A Slice of Life


My Own Slice of Life on Vacations

A sign hung on the wall in my dad’s garage that read: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. He said it was the story of his life. It seemed to ring true every time our family went on vacation.

We used to take trips to my Uncle’s cottage over the summer. The cottage was adorable and it was surrounded by a huge yard fully equipped with a fire pit, a tether ball game, a volleyball net, and enough space to set up bases for a family game of softball. There was a deck that looked out over the river and there was a pier that stretched into the river for our fishing escapades. A large tree with branches that extended out over the river and over part of the yard had a long rope dangling for us to climb on and swing ourselves out into the water. There was so much to do and such much land to enjoy but every single time we went on vacation it rained. Not just a little rain either. It rained buckets and buckets of water down on our vacation. As kids we laughed about the rain most of the time because it was hard to believe that it was happening again but my dad always seemed totally disgusted and defeated once again.

The home videos taken during vacation always had music playing in the background. It was usually the Beach Boys which I found completely fitting for our summer fun. The videos also always captured the rain with a bit of narration by my dad. He would always stand in the doorway of the cottage and film the creation of puddles and mud in the huge yard and mention that it was raining yet again during his vacation week.

When it wasn’t raining we took full advantage of all the cottage had to offer. Our favorite part of these trips was taking turns swinging off of the rope out into the river. We would have contests to see who could swing out the farthest and we would laugh at each other’s funny landings into the river. We also loved to swim out to a deep part of the river to meet Aunt Martha. Aunt Martha was a tree stump under the water that our cousins found, named, and introduced us to. We would all swim out and take turns standing on her and jumping off of her.

One year, more things could go wrong and did go wrong for us. Apparently, a few poison ivy plants had grown around the base of our tree with the rope and none of noticed until after we were running fevers, throwing up, and growing patches of red itchy bumps. Turns out that my sisters and I are highly allergic to poison ivy and that vacation week had to end early. Another year, my sister and my Uncle went for a ride on a small motorized bike and they tipped over in the yard. Luckily no one was hurt but it was just another something that went wrong. Another time, a bird decided to drop a gift on my mom’s shoulder and in her hair as she sat relaxing on the deck. The little things added up to compile a list of things that went wrong on every vacation.

To this day we joke about the weather forecast when my dad’s vacation time is drawing near. It still rains when he is on vacation even though for most vacations he stays home now. There have been summers of very little rain where my mom wished for rain to water her yard and the flowers and my dad joked that he would just schedule a vacation to ensure a few rainy days.

Despite the itchy bumps, bike crashes, bird droppings, and excessive rain, my family vacations are some of my fondest memories. I do believe that the saying “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” was written about my dad and I also believe that he passed down some of his unfortunate luck to my sisters and I. We already have stories that we can now look back on and laugh about of our own family vacations with our own children that as they were happening did not seem funny at all. So next time you are enjoying a summer rain, please know that my dad is standing at the front window of his house looking out at the falling rain and shaking his head in disgust because his vacation plans are ruined once again.


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