By Greg Price
Another family vacation is in the books and once again there was plenty of interesting observations to be had with Seinfeld qualities to them. So with no further adieu, here is the lighter side of my vacation.
BORDERING ON LUDICROUS: Perhaps the border guard at Coutts was having a bad day. Perhaps it was simply a power trip. I have crossed the Coutts border into Montana more times than I can remember and for the most part, the process has been non-descript.
But, throw some delicious Taber corn into the mix, and all of a sudden it’s like DEFCON 1. Quizzing various locals at Wing Wednesday of whether I’d be allowed to bring some Taber corn over the border to my Great Aunt and Uncle in Great Falls, Montana, the consensus was yes with a couple of people having done it themselves previously. But apparently, it is not allowed in Washington, the state we declared we would be going through on our way back from Montana to visit family in Osoyoos, British Columbia. She said she’d have to dispose of the corn. Apparently the part we mentioned about cooking the corn in Montana for family fell on deaf ears. “Well, how do I know that?” the Little Miss Sunshine border guard quipped — three times…followed by “You know, you’ll get into big trouble if you’re found with that corn in Washington.” I start to think to myself, yes, we’re going to hold onto this corn for the three days we are in Montana, just so we can transport it later into Washington…much like fine wine, corn is better when it’s aged. When she asked my parents, that I was traveling with, what they did for a living, I’m sure she was disappointed to hear ‘retired,’ instead of ‘international corn smugglers.’ Apparently there is the threat of ISIS and Taber corn that national security has to be wary of. My cousin Phil sarcastically noted that when I reached the Washington border, if they were wondering if I still had the Taber corn on me, that I should show them… ‘but it’s not going to be a pretty sight.’
ROAD TRIP: It had been quite a long time since I had been in a car with my parents for a long car ride. I knew it was getting off to a good start when I saw immediately beside me in the back seat was a plethora of discount chocolate. There was of course some nattering back and forth of what the best course of action is in driving skills as only long-term married couples can have, but what I found most troubling was at times, the soundtrack of the road trip. I don’t despise country music. I have my likes in your more traditional fare in Trevor Panczak, Corb Lund etc. It’s the country twang that is basically applied to pop music I grit my teeth at — and sometimes the masterful lyric writing. One such diddy is from Trace Adkins’ ‘Hot Mama Song’. ‘An you’re one hot mama. You turn me on. let’s turn it up. An’ turn this room into a sauna.’ I do not recall what the following lyrics were, I thing they are drowned out by my exaggerated groan at the improper English, annoying twang and a forced rhyme. It quickly had me wondering why I didn’t bring a couple of extra punk music CDs with me.
AN ACQUIRED TASTE: My parents made their maiden voyage to Golden Corral Restaurant, and with a motto of ‘20 Meats, 20 Salads, 20 Desserts,’ you can fathom what type of restaurant it is. Apparently two local football teams in Great Falls knew of its gluttonous ways as well, as I’ve never seen food move so fast in my life. It was like a Star Trek death match just to fend off a fellow customer for the last piece of meatloaf in the tray.
MR. AND MRS. WINER: Went to a tour of five wineries when I was near Osoyoos and I knew I was way over my head. For me, I either like the wine or I don’t. I can’t describe after seeing the legs on it, taking a big smell of it, and then consuming it that “it has heady overtones, a dash of hickory and an ounce of mystique to it.” I should write wine reviews, but what does “an aura of heightened value, interest, or meaning surrounding something, arising from attitudes and beliefs that impute special power or mystery to it” as a definition for mystique have to do with wine? Sounds awfully pompous to me….much like the couple we met at one of the wineries. Asking how the tour was, they said ‘fantastic, this bottle is $75, but worth every penny.’ The winery let us sample the $75 bottle in question and while good, it is not like it blew away the bottles that were between $10-$25. Does someone buy an expensive bottle of wine and that qualifies them as a connoisseur? Seemed like a bunch of window dressing to me. Have your $75 bottle of wine, I’ll host a party with seven other bottles of other wine that are just as tasty, but first I should spit out my gum before I sample this wine.
SWINGERS: ‘I haven’t even picked up a club this year.’ Those words gave me that little bit of false hope. Despite pushing 70, I have never been able to beat my father at golf. Five shoulder surgeries in and advancing age, and the man just has a natural knack for golf for you weekend hacker. Straight, long drives, accurate approach shots and steady putting. I knew I was in trouble right off the first tee when he drove his first shot long and straight in Osoyoos after ‘having not picked up a club this year.’
I can at least take comfort in the fact that not only did he beat me, but he beat my uncle and aunt as well who were regular golfers at the course in question multiple times a week. Sigh…maybe one day.
FAMILY FIRST: There was fancy restaurants, scenic forests, chalk festivals, floating pubs, ocean views etc. on my vacation, but the biggest attraction was family. Cousins, aunts, uncles, mom and dad all made the trip memorable in that I am blessed to have an extended family that cares about me.
Memories of distant places are fine, but home is always where the heart is.