A Vacation with My Dad, by Ethan Vye, Newark, DEA vacation with my dad is like a flashback to the Griswold family in the "National Lampoon" movies. My dad always feels like he has to rush, rush, rush. He always has everything planned. He never seems to relax.This year for vacation, my family and I went to visit my grandmother in Naples, located on the southwest part of Florida's peninsula. Because my father planned this trip so far in advance, we flew into Tampa and probably saved fifty dollars on four plane tickets. Our first task was to pick up our rental car and drive two and a half hours to Naples. About forty-five minutes into our journey, we stopped at one of my dad's favorite restaurants: The Cracker Barrel. Please understand that this, too, was planned in advance. There are no Cracker Barrels in Delaware and what would a vacation be like without its excellent home-style cooking? After this mandatory stop (my father planned for it to take precisely 45 minutes), we rushed on to Naples. We landed at my grandmother's house a bit stressed, but well within my dad's projected arrival time. We said our hellos and hit the mattresses hard.The next morning, Dad gathered the family together and began discussing the vacation agenda: beach, eat, sleep beach, eat, sleep, beach, eat, sleep ... I think you get the point. Well, my brother and I had a different agenda. The granddaughters of my grandmother's neighbor had traveled to Naples too. Although we met them last year, it wasn't until the end of the vacation that everyone really felt comfortable. Thanks to my brother, the greatest keep-in-touch guy that I know, plans had been made with them to have a great time this year. (Oh no! I did say "plan." I hope this Dad thing isn't contagious).We knew that we wouldn't be able to change my dad's agenda, so we just kept "missing" important times. For example, if you weren't ready to leave for the beach at the specified time, too bad for you - you were left at home. Likewise, if you weren't ready for dinner when it was time, you were left at home. Needless to say, my brother and I just couldn't keep up with the parental schedule. As soon as my parents left for the beach, we went to meet the girls. We did everything together. We went to the pool and to the beach. We played cards and watched movies. We hung out at the mall and tried on clothes that we would never even think about buying. We became regulars at Dairy Queen. It was a difficult schedule, but someone had to do it.Like all good vacations, this one was over before we knew it. It was sad to leave friends and go back to my dad's agenda. My brother and I said good-bye to the girls, gave our hugs and promised to write to each other. We kissed Grandmom and climbed into the car.This journey home, however, was an uncommon one. We left Naples a bit later than my dad had planned and sped toward Tampa. We had to stop for breakfast at MacDonald's. It was part of the agenda and even though my mom tried to convince my dad to skip the egg and cheese biscuits, we stopped. Well, to make a long story short, we missed our plane. As we stood in the huge line to arrange for another flight, my dad suffered. He kept looking at his watch, as if he could freeze time. When we finally reached the agent and explained our situation, I heard something that I wasn't expecting. "All flights leaving any airport in Florida are booked until Wednesday." This was Saturday. My brother, my mom and I started smiling. My dad turned pale. What? A change of schedule? Again, it was a sacrifice to have to spend four extra days, but ...Fortunately (I guess), my dad persisted and the agent managed to get the four of us on a later flight the same day. After we arrived home, my dad rushed to unpack the suitcases and store them away for the next vacation. He began to plan .... c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.