|Travel was so easy - Without Diane|
Dad loved to travel.
And he was so much fun to travel with.
Dad would drive us to amazing places and show us amazing things, and sing and entertain us on the way.
And he took breaks.
'Breaks' which, for my Dad, meant pulling into a gas station and buying everyone a bottle of pop and a chocolate bar.
Notice, I didn't say 'healthy'. I just said 'fun'.
And sugar highs hadn't been invented yet.
To Dad, holidays were always taken across the border. He drove us all over the western half of the continental United States, with stops in California, Texas, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico.
We have pictures taken beside the 'Welcome to . . .' signs for all of them.
Travelling also meant meals on the road.
There were a lot of family-owned restaurants in the United States. And Denny's.
We saw them all.
And they made good food.
I love meals that someone else cooks.
And, let's just admit it . . . breakfast in a diner says 'holiday', doesn't it?
Sooo . . . breakfast. The most important meal of the day.
And the hardest one for Diane to eat.
Oh, I was enthusiastic.
But sometimes, it simply took a while for my stomach to awaken.
At least that's what Mom told me. And Mom was always right.
Plus, I ate too fast.
A character flaw that haunts me to this day.
Our family was travelling through Wyoming.
We had stayed the night in a hotel somewhere in the Star Valley.
It was time for breakfast.
Dad took us to a nice restaurant at the edge of town.
We were handed large, colourful menus. With pictures.
I loved pictures.
And shiny things, but that is another story.
There was one photo, in particular, that caught my attention.
It showed waffles. A golden heap of them. Topped with, wonder of wonders, ice cream.
I think there was fruit atop the ice cream, as a sop to nutritional convention, but all I really had eyes for was the cold, sweet stuff.
Who ever heard of ice cream for breakfast?
And the final miracle? Mom let me order them.
All of my dreams had suddenly come true.
My waffles arrived, in all of their sweet, golden perfection. Ice cream just nicely melting on top.
Ecstacy on a plate.
I dove in.
And I do mean dove.
I shovelled fast and hard.
Before the rest of the family was half through, I was licking my plate.
Ice cream is not something that you can allow to get away.
And then . . . my wonderful waffles and ice cream hit . . . my stomach.
It wasn't awake.
It didn't like it.
It would . . . GET RID OF EVERYTHING!
And so, my beautiful breakfast, so briefly enjoyed, ended up back on the plate.
My horrified siblings fled.
My patient parents cleaned.
And lamented losing a breakfast they hadn't even paid for yet.
And a daughter who was suddenly hungry again.
Never again was I offered more than the usual at breakfast.
Good nourishing food.
That stuck to my ribs.
Well . . . stuck, anyways.