Buck stops here
It’s amazing what a vacation can do for your psyche and general attitude.
I hadn’t taken seven straight days off for several years until the week after Fourth of July and it was absolutely glorious.
No, I did not go to Acapulco, Rome, Hawaii or even Wentzville. I went to my yard, but oh, what a yard.
My place in the country is the kind of locale that urban people dream about spending their week of vacation in.
Growing up, that’s what everybody did around me in St. Louis. My dad and mom would work themselves to the bone and then every summer, we’d be off to the family cabin in Wisconsin, Kentucky Lake, Colorado, Canada one time, or just somewhere in the Ozarks.
When I got on my own and into the wonderful but not-so-wallet-filling field of journalism, I realized those vacations to restful and beautiful places would be few and far between, which turned out to be exactly right.
So instead of taking vacations, I lived in vacation land.
My first job in Cuba, Mo. put me on the edge of the Meramec River and all those other great float streams between there and the Arkansas border. During vacations, I’d just get in the truck and head to the rivers.
When I moved to California, I really was in the middle of a travel brochure. The Sierra is incredibly beautiful and I drove through it on a daily basis.
When my wife and I were first married there and didn’t have kids, we’d keep all of our camping equipment in the car so we could just take off at a moment’s notice.
Sometimes we’d take “a real vacation” and go up to the Oregon Coast. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I find it the most beautiful part of the entire United States that I’ve seen.
But most years there all I had to do was simply get out a fishing pole and head to a trout stream or lake, surrounded by local mountains.
When I lived to Jefferson City, I spent a lot of time at Lake of the Ozarks and on the Katy Trail along the Missouri River whenever I had time off.
This year when I realized I could actually get a week off at the same time my wife did, we decided to simply stay home.
I’ve already had people say “sometimes that’s the best vacation there is,” and they couldn’t be more correct.
We did plenty of chores around the house every day in the morning, but in the afternoon and evenings our ambition became slug-like.
One afternoon I sat underneath my gigantic walnut tree for several hours, doing nothing more than watching the wind make the corn wave and listening to the thousands of birds that live on my road.
So I can attest from recent experience that sometimes, all you need to do is slow down and smell the local roses as it were. The only traveling I did during that week was to the store and back.
It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.