Growing up, family vacations were rare. Because we had so many responsibilities on the family farm year-round, vacationing was usually out of the question. We went on the bulk of our vacations when my sister and I were still in Elementary school when my family didn’t have as many responsibilities. As it grew, the responsibly between all of us began to grow, and for a span of nine years, we never had a chance to go on a vacation.
Before I graduated high school, my family announced we were actually going to get a chance to go on a vacation. I suppose since I was about to begin college and thus the next step in my life, my parents felt this would be one of the last times we would get to spend a vacation together as a family. They told us we would be going to the vacation destination where most of my hometown frequented every year: Branson, Missouri. It was the most unoriginal choice my parents could have made – the equivalent of someone in Arizona choosing to vacation at the Grand Canyon.
But I didn’t care. Branson had its moments, and because I hadn’t been on a vacation in nearly a decade, the destination didn’t matter: I just wanted to leave the state for once!
I had also learned a lot since our last family vacation. For starters, I had discovered long ago that it was easy to embarrass my mother in public; too easy, in fact. Her face would get red, she would look noticeably irritated, and she would get furious if anyone even remotely embarrassed her in a public place. To the rest of my family this was hilarious – especially since none of us are easily embarrassed in public to begin with.
Thus, I decided that if this was going to be our last traditional family vacation, I was going to make it as memorable as possible. In my mind, the best way to do this was to embarrass my mom every chance I had. Looking back, it was definitely a mean-spirited thing to do, but at the time? Nothing seemed more right.
We arrived at Branson late afternoon. We unpacked our bags at the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and wanted to kill some time before we headed back to the hotel. We spotted a mini golf course on the side of the road (these are littered throughout Branson), and because my father loves golf, he decided we should all play. I too enjoy golf, so this was music to my ears.
I also noticed the mini golf course was packed, to which a lightbulb went off in my head: this would be the perfect place to begin my week of embarrassing my mother. It was.
I waited until we were on the third hole. A lot of people were behind us already, and lots of people were playing ahead so if I made even the slightest commotion, people would notice us. I walked over to the large, plastic safari animals lined up between the third and fourth hole and began pretending to kiss and passionately rub the back of the gorilla, the neck of the giraffe, and the trunk of the elephant. This went on for about a minute until people walking across from us on the sidewalk stopped to stare at me and the golfers in the vicinity began to laugh at my ruckus, and once my mom saw what I was doing? She was horrified.
“What are you doing?!” she screamed, “you’re in public.”
“Just waiting on my turn,” I replied.
She was annoyed, but she dropped it. Around the sixth hole there was a lot hill, and I decided to get into a ball and roll down it across the greenery of the course. I made sure she saw this, and when I began my walk back up the hill? Her face was redder than I had ever seen it.
As the week continued, I would embarrass my mom sporadically. It didn’t happen all the time – only a few times per day, and nothing too embarrassing either. It kept us all laughing the entire week – save for my mom, of course. Nevertheless, we had a great vacation, and when my mom looks back on it now? She agrees that yes, causing her nonstop embarrassment that vacation was indeed hilarious.