Saturday, March 13, 2010

Worse for the Wear, but Getting Better

(Destin, FL) - When I agreed to this trip, it was abstract. My daughter, a senior in high school, asked if we could take a group of friends to the beach for spring break. "Sure!" we said without hesitation.
How do you get 14 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 to the Florida panhandle from northwest Louisiana? It is not easy, my friend.
We had a great big convoy. To borrow from the song and say it was a beautiful sight is a reach. I can assure you of this: from my perspective, it was loud. I drew the honor of driving the van which contained a set of the youngest travelers, the ones who fairly can still be called girls. Abstract became reality quickly.
They were well behaved and respectful, but they're girls. Girls who are excited about going to the beach. Girls who are excited about being away from their parents, out of school and with a large group of friends. Girls cooped up in a van for eleven hours, enjoying sugary snacks along the way.
I compelled one of the oldest travelers, someone I know particularly well, to travel with me in the van. The idea was for her to be a navigator, co-pilot and communicator with her younger counterparts. She may have had the best intentions, but the result wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.
Note the traveling time: eleven hours. It wasn't supposed to take that long. Moments after my wife, driving another vehicle, said something about us making remarkable time, we ran into a massive traffic jam just west of Mobile, Alabama. Our route takes us through a tunnel that runs under Mobile Bay, and something (presumably an accident) closed a lane in the tunnel. The stack-up cost us at least an hour.
By the time we arrived at our condominium, the girls were like caged animals, wound up with cupcakes and anticipation. When we finally made it to the beach, I said, "Don't worry about unloading the car, girls. Just go see what it looks like.".
They exploded from the van, screeching and running wildly toward the sand and the surf.
We got here just in time to see the sunset. If the first couple of hours are any indication of the week ahead, this should be a trip they will remember.
Me, too.

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