A trip with it all, part 2

March 24, 2008

by Jennifer Gallus

Last week I ran out of room while I was sharing memories – good, bad, and ugly – about our family trip to Arizona.

I left off at the part where my 8-year-old was coming down with the flu, and emptied his stomach contents, mostly on himself, in the rental car because we couldn’t pull over fast enough.

After we cleaned him up, he managed to hike around the desert museum with us, but was not himself. After that, we went back to my mom’s house and packed up my husband, brought him to the airport, and said goodbye for four days.

I surprised myself by tearing up as we left him there, even though I knew I’d see him in four short days. Meanwhile, in the backseat, my poor son started burning up with a fever again.

We stopped at a store to stock up on medicines, and my mom, being the incredibly generous grandmother that she is, bought him a giant stuffed beagle. She said, “Well, if it makes him feel better . . .”

I thought to myself, “Ya, that’ll be a carry-on item when we fly home.”

The poor little guy was pretty sick that night and the next morning. By late afternoon the next day, we got him out in some fresh air doing something he loves – mini golf.

He seemed to be much better for the next couple of days as we did our sightseeing, until the last night before we were to go home.

Now, this is going to sound a little redneck-ish, but there is a truck stop with a great reputation for good food and even better deserts near my mom’s house called the Triple-T Truck Stop. You can almost see its sign for miles away.

My mom was going to take us there the last time we visited and then we never made it. So, the night before we were to return home, we decided to go there for dinner.

Hey, that’s where you’ll find the “salt-of-the-earth” people. Real people.

Anyway, as great a reputation the place has for good food, it’s still a truck stop, meaning its restrooms are not in the most desirable shape.

So, after my 8-year-old was done eating his spaghetti, he said, “I’m going to throw up!” I grabbed an empty cup, and made him carry it to the restroom with us.

Of course, he wouldn’t go into the ladies room with me because that would be purely embarrassing to him, and we didn’t have time to argue about this, so he went into the men’s room, which means I stood outside that door like a sentry.

One trucker looked me up and down as he walked around me to get into the restroom. As he walked in, he said, “Someone’s mama is waitin’ outside.”

Then, another trucker came walking out and said to me, “He says he’s OK, but he doesn’t look good.”

My blood pressure was rising. Of all places that my poor boy has to be laid out over a toilet, and me sitting outside not being able to check on him or who may be in close proximity to him.

Finally, he came out and said he felt better. We walked past the group of truckers who had been in the bathroom with him, and a minute later, he said, “Oh, I better go back.”

My heart sunk. We turned around and headed back to the restroom, but this time, he wasn’t in there very long and said it was a false alarm.

As we walked by those truckers again, one of them said to him, “Are you OK little guy?”

“Ya, I’m fine,” he said in the deepest voice he could muster.

As I said in last week’s column, there were many more good times than bad on our trip, but it was unfortunate for a little guy to get sick on vacation.

We had a wonderful time despite his troubles. My mom and step-dad spoiled us rotten! I enjoyed every minute of it, especially since my siblings and I joke that we’re orphans because our parents live out-of-state.

We miss them sorely.


This goes to show that slang words get embedded early on in a child’s vocabulary. After my 7-year-old had been running around and working up a sweat, he said, “I’m so hot – not like a girl, you know, sweaty hot.”