Family stories beat hotels in summer vacations

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

- Lin Yutang

When we were children, my father traveled a lot and we got the benefits for such trips -- small bars of motel soap, hotel stationery and pens, shower caps and "shoe mitts."

We thought it an exotic life, although he did not.

When his summer vacation time came, our family avoided resorts and hotels, choosing instead to visit relatives.

This meant we sat around on porches, ate home-cooked meals and listened to family stories.

Looking back, we see it was better than Disney World; we just didn't know it at the time.

I bet you know what I'm talking about.

YOUR TRAVELS: Speaking of summer ...

Seven members of the Briarwood Academy Class of 2012, along with Headmaster John T. Hammond , his wife, Gail , and three parent chaperones are enjoying a 14-day educational field trip, which has covered nine states, the farthest point being Yellowstone (National Park) where "we have enjoyed cool temperatures, snow and lots of beautiful wildlife and scenery."

(Did y'all say snow?)

Rachael Cundey is not only a good speller but also a thoughtful traveler. Our Scripps Howard regional spelling bee champ and her mother, Tammy, sent a postcard from their trip to the national spelling bee in Washington, D.C. Visits to places in Maryland and Virginia were achieved.

June Riner , of Swainsboro, Ga., says she's "started on a road trip vacation. First stop: Shreveport, La." Also in Louisiana is Rose Combs, of McCormick, S.C., who sends "greetings from the swamp" and the nature tour near Slidell.

Eddie and Anne Johnson send a card from North Myrtle Beach, S.C., where they say Dolly Parton's new show is "great."

Ed and Rose Kozinsky , of Waynesboro, Ga., have found "lots of spring like temperatures" in South Dakota, where they checked Mount Rushmore off their "bucket list." Greg Brooks found cool temps from the top of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

Richard Noegel , our summer Midwestern correspondent, finds Madison, Ind., "a pretty town!" overlooking the mighty Ohio. Jean Wood and Ray and Laura Morris are "on the go" in Dodge City, Kan., which has a statue of Wyatt Earp.

The Sapp Family of Augusta -- Drew, Jennifer, Cadence, Braden and Granny -- are at one of the many Great Wolf Lodges in America (but I am not sure which one.)

And Shirley, Julia, Gloria, Anne and Audrey -- "five old women from Martinez and Williston" -- send a postcard from the Old Baldy Lighthouse on the North Carolina coast, and they add they wish I was there.

TODAY'S JOKE: Charlie Williams shares this one:

Finding one of her students making faces at others on the school playground, Old Miss Smith stopped to gently reprove the child.

Smiling sweetly, the schoolteacher said, "Johnny, when I was a child, I was told if that I made an ugly face, it would freeze and I would stay like that."

Johnny looked up and replied, "Well, Ms. Smith, you can't say you weren't warned."

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