clever and handy our friends are and how we are not. In all, we spent four days on the Island before returning home.
Prince George was our next destination. My wife’s mother and brothers live there for some reason. I had not been up there in quite a while and it was time to visit the in-laws. Unfortunately, our visit coincided with one of the worst forest fire seasons in modern history. Consequently, the sun was blocked by a thick cloud of smoke. Prior to the trip north I had been exercising daily. That routine had to be suspended due to the poor air quality. In addition to the health problems, the smoke left our clothes and our car smelling like a campfire. It took a week to remove the smoky smell from our vehicle when we returned. As bad as the smoke was in Prince George, it was many times worse in the community of Williams Lake. Driving through the town was like driving through a dense toxic fog. Despite the atmosphere, it was great to reunite with my in-laws
Visiting these differnt regions of the province reminded me of the vastness and beauty of BC. It is good to be back home, but I am now more appreciative of the slower pace of life that awaits us beyond the rat-race of the Lower Mainland. Hopefully, you will be able visit the far reaches of this country and experience all it has to offer.
(September 5, 2010)
Remember that essay you had to write the first day back from summer vacation when you were a kid? This is what I hope I can write in a few months when September rolls around:
That some mornings I started the day in my nightgown on the side porch, in a patch of sun.
That I slept in on weekends, and got up early on weekdays to take a run or to write.
That I perfected the turkey burger; juicy and flavorful with pickles, spicy mustard and tomatoes on the side.
That I pulled out the water logged ping pong table that dips in the center, dusted off the spiders and played ping pong with my kids.
Learned how to grill buttery corn and roll it in basil sugar.
Sautéed shitake mushrooms and peppers and called it dinner.
Got calluses on the bottoms of my feet from going barefoot.
Shoes began to feel foreign.
I stopped taking pills to help me sleep and I started to dream again.
Resisted having a drink every single night and was able to get through that tough hour at the end of the day when all I could think about was the relief that came from that first sip.
Some days I made my bed, some days I didn’t.
My daughters, 17 & 20, fell asleep on the couch with their heads in my lap.
I stroked their eyebrows and watched their eyelashes flutter.
I discovered three ways to make guacamole and we filled the house with music, left the doors open, our skin browned, and we painted our toes.
My girls let me choose a book to read aloud to them, or maybe they read to me.
We all fell asleep listening to each other.
I dreamed of cherry pie, and then I made one.
We went to outdoor concerts under a grove of redwood trees.
I ripped paper. I went wordless.
Could be found in the garden on my haunches. Figured out how to keep the garden alive with barely any water.
Rafted down a river in Idaho with my brother and sisters, their kids, my kids and my mom.
Stopped checking my phone, Facebook, email and tinder every five minutes.
The world went on without me.
I became a living, breathing, heart-beating human being again. I spoke less, listened more.
And forgot who I was, and who I was supposed to be.
And it was good, a very good summer indeed.