Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To grandmother's house we go.. sure has changed since I was a kid!

When I was a young girl, to Grandmother’s house we go, was a very different adventure then the one we have today. So as we contemplate a ten-hour road trip to my folks house, I can’t help but think about those trips back then and how much things have changed.

My family is very large, five kids, me being next to the youngest. We had a car similar to that of the Griswald's complete with fake wood trim on the sides and a third row that faced backwards. Us kids always fought over who had to sit on the hump and you knew you had no pull if you were in the very back hump (my designated spot). We had no portable DVDs, iPods and we all were forced to listen to the AM radio, station of my parent’s choice (summer - baseball, winter - easy listening).

We did load up on books, car games such as license plate bingo and find-a-words. And without fail, every trip, my parents would pull out the “count the cow” game. Which looking back on it, they must have had quite a laugh that they were able to pull this one over on us because it is the most ridiculous, pointless game ever conceived. We would drive from Pittsburgh to West Virginia most trips and endured a number of rural roads though a lot of farmland. The one thing you can count on is a lot of cows.

The game was played with two teams, the Right side and Left. Being the designated “hump person” it hardly mattered which team I joined in on, as for many of the early years, I wasn’t even able to count. There were only a few rules, one point for every cow you can count on your side. See a white horse, get 500 points, pass a cemetery and lose all your points.

We would pass herds of cattle; too many to count as you’re speeding down a two-lane highway doing 70. It was the folks in the very back who were expected to pick up the count after the front facers had lost their field of vision. It was quite amazing that the back seat kids knew exactly which animal to pick up the count again, but they always came through for their team.

It seems we would play that game for hours, but it was probably only for ten – twenty minutes at a time. I imagine that it got interrupted by my constant carsickness, someone complaining about being touched by another or a “I gotta go pee!” proclamation from one of the car’s occupants. And still, I’m sure my parents still get a good chuckle over getting all their kids to play a game that had no point, no real winner and play like it was the last game for the pennant.

Now that I have a child of my own, I’ve found a new respect for how brave my parents were! Five kids, packed in a station wagon? No way would I have the courage to do that… not with out my iPod, satellite radio, DVDs, aqua doodle, computer with air card and… front facing seat!

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