the only thing that’s missing…

It wasn’t ever glamorous or extravagant.

Little rented cottages on small inland lakes.  Once a year for a week.

Mom, Dad, Kate, Chris, and then later, Michael.

Up and down the west half of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

Glen Lake, Big Star, Bel aire, Pentwater.

Dad fished, Chris and I swam and played in the sand and ran amok, and mom read book after book after book.

Days were long and lazy and flavored with the sweet taste of that one can of Faygo we were allowed each day.

They smelled like sand and lake water on our bathing suits and grill smoke in our hair.

They felt like tight, sun stretched skin and itchy mosquito bites.

There was never a TV, so after dinner we went on drives.

My dad loves drives.  He has always loved taking the “back way” to get places.  Avoiding major roads so he can take in the scenery…and look for deer.

My mom was just as content to ride or sit at the cottage reading a book, so we rode.

Chris and I liked it for about 2.5 seconds.  Then we would get bored.

One year, up near Sleeping Bear Dunes, we went for an evening drive.  To look for deer*.

The trip got long.

We were packed in the family car driving and driving and driving.

And because we were near the lake, the roads weren’t straight shots; we were winding through thick woods very slowly.

It felt later than it was because the trees blocked out the evening sun.  There was no looking ahead because our eyes were met by a wall of forest and a tight curve.

Up and down hills.

My dad explained that these roads were made from old Indian trails, so they weren’t straight.

I begged for the window to be put down a little further.  I was feeling sick.

There were no deer here.

In fact, in the hours we were driving, there were no deer anywhere.  The “drive” was a bust.

And I was pretty sure we were lost.

But my dad kept up his cheerful facade.

“Dad.  The only thing we have seen are squirrels,” I whined.

My mom even had to reluctantly agree that this drive was turning sour.

But my dad was persistent, and in a last ditch effort to rally the troops, he made up a little rhyme:

First ya see a squirrel,
then ya see a deer.
The only thing that’s missing…
is a can of beer!

We all just stared.

The car was completely silent.

Then?  Raucous laughter erupted from the backseat while my mom picked her jaw up from the floor mat and stammered, “TOM!  That is just…well you can’t…that isn’t APPROPRIATE!”

But the damage was done.

The entire drive back to the cottage, Chris and I joyfully sang our new song.

All the while my mom made us promise to never sing it in front of anyone we know.

This week’s prompt was to write about something from your childhood that you still remember by heart.

About ksluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no, that is a Journey song. Although I do live in a small town. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. We have joys and we have struggles. Just like you.
This entry was posted in me, memories from being a kid, nonfiction, Red Dress Club, summer fun. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to the only thing that’s missing…

  1. Rusti says:

    love it 🙂 I also have great memories of walking and driving the little two-tracks looking for deer up north… no lake near us, but our group of cabins are on the Au Sable near Grayling… I miss those days sometimes… I love the song – I just might have to sing it in my head for the rest of the night 🙂

  2. Frelle says:

    awesome… LOL BUSTED!

  3. LOL, too funny! I remember drives with my parents too when we were young, to our yearly beach retreats. But no singing, sigh.

  4. CDG says:

    I suppose you skate through on a technicality, since many of don’t actually know you.

    And I think our fathers would get along spectacularly.

  5. Kir says:

    LOL…now that is a great song.
    It reminds me that John makes up songs to the boys all the time, I wonder what they will remember in the years to come. 🙂

    I loved this sweets!

  6. I love this story. SO reminds me of my family. Great details.

  7. Mrs. Jen B says:

    LOL love it! And it’s good to know my dad wasn’t the only one who made up little ditties!

  8. molly says:

    Ha! Too funny. What a great memory!

  9. that is spectacular. you should sing that at the top of your lungs for christmas!

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