When things go wrong, there’s always a silver lining
Posted: Friday, June 11, 2010 8:01 pm
So today, as I tell you about my family’s latest vacation, I’ll start by telling you the bad news first.
It can be summed up in basically three words — rain, rain, rain.
We left Union City late on a Friday afternoon and made our way down to Cullman, Ala. The children wanted to go swimming, but it was raining. The next day we stopped at Fort Rucker, Ala., to see the aviation museum. It rained cats and dogs, but least we were inside for the worst of it.
On that Sunday, we stopped at Walt Disney World for a short stay. That evening, it rained on us at Downtown Disney. The next day at Animal Kingdom, it rained on us while we were waiting for character signatures and during the parade. We got a short reprieve to go back to the resort to take a swim, but when we went back to the park for magic hours that night, it rained.
The interstate drive that Tuesday caught us in one of the worst set of storms I think I have ever been in. During the first “shower” we saw a car in the opposite lane hydroplane and spin around in front of a truck before sliding off the roadway. With three lanes of traffic headed south, we were in the slow lane going 30 in a 70 mph zone when a firetruck came up behind us with lights going. No one was letting him over, so we pulled onto the shoulder to let him by. The rain was so hard and thick we literally could not see the traffic and stayed on the side of the road for what seemed to be about a half hour or so. I wish I could say that was it, but a third set of storms moving across the interstate caught us again. This time we saw a mangled truck in the median with about eight emergency vehicles surrounding it. The person in the vehicle was being extricated at the time.
Once we arrived at my mother-in-law’s house in Coconut Creek, you guessed it, it was raining again. It rained on us in the pool and while we were shopping. The rain followed us on the way back home and during a quick stop in Memphis to go to the zoo.
Just one bit of bad news left. We also witnessed a man having a heart attack at a rest area. With no asprin in my medicine bag, I felt helpless. Luckily, someone had already called 911 and an ambulance was arriving as we were returning to our vehicle.
So, I did promise you good news and I do have it.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Fort Rucker, so go to the aviation museum. Admission is free and there are lots of interesting displays of airplanes and helicopters. The children were able to see the type of helicopter their grandfather flew in the Vietnam War and the type badges he wore on his uniform. I enjoyed the video where helicopter pilots told of their service to the White House, including presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. One pilot said he enjoyed the Kennedys, who always made sure they ate well. Another said Lady Bird Johnson hated smoking and once made him eat a cigarette.
We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World. It is truly a nice getaway from a typical vacation resort. There are animals on the property which can be seen from most rooms or from viewing stations in the hallways. There are also museum-quality African masks and artifacts displayed in the lobby and throughout the halls. We ate at T-Rex in Downtown Disney. It is a true experience and a must for those with children who like dinosaurs.
While in Coconut Creek, we saw alligators in the wild and spoke with a nice couple who moved there from Virginia earlier in the year. The gentleman said the alligators sit near where he fishes and have on occasion taken his catch away from him. We also had an enjoyable time on Deerfield Beach, oil free. We arrived shortly before sunset and remained at least an hour into the night.
The best news of all happened to us while we were at Animal Kingdom. While we were getting character signatures, we were approached by a cast member who asked if we wanted to ride on a float in the parade. Yes, ride on a float in the parade. What a nice opportunity to have to make the vacation very memorable. And, if you remember earlier I said it rained during the parade, we luckily were under a canopy on the float and barely got a stitch of clothing wet.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.11.10