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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest · #988463
Is it possible a specific state could have it in for you? If you think not, read on.
Three Strikes and Your Out
(Vacation strike outs}

Strike One

In the summer of 1971, my husband Jim and I decided to visit with my cousin Fred and his family. We stayed at their lovely home in Virginia Beach. We had a very uneventful trip on our drive from Central Islip, NY to this very beautiful state of Virginia.

It was extremely hot in mid August, so my cousin suggested we all go to the beach. The sky was clear, not a cloud in sight. The sun shone brightly over head, and the heat of its rays could fry an egg on the asphalt. It was perfect swimming weather. After arriving at the beach, we raced across the burning, blistering sand, and found a nice spot not to distant from the shoreline. My cousin Fred set up a blanket and an umbrella to provide me with some shade as I sat on the blanket. Not being a great swimmer myself, being 8 months pregnant, and having had a previous bad experience of almost drowning, I decided not to go swimming and to sit comfortably on shore in the shade. Although I can swim well enough in a pool, I don't do well in waves. So, there I sat on the blanket, in my nice dry bathing suit watching everyone else having fun body surfing. There is something about a wet bathing suit full of sand that I find extremely repulsive.

We were there about half an hour, when suddenly everything started going wrong. My head began pounding from the heat and I developed severe chest pains. I felt like someone jabbed a spear through my chest and it exited out my back. I thought I was having a heart attack. Although I had no difficulty breathing, it still hurt like hell with each breath.

I tried very hard to get my husband's attention, but it was no use. He didn't pay any attention to me back then, and he still doesn't now. Don't let me mislead you, my husband is a very attentive and caring soul, but when he is having fun, he puts his mind, body and soul into whatever he is doing, it is like he has tunnel vision.

As I was saying. Suffering terribly, I sat under the umbrella, clutching at my chest and rocking back and forth. Suddenly my stomach tightened, I started to gag and soon began throwing up. I was so embarrassed. I tried desperately to hide it by burying it under the sand, but the more I buried, the more I heave. It was a losing battle. I was so glad I was hidden under the umbrella, sheltered from the view of any one who just might witness my disgusting display, of failing to control one of my bodily functions. So I suffered in silence which seemed a lifetime, in truth, it was probably only fifteen minutes.

Suddenly my husband appeared saying, "Come on in the water's great." All I could do was shake my head no. Speaking was difficult, so I tried to shoo him away, fearful he would step in the YOU KNOW WHAT. I probably should have let him step in the YOU KNOW WHAT, or even sit in it. It would have serve him right. How dare he enjoy himself while I was feeling so miserable.

When he finally took a good look at me and saw my pale face he asked, "What's wrong?"

With my trembling hands I grabbed his wrist, squeezed as hard as I could to share some of my pain, and said as firmly as possible, "Get me to a hospital, RIGHT NOW!"

Since we had never been to Virginia Beach before we did not know where the nearest hospital was. So we packed everything up, spoiling everyone's day at the beach, and my cousin Fred drove us to the nearest hospital. I spent several hours in pain, lying on my side in a fetal position, on a rock hard gurney, with a kidney shaped emesis basin I called my best friend. Some mini-vacation this turned out to be. I spent the only full day of vacation we had in Virginia at the local hospital. The next day we said our good-byes, and headed back home to Long Island, New York. I don't know how I did it, but I still managed to get a tan.

After a year of suffering from these periodic attacks the doctors finally decided to remove my gall bladder. So now the pain is gone, right? No...wrong. Now it is called severe acid reflux. The pain is still there but the medicine has changed to Nexium. I think I prefer La-La-Land.

Strike Two

Thirty years later, we now reside in Ohio. My husband's family in New York decided to get together with us for a family vacation. We all met and camped at the Newport News State Park in Virginia. It is about a fifteen minute to thirty minute drive to Virginia Beach.

I should have known that things would not go as smoothly as planned. On the way there we stopped to get something to eat at Wendy's. We were pulling a twenty-seven and a half foot 5th wheel trailer at the time. We pulled into the parking lot to park but discovered too late that there was no room for us to park. My husband had to try and turn around in the parking lot without hitting any of the parked cars. This was no easy feat. While trying to turn, one of the tires on our fifth-wheel travel trailer hit, or should I say, ran over a curb blowing out the tire. Not only did the tire blow but the rim also bent. Since we were unable to contact our road side assistance provider, my husband attempted to change the tire himself. Luckily he remembered to bring a heavy duty jack. As he used the jack to raise the trailer, the jack proceeded to slowly sink into the soft, hot asphalt of the Wendy's parking lot. He was however, able to remove the tire and replace it with a spare before the jack disappeared forever in the black oily depth of the tared pavement. We reverently prayed no one would notice the hole in the pavement and bill us for the damage, so we left as fast as we could under the circumstances, hoping that no one had taken down our license number. I should have taken heed of this omen and took the shortest route back home because things only got worse.

It was ten o'clock in the evening when we arrived at the campsite and my husband had to back into our slot in the dark. He did managed to avoid hitting anything that didn't belong to us but he cut the turn a little to sharp and the corner of the camper crunched the back left edge of the truck cab. Ouch! There were also so many trees at our campsite, we were unable to open our awning or use our slide-out. At this point I was just thankful we made it at all.

After setting up, my in-laws Ken and Mary came over and sat at our picnic table and we talked for about an hour. Everyone was wearing long pants except me...my mistake. As I sat there I felt like something was biting me. Not hard bites just like little pin pricks. I kept swatting at my legs and looking under the table but I couldn't see anything. I thought it was all my imagination, no one else seemed affected by biting bugs, but by the time we got ready for bed my legs were covered in extremely large, itchy, red welts.

The next day was spent trying to find a new spare tire and a rim, for our camper. One hundred dollars later we were road ready again. Never travel without a spare, you never know when you will need one.

I continued to itch all day, so we went to Kroger's and purchased every anti-itch cream or ointment I could find, nothing worked. Sleep for me was not an option. I itched severely for four miserable days and nights. Not only did my legs itch...they burned. I looked like I had the measels from my hips down. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, and I took it out on my husband, who proceeded to ignore me and still managed to have a great time. By now I was the brunt of numerous jokes, you know how ruthless family members can be sometimes, and so I couldn't wait to get home.

Although we didn't go anywhere near the beach, this trip still ended up with me spending several hours at the nearest hospital, getting medication for the allergic reaction I was having to the bites. Once the medication started working I did manage to get in a little fun and shopping.

As is the custom at all our family gatherings, it is my job to make the Hobo Pies. Since our campsites were nestled among numerous large trees, there was very little light in the late evening other than what was provided by our campfire. If there was a moon it was well hidden by the tree branches and leaves, and anything outside the range of the fire light was in pure darkness. At the back of each camper was a long cement barrier, the kind you find in parking lots that prevent cars from rolling past their allotted space. Well, we could not back our camper up to this cement barrier, if we did, our camper would be positioned over our fire pit. Because we had to park our camper way forward of the cement barrier, our barrier was exposed. One very dark evening, as I carried my Hobo Pie maker, I walked around the back of our camper toward the fire pit and tripped over the barrier and fell on my hands and knees. I scraped both my hands, stubbed my toes and badly scraped my left knee to the point of drawing blood. I also broke my Hobo Pie maker when I fell. It was a good thing I had another one. Although My body was bruised and battered I still managed to perform my duty and make everyone their Hobo Pies.

Strike Three

In 2004 we purchased a new RV and we were looking forward to using it on our trip to Virginia for what has now become our annual family vacation.

I had asked for time off from work five months in advance, and things were good to go, until six weeks prior to leaving. Wal-Mart, the company I work for, moved their inventory date up from October to September. All vacations from a month before Sept. 16th (the new inventory date) were canceled. Our vacation was scheduled for the first week in September.

Needless to say, while my family members were all enjoying the beach, camping, hiking, shopping, golf outings, etc. I was at Wal-Mart, working ten to thirteen hours a day, getting little sleep and blisters on my feet. I didn't even have my husband to complain to, because he went on vacation without me. I secretly hoped he would have a miserable time, but he didn't. He had a blast, it figures, absolutely nothing went wrong. There were no flat tires, bug bites, dented trucks, or hospital visits, because I wasn't there.

This year Jim and I went to South Dakota and Wyoming. Our vacation went off without a hitch. From now on I will try and avoid the State of Virginia at all costs. I have no intention of vacationing in any more of their numerous hospitals.

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