A Rumination on Vacation

This last week, my wife, my daughter, and I took a bit of a vacation. I was nervous about doing so, to be certain. For one, the last time we thought to take one–spring break for my daughter’s Kindergarten year–happened right as the shutdowns and lockdowns from the novel coronavirus started hitting in earnest in our part of the world. For another, I have…challenges…having fun, as I’ve noted. But I am happy to report that things went well, overall; there are always issues, of course, but they were minor, and the family had a good time.

Clearly, a happy time!
Photo is mine.

Heading out from where we live, we went first to Houston, where we spend a couple of days. We traveled by way of Shiner, allowing us to see not only a couple of interesting historical markers, but also to tour the Spoetzl Brewery and sample some of the products of which my wife and I are fond as we sat for a picnic lunch under cloudy skies. And we drove the rest of the way to Houston along surface roads rather than the interstate, which made for a far more pleasant drive, even if it was a longer one. I think I’ll do so much again.

In Houston, we spent a fair bit of time touring around. My wife had grown up in the area and had lived not far from where we stayed, so we had a chance to check out her old stomping grounds, and I was gratified to learn a little bit more about her. We’ve been together for years, and I’m happy about it, and any chance I get to know her better is a welcome thing. Too, our daughter, Ms. 8, getting a sense of her parents’ background is a good thing; we live in the town where I grew up (for a little longer, anyway), so my history is clear enough, and getting the chance to expand on my wife’s for our daughter was good. So was going to Galveston, where we visited a confectioner and went to the beach; both were good for us!

From Houston, we headed to Lafayette, where my wife and I had attended graduate school. We stayed at a bed-and-breakfast there, the Duchess Downtown, where we received excellent treatment; we felt welcomed and appreciated and at home there, and I recommend it highly. And we revisited a number of the places we’d been together, including the office where we got to know one another while in graduate school and working on translating Beowulf. It was good to go back and find our bricks–UL Lafayette paves its walkways with the names of those who have graduated, so that we symbolically speed current students along their way as we remain part of the institution–as well as to go into the Edith Garland Dupré Library and find both my master’s thesis and my dissertation. Even better, both showed that they’d been checked out, and more than once!

We did some of the touristy stuff, too, of course. Chief among them was heading down to New Iberia, where we called at the Konriko Rice Mill and Museum before heading to Avery Island. At the former, we got some tasty treats that will soon grace our table; at the latter, we toured the Jungle Gardens and the Tabasco factory–as well as making a few purchases for ourselves and our loved ones.

We also took a little excursion to Breaux Bridge and Henderson, where we got to check out some attractions. Ms. 8 enjoyed walking amid dinosaur models and reconstructions (while her parents needed the exercise!), and the lot of us enjoyed mini golf, go-karting, laser-tag, and the like next door to it. Ms. 8 was especially fond of the karting; I drove her, and she got to learn that, while I drive with restraint on the roads, I don’t have to do so. Little speed junkie that she is, she thrilled in it..

Again, in all, it was a good vacation. We saw and did neat stuff. We ate good food (perhaps more than we should have.) We bonded. And we look forward to doing as much again in the future.

Help me give my daughter more such experiences?

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