"You'll be amazed," is what Dad said...

I've been battling a serious case of writer's block here recently. I know what's causing it, and maybe I'll share it soon. Or maybe I won't. Until I figure it out, I've decided to do a NoBloPoMo. So. From now until December 9th, I will blog everyday. Some things you may know, some days you may not. Either way, I hope you enjoy.

My family didn't take vacations when I was a kid. We had a camper on a lot at a lake, which is about forty-five minutes from our house, and that is where we spent our summers. I wouldn't trade my childhood summers for anything. (OK, I may trade the women from a nearby lot who always thought I was a boy. But, whatever.)

As my brother and I became teenagers, we started asking if we could go on a real vacation. You know, like ones where you stayed at great places like... the Holiday Inn(with a pool)! Ones where you got to eat out in restaurants every meal.

In the summer of 1996, we convinced my dad to take a road trip. The deal was that if we agreed to go to one place my dad wanted to go, he would take us to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg and then we would drive to the beach. My brother and I thought this was the best deal ever.

Until... my dad decided that he wanted to take back roads from our house, stop at whatever historical sites we could find, and go to the Civil War battlefield in Petersburg, VA. This is where the Battle of the Crater took place. (You may be familiar with this battle if you've ever seen the movie Cold Mountain.)

For DAYS before and then for HOURS in the car. (Timeout: I should mention that the day before our trip, I went to the doctor for strep throat. My mom wanted to cancel the trip, but my dad was so excited about seeing this battlefield that I insisted that I was fine and our trip was still on. I was miserable the whole time. Timein.) Where was I? Oh, right. For days before and then hours during the drive to this battlefield all my brother and I heard was how the Union soldiers dug a tunnel under the Confederate soldiers and blew up the ground right out from underneath the Confederate army, which left this huge crater that could still be seen today.

I admit, I was excited. My brother wouldn't admit, but he was, too. I love history, so to see a huge crater from the Civil War was fascinating to me. My brother was just excited because it involved something being blown up.

Once we were on the battlefield, my brother and I walked ahead of our parents. (We were cool like that.) We saw a sign that marked the path that led to this now crater that, to hear my dad talk, was the size of a small canyon. Even though, all my brother wanted to do was "get to the part where the bomb went off", he humored me and read all of the informational signs.

And then...

We reach the crater.

What we saw was a small little "hole" in the ground. You can't really call it a hole. Because it looked like part of our backyard. I mean, if you didn't have a sign saying, "HERE IT IS!" you would have walked right past it.

My brother leaned towards me and whispered, "Is this it?"

I whispered back, "Shut up. Act excited."

He responded with, "I can't."

After all of that build up, I was disappointed, too. But you know what? I loved our summers at the lake. Those summers were some of the best times of my childhood. That trip,though, was my favorite of all. Not because of the hotels or the restaurants or the things we did. But because, even though I was miserably sick with strep throat, it was the one time in my life that I remember that for five days straight we enjoyed each other, laughed lots every day, and just had fun.

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Heather Anne Hogan said...

This happened to me and Jenn at Hadrian's Wall in Scotland! Everywhere we went people talked it up like the Great Wall of China or something, like it was the most ominous, imposing structure in all of Europe, and the one single thing that kept the Scots from being conquered by the Brits for so long.

And so we traveled to The Wall. And it was, like, barely waist high. I mean, the British were the greatest colonizers in the history of the world, and they couldn't even be bothered to hop over some rocks in their own backyard? Lame, England. LAME.

Fun Pusher said...

This is hilarious! I think everyone's got a story like this - Rob and I have one from the OBX and the "earthen fort" on Roanoke Island. I mean - dang - if that was a FORT, it's no wonder that colony was lost. Come ON! I know it's partly our overstimulated, "bigger is better," society, but I expected more, dude.

I sorta feel like I should call the bluff of every history book I ever read...

Brooke said...

your dad sounds like mine! and i wouldn't trade our family vacations for anything. if i ever have kids i will NOT buy them a portable DVD player. the best/most memorable parts of the trip were getting there and back!

Jennie said...

Is it weird that I still want to see the crater?

Heather D said...


Roo said...

Love it. :)

AnnG said...

Sounds like a great vacation and awesome family memories!

Mendie said...

Was your dad at least excited to see the crater? At least you got to eat out along the way right?

Too funny.

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