Over the Thanksgiving weekend, all of our kids were home. Sort of. One was “home” thanks to Skype. Even a Luddite like me approves of that kind of technological stuff!
They all got to remembering a few of our roadtrips. So, what follows is a golden moldie from the Holiday Season of 2006. It was originally called:
A word of warning: This story involves a biological activity that most of us find a bit revolting- regurgitation. Maybe you’re thinking “Well, this pinhead has finally gone too far…he is lowering bloggerfication to an all-time low.” But, in my defense, let me say that in yesterday’s New York Times they had an article and photograph all about, what they termed, “whale vomit.” Apparently, if the stuff is real, it could be worth a lot of money.
The aforementioned “whale vomit.” Even the word “aforementioned” doesn’t make any of this any more palatable.
So, talking about this particular subject does have a journalistic precedent. But, how does that connect to the holidays?
The last time we traveled home to Wisconsin for Christmas was in 2001. After 9/11, it seemed particularly important to be around as much family as you could for the holidays. The trip from here to there is about nine hours. All went well for the first seven. We just pulled into Dickeyville, Wisconsin when things went very sour.
Yes. The town is called Dickeyville. You’d think they’d be famous for being the Home Of The Dickey! You remember that fake turtle-neck sweater thing people used to wear? I used to wear one sometimes. I also proudly wore a clip-on tie, too. So, there! Anyway, as far as I know, Dickeyville is not known for the dickey but it does have a fancy Grotto. It is wrapped around the Holy Ghost Catholic Church and combines religious and patriotic elements. This message brought to you by the Dickeyville Chamber of Commerce.
Anyway, we weren’t at the Grotto. We were in the parking lot of Bub’s Gas Station. Just as we crossed the Dickeyville city limits, we heard a troubling, gurgling sound from the backseat. Harrison, age six, had “refunded” his school holiday party treat bag all over himself…and his sister. Talk about your Greensleeves. We got him cleaned up…cracked open the windows, despite the cold Wisconsin air…and continued northward. We convinced ourselves that it was just because Harrison had eaten too much junk and then got strapped into a car for too long a time…it couldn’t possibly be some sort of bug! We decided to keep the episode to ourselves. My mom’s stomach responds to suggestion quite quickly. All a person has to do is rub his or her own tummy, say “ooh,” somewhere within the county and my mom will start to feel a little nauseated. If we showed up saying Harrison had “released the hounds” in the car, the weekend would’ve been over immediately. Looking back, I think grandma knew something was up before we pulled onto her road. When we went in the house she already had the Lysol sitting by the back door.
The next day we were back in the car to drive about two hours farther north to Tomah, Wisconsin to visit a great-grandma. By this time, Harrison was feeling better but when we entered the great-grandma’s apartment, Taylor turned eight shades of green. Green and skinny. If the Incredible Hulk and Nicole Richie had a child, it would look like what Taylor looked like that day. I took him back outside to get some fresh air. We drove over to the grocery store to pick up a few things…well, I went in…Taylor hung out by the dumpsters in the back. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like having an intimate conversation with a load of rotted fruitcake. I did have to give Taylor credit for trying to “draw” a wreath with his “inner acrylics.”
The Four Horsepeople of the A-puke-alypse…way after the fact.
Now we were at two down and four to go as we approached Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Everyone seemed to be making it until Christmas Morning. That’s when this “Oh, it can’t be a bug” bug hit my wife and me. There are few things that make a person feel more helpless than being sick, at someone else’s house, knowing you have a nine-hour drive ahead of you. I loaded up on Gaviscon and Immodium…packed the van…grabbed all the kids and got on the road. Luckily, it was an uneventful trip. Everyone sitting in their seats…plastic bags at the ready….trying to take any little bump in the road as gingerly as possible. Of course, by this time Harrison, the boy who gave the family such a memorable Christmas gift, was feeling pretty chipper. Word of advice: if you’re the one that made everyone else sick and then, when everyone else feels awful, you’re feeling better…keep it to yourself.
Actually, not everyone got sick. Our daughter and oldest son stayed well throughout the holiday heaving. Obviously, Santa liked them more. Of course, the van held onto the “Eau d’ Puke” perfume for quite a while and Taylor has to enter Tomah, Wisconsin wearing a false nose and mustache, now. But, otherwise, it was The Best Christmas Ever…if you don’t think about the smell…the color…the lingering nausea…the mess. Frankly, I think even Tiny Tim would’ve had serious doubts about being too merry. “Bless us everyone and hand me the Pepto Bismol.”