Family Trips Gone Wrong
Posted: January 29, 2016
I was reminiscing with a few friends last week and we started to discuss family trips that went wrong. I remember traveling the day after Christmas in 1978 to go to Florida to visit my grandparents on my mother's side. We tried to leave in the middle of the night to beat the traffic in the Chicago area, but we should have realized that this particular trip was not going to turn out very well since our garage door opener failed to open. Thus, we had to prop up the garage door with logs, knowing that upon our arrival back home, the garage door was not functioning properly.
When we started our trek through the Smoky Mountains outside of Chattanooga, TN, the weather took a turn for the worst. It was raining and sleeting and it was not fun trying to watch my father manage the steep hills in the mountains. In fact, one of the semi-trailer trucks in front of us ended up losing his brakes and we nearly followed the semi driver into a bed of sand on the side of the mountain.
Then as we progressed through Atlanta, GA, my Dad caught the flu and as we traveled about five miles an hour trying to navigate the new bypass outside of Atlanta, we had to stop periodically to allow my father to stop off at the side of the roadway. It was probably about the time we arrived outside of Orlando, FL, that we stopped to allow my youngest brother, who was six years old at the time, to use the restroom. The family all used the rest area, but upon leaving, it was discovered that my youngest brother's clothes were still on top of the car as we departed.
Naturally, when the family arrived at my Greek grandparents' house in Bradenton, FL, the weather was awful. In fact, there was no swimming in the Gulf of Mexico because the temperatures never rose above 50 degrees. On top of that, my Yia Yia (Greek for grandmother) never allowed anyone to use the kitchen after 8pm (Eastern time). That meant no ice cream treats for the kids ages 13, 11 and six after eight o'clock.
The moral of the story is that trips to Florida over Christmas break rarely turned out well for the Ropa family. In the future, we decided to wait until Spring Break to visit our grandparents in Florida.
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