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    Contest Winners - Respite Regurgitations

    Vicky DeCoster has written both inspirational and humorous essays for Atlanta Singles, Metro Parents, Omaha Magazine, Her magazine, Omaha World-Herald, and Single Life. Vicky’s inspirational essays have been published in the Don’t Sweat Stories (Hyperion Press) with a foreword by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff), the book Real Stories of Spirit Communication by Angela Hoy (Booklocker-2004) and Christian Single magazine. Vicky is the author of a book of humorous essays titled The Wacky World of Womanhood: Essays on Girlhood, Dating, Motherhood, and the Loss of Matching Underwear. Visit her at

    Respite Regurgitations

    During my childhood, it was a rare occasion when we piled into my parents’ yellow 1964 Ford to go on vacation. Dad, a bank president who loaned money to farmers, traveled the Midwestern countryside four out of five days a week and wasn’t keen on spending any more time in a hotel during the summer months. But one July, my parents decided to travel from our home in Nebraska to my grandparents’ home in northern California. We all knew and understood that my older sister, Kim, had a bit of difficulty with trips in the car. But we decided to put our fears and trepidation aside, packed the trunk, and took off for our first “real” family vacation – a three-day trip in a car with vinyl seats and no air conditioning.

    As we traveled along the Nebraska highway at 75 mph, Kim seemed to be fine, but my younger sister, Penny, decided to test her car door, just to see if it was locked. It wasn’t. Her car door flew open and Mom, who had apparently grown a much longer arm while I was enjoying the view outside the car window, somehow reached back from the front seat into the back seat, grabbed Penny, and held on to her for dear life. As Dad pulled the car to a stop on the side of the road, we all watched Mom have a nervous breakdown. “This is fun,” I thought as I glanced over at Kim who suddenly looked pale.

    Dad started driving again after Mom regained a normal heart rate. Kim was so white that she began to emit a soft glow. “Are you okay?” I whispered. “I don’t feel very good,” she replied. “MOOOOOOM, KIM’S CAR SICK! I yelled. Dad swerved to the side of the road and skidded to a stop. “No one throws up in this car!” he shouted. Mom hurriedly swung open her car door, ran around to Kim's side of the car, and opened her door just in time for Kim to vomit all over Mom’s pedal pushers and saddle shoes. Mother, always being the resourceful and creative one in the family, somehow managed to use dried leaves and gravel from the side of the road to clean her pants and shoes. Off we went again.

    Several hours later, we arrived in the mountains of Colorado. “Oh, the view is just gorgeous!” Mom exclaimed. “Let’s get a photo!” We all piled out of the car and stood as a group while Mom fiddled with her camera. “Everyone say ‘CHEESE!’” Mom yelled. “CHEESE!” we dutifully shouted back. At least I thought we all shouted “CHEESE” until I heard “BLAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” At the instant Mom snapped the photo, Kim vomited on Dad’s shoes. Did I mention she also suffered from elevation sickness? I couldn’t take it anymore. Vomiting is sort of like yawning … once someone starts, others can’t help but imitate. I put one finger over my lips as my cheeks puffed out like a squirrel hiding nuts. I gagged. Mom yelled, “IF ANYONE ELSE VOMITS IN THIS FAMILY, I’M RUNNING OFF WITH THE NEXT TRUCK DRIVER WHO DRIVES BY!” That Mom of mine sure had a way of scaring the vomit right back down into my churning belly.

    The rest of the vacation is a blur. I do remember finally arriving in California and seeing the ocean for the first time. And I vaguely recall a boat ride on the ocean with Kim hanging her head over the side of the boat. Did I mention she had a predisposition for seasickness?

    Whenever I look at my childhood photo album, I always stop at that picture of my family in the mountains of Colorado and laugh. The most important souvenir I took home that year was the lesson that a family vacation is just like life - full of unscheduled stops along the road that often provide the best memories and the heartiest laughs.

    Now, I plan my own family vacations. I always bring anti-nausea medicine and a camera. And before I take a photo, I have everyone remove their shoes … just in case I hear, “BLAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” instead of “CHEESE!”

    Clean-up is so much easier that way.

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