Tuesday 20 August 2013

Write-Edit-Publish's Challenge for August - Vacation

Welcome to the Write-Edit-Publish's [formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] Challenge for Wednesday, 21st to Friday 23rd August 2013 - Vacation.

Here's my text:


It was an ordinary Saturday morning in the middle of August and still very hot in Central Virginia.  Olive Arbogast sat in her air-conditioned kitchen reading newspapers ads for last-minute air-trips to far off tropical islands and European capitals.

"Geoff dear, would you like to take a trip somewhere?" asked Olive.

"What kind of trip?" inquired Olive's husband sitting in the living room, hiding behind a copy of the Wall Street Journal.

"A vacation trip."

"No thanks, Olive. I'm fine right here."

"Barcelona is one of the ten most popular cities right now", replied Olive hoping to kindle some interest in travel in her tired spouse.

"I'm fine right here, dear" replied Geoffrey Arbogast, putting a lid on the topic.

But Olive continued to dream about vacations as she poured herself another cup of coffee. Vacation! What a word, thought Olive, as she let her mind drift back to childhood memories of every vacation trip that her family ever had gone on. Olive's mother came from Sweden and hated the hot Virginia summers. Her father doted on his wife by taking vacation trips during the short two weeks that he was free from his government job in D.C. They went north to escape the humid heat in a time before air-cooling in ordinary homes was available. Olive loved New England. She and her mother loved the cool summers of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. They went camping. Living in a tent, they could avoid expensive hotel bills. It was a wonderful way of being close to nature in forests that reminded her mother of Sweden.

Olive could not remember dates or exactly what year they did what. Memories of a dozen trips were all rolled into one. She remembered living in a tent in sunshine or rain. She was little enough not to have to carry much or help out with heavy chores. She had vague memories of staying at Lake Champlain in Vermont, and better memories of what it was like to camp at Baxter State Park and even bathing in the icy waters around Mount Desert Island, both in Maine. It was there, on Mount Desert Island, that her father took the whole family out for a lobster dinner at a very nice local restaurant. It was the first time she tasted steamed lobster with melted butter. Yummy. It was the one spot of luxury in days and days of damp sleeping bags and powdered soups. 

At the camping sites there were no real toilets, just dry closets. They did their business there or behind a bush when no one was looking. Olive remembered the gnats and mosquitoes. She used leaves instead of toilet paper. A small price to pay for a cool summer similar to a Swedish summer, and making her mother happy.

Vacations were not just for camping. Olive's parents took the time to visit relatives on their way to their campsites: Grandpa and Grandma White, older and younger uncles and aunts, and cousins. Cousins her age. As an only child, Olive always longed for siblings; a cousin was almost a sister or brother. But most of these people were now dead. Those who were children back then were now adults with families of their own. Olive missed her older relatives.

Olive missed her father too. She could still hear his kind, calm voice in her head: Daddy was always thinking of mother and how she suffered in the hot weather. How did I wind up staying in Central Virginia? Couldn't I have found someone in New England instead? Oh well. We do have air-conditioning now.

"Would you like to go camping in West Virginia?" asked Geoffrey from behind the Wall Street Journal, "The Northern Panhandle is supposed to be a lot cooler than here".

"Can we afford to take the time off?" called Olive from the kitchen, "And gas costs money."

"Sure, we can wing it. It's closer than driving all the way up to Northern New England, which is where I know you would really want to go. Would you like to stop by and visit your cousin who lives in Pittsburgh?"

"Yes, that would be nice. You're such a dear, Geoff."

Olive and Geoffrey Arbogast escaped the heat of Richmond, Virginia, for a time, by staying at a nice bed and breakfast in the Appalachian Mountains. Olive even got to visit her cousin, Julia. It was still searingly hot when they returned home, but Olive loved Geoffrey for his thoughtfulness.

Word count: 749 (NCCO)

This story is fictional. Any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Copyright 2013 Anna Christina Wigren Nordeman

Best wishes,

First Commenter:
Yolanda Renee
Defending the Pen

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