Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Road Trip!

I remember so vividly taking road trips with my family when I was a young child in the family station wagon.  My two brothers and my sister would sit in the back seat and I, being the baby of the family, would sit in the front seat between my mom and my dad.  This, of course, was back in the day of bench seats and no center console.  How my parents endured such an adventure I will never understand.  There was pushing and shoving and "Mom! She touched me!" and countless times of hearing "I'm hungry" or "I'm thirsty" or "I need to go the bathroom".  There were no cell phones or iPads or entertainment systems in the car.  Just a radio that crackled a lot.  We played countless games of I Spy or License Plate Alphabet. 

A few weeks ago, however, my sister phoned from Tombstone, Arizona to say she wanted to fly to Miami.  After visiting my house in the Florida Keys for a couple of days, she then wanted the two of us to take a road trip around central Florida, ending up in Bradenton to surprise my oldest brother on his 75th birthday.  **Make a note here that "surprises" on elderly people is not always a good thing**

On my way to the airport I picked up my grandson, who was visiting his dad for the summer before classes started again at the University.  He was excited to see his somewhat crazy "Aunt Penny". Let me tell you a bit about crazy Aunt Penny.  After selling everything she owned and buying an RV and a couple of Harley's, she and her hubby Victor spent a few years traveling around the country before settling in Tombstone where she now spends her days making Victorian era dresses and playing dress-up carrying "Liquor is the Devil's Brew" signs on the street of this old west town.  This is particularly funny for her because she soon ditches the sign and meets up with her friends at the local saloon.  

As a matter of fact, our few days in the Florida Keys included touring Islamorada Beer Company Brewery & Tasting Room and their new Distillery.  

No, we didn't carry signs.

We spent a day in Miami Beach, playing in the sand and enjoying crab cake sandwiches at the Front Porch Cafe, walking along Lincoln Road Mall and sticking our toes in the water at Lummis Park.

If you look in the background of this picture you can see Miami Beach, Beach Patrol.  Hmmm.  Perhaps they knew Penny was in town?

Of course Penny was constantly getting into trouble and I had to keep a sharp eye on her.  

You'd think that I was the older sister.  

Naughty, naughty, naughty!

We then dropped Jim back off at his dad's.  We had so much fun with him and he was such a good sport about putting up with our shenanigans.

I think we wore him out because he fell asleep in the car.

After that, Penny and I headed north along the Florida turnpike to I95. Our next stop was Oviedo, Florida at my daughter's new house and then to visit with my son Mike and his family. We ate sushi and played with my granddaughter's Zoey and Addie.  I guess you're never too old to play in a box.  Best toy ever!   

Jamie is a writer and was in the midst of researching Russian customs for an upcoming novel.  One of those customs included how to drink vodka shots.  The Russian way.  Did you know the vodka shot is followed up by eating a pickle or pickled vegetables?  Just like you'd follow up a tequilla shot with lime and salt!  Hmmm.   They went down smoothly until I stood up.  

My daughter-in-law, Starla, stopped by and asked if we wanted to go to Target with her.  She was looking for yellow towels.  **Note to self - Don't go to Target while you are tipsy, even if you have a designated driver.  You'll end up buying strange items and wonder the next day why it was so dang important that you each simply HAD to have a plastic light up blaster gun that shoots bubbles.**  

The next day we hit the road again, taking I-4 west toward Tampa and then I-75 south toward Sarasota.  That's where we met up with Penny's step-daughter and granddaughter.  Lovely people.  Penny did her best to behave like a grandma.  I was proud of her.

Heading back a wee bit north we ended up in Bradenton where we checked into our hotel, the Hampton Inn in Downtown Bradenton.  We then headed over to the Outback Steakhouse where my younger brother, Roy, was taking my older brother, Bill, and his wife Faye out to lunch for Bill's birthday. Bill had no idea that Penny and I were waiting there at the restaurant with balloons, streamers, posters and us! Nice surprise!  

He had no clue we would be there, along with his grandson Michael and his girlfriend and Michael's other grandparents.

After lunch, we headed to DeSota Towers where our brothers live and Bill was once again surprised by the residents in the building gathering for cake in his honor.  Yes, the cake says "Happy Birthday Little Buckaroo!"  

It isn't often that the four of us can get together.  With me living in the Florida Keys and Penny living in Arizona and our brothers not being able to travel like they used to, our visits together are few and far between I am sorry to say.  But when we do get together, we have such a good time!

Unfortunately, we had to head back south the next day, traveling back to Islamorada.  Penny had a plane to catch.

I just want to mention a couple of things.  Never pass up the chance to spend time with your parents, siblings, children and grandchildren.  They won't always be there.  It is better to have memories than regrets.

And as for my crazy sister, Penny... maybe she isn't so crazy after all.  She learned a long time ago that life is too short to not have fun.

Keep on keepin' on Sister!  Love you!

#RoadTrip,#NeverTooOldToHaveFun, #NeverMixVodkaShotsAndMargaritas


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