Originally created 06/14/05

Keep vacation diary for future defense



Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business.

- Dave Barry

As you set out on your vacations this summer, let me share some words of advice: Write things down.

Vacations - particularly family vacations - have a way of taking on a legendary status as the years go by.

Siblings, particularly younger sisters, will exaggerate perceived slights and the rare and unavoidable accident and make it seem intentional and cruel.

Decades later, in the depths of adulthood, they will amuse their own children with elaborate tales of errant frogs, stalled elevators and a swimming pool mishap that over the years have been misconstrued into malice.

If you take the time to write down the vacation exploits in a diary, you (or your attorney) can always make the case that: 1) You didn't do it; and 2) If you did do it, it cannot be proven.

Take for example, the caring older brother who would offer to smear suntan lotion on the back of a youngster, then carefully take his fingernail and scrape off the lotion on the back so as to spell the sibling's name (or an affectionate nickname). The result, after several hours, is a sunburn that usefully identifies the youngster to lifeguards in case she becomes lost, however unlikely that might be, because younger sisters will dog an older brother's footsteps no matter where they lead.

In future columns we will address the statute of limitations in various Southern states. You might want to write that down, too.

TRAVEL TIPS: Bill Wood shares facts you probably didn't know.

- The state with the highest percentage of people who walk to work is Alaska

- The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28 percent. The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38 percent.

- The average number of people airborne over the United States any given hour: 61,000

POSTCARDS: Lots of travelers this week. Austin Leverett sends a Texas postcard showing a rattlesnake. David Daitch says hi from Ohio.

Harry Mercer is in Bangalore, India; Jimmie and Effie Newman are in Austria; and Lowell and Evelyn are in St. Lucia in the West Indies.

Let us know how you're doing. Send a postcard here to 725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30901.

TODAY'S JOKE: This one comes from Billy Cooper.

A man deep in the hills bought a donkey from a country preacher. The preacher told the man that this donkey had been uniquely trained. To get it to go, one said, "Hallelujah!" To get it to stop, one said, "Amen!"

The man hopped up to try it out. "Hallelujah!" he shouted. The donkey began to trot. "Amen!" shouted the man. The donkey stopped immediately. "This is great!" said the man.

With a "Hallelujah," he rode off very proud of his new purchase. Soon he was heading towards a cliff, and he became so frightened he could not remember the word to make the donkey stop. "Stop," said the man. "Halt!" he cried. The donkey just kept on going.

He was getting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff.

Finally in desperation, the man said prayer, "Please, Lord, save me. Amen!"

The donkey came to an abrupt stop just one step from the edge of the cliff.

The man looked upward in relief and shouted, "Hallelujah!"

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill. kirby@augustachronicle.com.