Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SpoOoOoOky Childhood Family Vacations

My childhood family vacations were...peculiar.

While my friends and their parents went to Hawaii, Disney World, California, even the beach....

I went somewhere...much, much different.

I went to:

Aberdeen, Maryland.

Now, before you (monster) bash me for saying that it's peculiar, hear me out.

I loved it there. The people were friendly, the water was soft, the hotel we stayed at gave you free apples at the front desk, there was an awesome indoor heated pool that I would get all pruney from playing in....and there was this amazing buffet called Western Steer, which was later replaced by The Golden Corral, both of which I loved. They also had Mr. Pibb, which is like Dr. Pepper, but for some reason, better.

But the real reason that my father would drag my mother and I down every year wasn't because of free apples, Pibb, or the soft water...

It was the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

What is that, you ask? Go here to find out.

Now, I'm a supporter of our troops, and what they do is something to be revered and respected, but as a baby, infant, toddler, kid.....I had no idea what was going on. I just walked around with my parents looking at all of these tanks at the Army Ordinance Museum and tried to get my parents to buy me the pen that had the little tank float down in the glitter from one end to the other every year.

Also every May, they would have an event called Armed Forces Day, where there were tents set up and life fire exercises and tanks driving around....

See that man with the pink shirt kneeling on the tank? That's my dad. See that miserable little girl wearing that HUGE helmet? That's me. At 5 years old. In 1987. I just wanted to go swimming and eat free apples.

And then I got a little older and was allowed to bring a friend with me for the torture....

Can't see us? This is what normal little girls look like, right? Little Mermaid shirt? Check....pink headband and pink pants? Check....Camouflage face paint?........
Also, if memory serves, this was after we left the "Lyme Disease Awareness" Tent...wooohooo!!!

So every year, we'd pack up the minivan, ride 3 (or more) hours down to Aberdeen, and my mother and I would pout at the length of time it would take my dad to lap around the tanks and give me a 45 minute lecture about each one's "tracks". Then we would go shopping and eat at Western Steer and then I'd go swimming.

I decided to drag Jim here one year to show him my "roots". I bribed him with a Yankees/Orioles game to get him more in the spirits to go to Aberdeen. Some things were the same: the free apples were still there, the woman at the front desk was still there...I think, and the pool was still pretty fun. The Golden Corral had moved, and wasn't quite the same....and the Proving Ground was kind of scary because we had to go through a heavy duty security check just to get in.

But, as bizarre as my family trips were, I still enjoyed them...and I know alot about Lyme Disease awareness and that my dad drove a Sheridan tank when he was in the army.

Good (spOoOoOky) times.