Monday, 7 November 2011

80's Road Trips

Ok we must lighten this up a bit. Let us look back at the decade when kids didn't have cell phones or personal gaming devices of any sort. Back when there was only one phone in the house and it hung on the kitchen wall. God, I loved the 80's. Pink carpet, kitchens full of geese and plaid furniture, good times.
When I look back at the 80's in my mind i see it like a collage of images like some sort of Warhol painting. I can focus in on each of the images and then a picture comes to life. The smells, the sights and the sounds come to life in my head and suddenly my life is like an old John Hughes movie.
So lets look back at the collage of my life and revisit the Lush Family Road Trip of July 1981.
Remember when your Dad drove a huge friggin boat of a car that took up the entire driveway? Well my Dad did too but ours had stickers all over it. Thats right. Bill still likes his stickers but back then he had them planted all over the car. Oh, and yes that is the car that we took our road trips in. It was huge, white, could seat a dozen or so people and it was indeed covered in stickers.
So back to the road trip. There were always rules when our parents took us anywhere in public but when we traveled there were extra rules. We were not to complain about mom smoking in the car. We also had to listen to what dad decided to put in the tape deck. This is how I still know every word to most Conway Twitty songs and every song from Don Williams' Greatest Hits. There was also the biggest rule of all. No Tacos! Today we call them Doritos but back then they were just tacos to my father and we were not allowed to eat them in his presence! Oddly enough, he likes a good taco dinner today but the smell of those chips back then would force him to snatch the bag and quickly roll down the window and throw them out onto the 401.
It was a 4-5 hour ride along the mainly flat, slightly boring landscape that was south-eastern Ontario so we would be bored at times. The country music playing on the tape deck, mom singing along usually 3 octaves higher then she needed to sing but she would sing anyway. Dad didn't sing much back then. You would never believe that after his recent debut on Youtube singing and playing his music for the world to play, view and hear... Yes, my dad can figure all of that out but cannot "cut & paste" a word. Just saying.
I didn't realize before how much of these road trips would actually come back to me.
Halfway between Toronto and Ottawa is a town called Tweed. Being the fancy pants family that we were, we would always stop and eat diner cuisine on these road trips. Now, I may have completely dreamt this and perhaps a family member who can back this next claim up will do so, but I remember that after we ate our food, an old man would take us down to the basement or behind the scenes somewhere and show us all sorts of aquariums holding fish and reptiles etc. WTF was that about? I might also question why my parents let their kids go off with some strange old man to the basement to see his lizard!!! Well, it was the 80's!
We arrived in Ottawa and I remember thinking that we were rich because our Motel had a pool with a diving board!
As a family, we often travelled well. We didn't fight as much because mom would keep us distracted with treats and gifts. We would walk the streets of Ottawa, tour through the museums and points of interest as a collective family with mom only having to bug her eyes out and threaten us occasionally and hardly ever get to the point when dad would have to bite on his tounge and pretend to pull out his belt. We had good times.
On this particual trip we all sat together in one room and watched the tv for hours. We woke up early to watch the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. It poured outside so we weren't missing any swim time or anything but I was glad. I wanted to stay in and watch the wedding. My mother too was intrigued but all the goings on in London. The rest of the Lush clan looked at the tv occasionally but not with the interest I had.
Mom and I often shared passions for these things. I remember Lady Diana stepping out of that coach and I told mom that she shouldn't have gone with silk because it gets too wrinkly. DING DING DING!!! Little gay red flags popped up all through my childhood. I will point them out in the beginning but then you will need to identify them yourself! I remember not once wanted to be the prince that day.
The sky cleared and we again went out to play. It must have been nice for my parents to be able to sit back, for however brief these trips were and watch their children actually play and enjoy each others company. I remember mom and dad, sitting on the deck of the pool taking pictures of us diving with their new polaroid camera. There were amazed at how well I could dive and swim. They kept taking pictures of us. We all sat afterwards on the deck of the pool, dripping wet, no music, just the sounds us us eating our ham sandwiches and mom and dad praising out mad skills in the water.
Those road trips of the 80's we great. Our tanned faces were smiling and our parents were youthful and vibrant. Life really was simpler and we were content with a sandwich and an conversation. We were loved and we knew it. Life was good and beautiful Princess's were getting married. It really was a magical time back then. Remote controls were connected to the tv by a wire. The tv was a massive piece of wooden furniture on the living room floor, and our parents didn't text us to tell us supper was ready, they opened the door and screamed or whistled to us like dogs and we came running like puppies!

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