Don’t be a stick in the mud, eh?

Don’t be a stick in the mud, eh?


Summer holidays are supposed to be just that – respite from work and quality time with family.

But in reality, holidays are far from a relaxing jaunt in the woods.

Picture a family of four towing a tent trailer without the optional towing package. The driver is a guy who stresses out over the smallest detour in the road, and the gal is a woman who can’t wait to spend his money at the next mall.

The two kids (sisters) fight like the IRA, particularly when dad is trying to keep an eye on the trailer, which he often envisions careening into a bottomless lake.

While heading to Kamloops to relieve stress (you’ve got to be kidding), a passing motorist rolls down his window and shouts at the driver. “Your rear stabilizer is down!”

Great. Stop the Alaskan cruise liner on the side of a busy highway outside of Vernon and re-adjust the stabilizer that could have hit a large rock and wrecked the trailer.

“I gotta go pee,” the youngest daughter chimes, to which dad replies that she’s out of luck and will have to wait until the next gas station (probably 50 miles down the road).

“Waaaa, I can’t wait that long!”

Dad and mom manage to keep her mind off her bladder by putting on some music by Madonna.

Two hours later they pull into their campsite . . . right next to an industrial park. Dad gulps and says “Doh!” while heading into a Simpsons episode of “The Nightmare Weekend.”

At least the site is next to a river where power boats roar up and down. But nobody notices (or told them about) the train yard across the way. The family only discovers that when it retires that evening to a cacophony of whistles and wheels grating on steel rails. Hardly Gordon Lightfoot’s Canadian Railroad Trilogy.

“They looked in the future and what did they hear, a lot of damn noise from ear to ear? Trying to sleep is a loser’s game with all that screeching going on in the pouring rain.”

The next morning sees a ray of sunshine . . . and the smell of marijuana from a nearby campsite.

Great. Pot smokers. There’s at least a dozen in every campground. It was funny how the camp host enforced every rule in the book, even chasing down people who exceeded the speed limit by one kilometre. Yet there was no rule about refraining from smoking dope.

The host even warned people not to run over the garbage cans or hit the picnic tables with their vehicles. People actually do that? Apparently so at this campsite.

During the dinner hour, mom and dad cannot keep the kids at the table because the wasps chase them away screaming. At least these high pitched squeals prepare dad for that evening’s train concerto. (The campground’s website didn’t think to promote such unique entertainment.)

But the silver lining in all of that was checkout time the following morning. They were going home, the thought of which brought a smile to dad’s face (the second one that weekend).

Dad reciprocates a friendly wave to the host on the way out. Both would likely never see each other (or exchange money) again.

The drive home is uneventful except for yet another passing motorist pointing to the loose stabilizer, and the youngest daughter wanting to go pee five minutes after a gas station pit stop.

Mom is still mad at dad for spending over an hour in a video store, and another daughter is crying after he leaves her tin of favourite stones on the roof of the van.

Yes, dad was a stick in the mud that weekend, but he spent a lot of cash making his family happy. But money isn’t everything.


Lyonel Doherty



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