When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.
– Susan Heller
Memorial Day weekend has arrived, and that means I will once again facilitate your Summer Vacation Postcard Contest.
After 20-plus years, you know the rules: We’ll try to get a postcard from all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) before Labor Day.
Think of it as a way to let your friends and neighbors back home know how things are going wherever you went. Send those cards to me at:
The Augusta Chronicle
P.O. Box 1928
Augusta, GA 30901.
I have confidence you will achieve this goal because … you always do.
We’ll even make a contest of the contest, giving honorifics for such categories as Biggest Card, Funniest Card, Card Sent from Farthest Away. We’ll judge the various categories – animals, statues, baseball parks (my favorite), restaurants – and see how many of you go to the beach or head for the mountains.
As always, if you include a return address on your postcard, I’ll send you one from my vacation.
Write legibly: I know, you’re not filling out a tax return, you’re on vacation. But we don’t want mistakes to happen because your name is illegible. Several times I’ve reported the wrong people on honeymoons. (Once, the wrong gender.)
Discretionary rule: If you are going to a trendy resort with someone who is not your spouse, use an alias, NOT YOUR REAL NAME. I have actually been served court papers to testify in a divorce proceeding over this issue.
Gentlemen, start your engines … The summer vacation season now stretches before us like a section of U.S. interstate – familiar no matter where you are, yet always with the capacity for surprise.
ROAD RULES: Believe it or not, one of my previous employers, The New York Times Co., used to occasionally pay me to travel in pursuit of news. Allow me to share The New York Times Laws of Eating on the Road:
1. The Billboard Law: When a restaurant mounts a repetitive billboard campaign:
“Eat at Mom’s – 30 miles.”
“Eat at Mom’s – 10 miles.”
You should never eat at Mom’s.
2. The Chinese Law: Never eat Chinese food in Oklahoma.
3. Dishwasher’s Law: Don’t go where the truck drivers eat. Stop at an appliance store and ask the dishwasher repairman. He knows who’s good and who’s bad.
4. Law of Volubility: Be leery of restaurants whose menu includes a short story on how the restaurant got its name.
5. The Barnyard Law: You will never go hungry at a restaurant that features a large, plastic animal on its roof.