Our Epic Family Vacations

About this time every year, I get the urge to go on vacation. Not just any vacation. It rarely involves a beach. But it alway involves long distances from home, usually hard won. For several years, we drove to Central Mexico from Columbus, Georgia. I do hate to fly. But even more than that, I love to pack up and leave to destinations not entirely known. Just like those 70’s summers, so long ago. We explored everything we could find. It was an adventure. I wish every family could experience this. I guess I am lucky, owning my own business and having an artist for a husband affords us greater time away from our everyday lives. And, it brings us all together for a few weeks, without Modern Warfare, the computer and cable. Maybe I subliminally want to take my kids back 35 years to the awesome summers of my youth.

Three years ago we took Amtrak to Maine. We stopped in Washington, D.C. for a couple of nights, then New York and Boston. Once in southern Maine, we rented a car and drove all the way to Acadia National Park and back. Acadia was beautiful, but my favorite part was staying at the inns and exploring the little fishing villages, especially in Southern Maine. I think the best meal I had was in a mom and pop diner in Maine. We walked into this place with 15 tables, red and white gingham tablecloths and ordered the fried fish sandwich. It came in a paper sandwich boat with fries. Best fish sandwich I’ve ever eaten, they even have this big playroom for kids and an adult part for gaming, this was awesome we actually spend quite sometime there, just because of the game selection, if you wantt to Know More you can check it . Then we walked into town, where they had a permanent carnival, with rides and candy stores, (and a laundromat, thank goodness). They had this popcorn store called, Two Brothers Popcorn. It was awesome. You could sample the popcorn. My favorite was Lemon! Yum! And you could watch them make it.

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A spooky tale

Dusk

foggy_caddo_lake1The invitation was hand written and wax sealed, slid under her door.

The pleasure of your company is                            requested.”

                 Halloween Night           

The directions led her down a twisting, wet trail along the thick of the bayou. A late hurricane near the Keys bewitched the air, sent her hair flying all around, like one of the long-dead apparitions that appeared in the windows of the ruined hotels.

Tupelo Trees, standing knee-deep in in the brackish water, looked like skirted, gnarled, old women, sprouted from the underworld.

And the behemoth, orange moon seemed complicit.

Chills danced along her spine. A dark foreboding tinged her every thought.

But just as all seemed lost, she spotted a small cabin at the edge of the water.

She knocked on its metal doors.

No one answered.

She drew her velvet cape closer and knocked again.

“Who’s there?” Said a voice, low and smokey.

Instead of answering, she shuddered, imagining the beasts swimming under the dock. She banged again. The sound reverberated past her, into the wading trees, who swallowed it, zippered themselves shut, and now stood silent, watching and waiting.

The door slid open. Before her was a man with the blackest eyes she’d ever seen. Darker than the depths of the Mississippi.

“Hello.”

His accent reminded her of the dock traders and the bearded pirates that sailed into the harbor, their tongues, a music of French and Cajun.

His teeth were brilliant, white and pointy. And while his smile was wide, his eyes were solemn, arresting.

She couldn’t find her voice.

Behind him, three other men sat at a table, holding cards. A haze of blue smoke hung above their heads.

She blushed.

“To what do I owe this pleasure?” he asked.

“I must be lost,” she stammered.

His house was dark, only a blazing fire in the hearth and candles, even at the card table.

“I must be at the wrong house. Are you…?”

His dark beauty,…she was unable to look away.

“Leopold Lessinger.” He bowed, and then stepped closer.

There was a razor nick just under his jawline, so beautifully placed, it seemed almost purposeful.

He raised a hand to cover it.

“Maybe I’ve made a mistake,” she said.

Electricity crawled across the sky, silhouetting the orchard of Spanish Moss hanging from the Cypress. Thunder rattled the glass.

“You must’ve received my invitation?” he asked.

“So it was you?” she said.

“I’ve been watching you for so long. I can’t believe you’re actually here.”

“Watching me?” She felt faint.

“I meant waiting for you…” he whispered and kissed her hand.

And she found herself unable to think of much of anything, except his beautiful mouth. She wanted to draw closer to this complete stranger. Wanted to inhale him.

Her mind raced with fear and an insatiable hunger, unknown to her before now.

“Oh, blackest night, what trickery have you played? What spell must have you allowed the moon, that I hunger for this madness, surrender to its will?”

Without any other word, he slipped his hand behind her neck.

And she did not try to stop him.

In the darkness, a Screech Owl’s desperate cry echoed across the water, disappeared into the night.

 

 

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