Thursday, November 12, 2009

not just your typical family vacation memories

My life has been full of embarrassing moments. And ironically, most of them involve water. And even more ironically, I can't swim. But back to the topic at hand...embarrassing moments.

When I was a kid growing up, our family went to Vail, CO for our summer vacation every year. As a kid, it was a somewhat lame vacation spot. I just couldn't appreciate the luxury of a condo. Or the boutique shopping experience. Or the beautiful mountain scenery which surrounded us. But what can I say? I was a kid!
Now? I would do anything for the condo vacation experience!!

And so to lessen the lameness of our summertime stays in Vail, we would pass the time by shopping at the awesome toy store or walking along Gore Creek or hanging out at the pool.

Oh, the pool!! It was a semi-private pool. Built just for the enjoyment of those summertime visitors staying at the condo. Especially those visitors, who like our mother, LOVED to bake in the sun. Which was unfortunate for those of us who (as I mentioned before) hate water and/or are so fair skinned we literally bake in the sun!
So day after day, we'd follow our mother down to the pool. And sometimes our dad would meet us down there. And I'd pretend to swim by walking around the shallow end of the pool and play with my toys.

Now there's this one day in particular that stands out in my mind. After all these years, I can still recall this particular day as if it happened just yesterday. My dad and younger brother Scott were already down at the pool and we (my oldest sibling and myself) were heading down with our mom to meet them. We walked down the stairs and followed the sidewalk path that took us around to the gated entrance of the pool. The pool was surrounded by a waist-high wrought iron fence which was all that came between the actual pool and the sidewalk path.

As I walked along the sidewalk, at the deep-end side of the pool, I noticed my dad giving my brother Scott a little diving lesson. And me, being the prankster that I am, thought it would be all too funny to give my dad a little nudge as he leaned over the pool edge. Did I mention he was fully clothed?
And so, as my mother walked behind me, watching in a combination of horror and helpless slow motion, I reached over the wrought iron fence and pushed my dad into the water. Only, (here's the kicker) IT WASN'T MY DAD!!! It was a perfectly nice man who was trying to give his son a diving lesson, while my dad swam in the shallow end with my brother! Now that was embarrassing! Especially for my mom and dad who had to apologize to a soaking wet, fully clothed stranger!


The event I just described has been retold year after year during Writer's Workshop in my classroom. You see, one of the strategies I teach my students when they are writing personal narratives is to think of an emotion (happy, angry, embarrassed, etc.) and think of small moments in which they have felt that emotion. And then I model the strategy by retelling this story. The kids think it is hilarious that their teacher did such a horrific thing! But you know what? Their teacher didn't. Their teacher's brother did! Jason. All the good family stories involve Jason. So I've taken his story and made it my own. Because nothing embarrassing has ever happened to me.
And that's the truth!!

This post has been part of Writer's Workshop with mamakat.


  1. That is so funny!!! I LOVE IT!!! It sounds like something that would happen on one of our trips!

  2. Great story! I bet it will live on in your family FOREVER.
    I am sure your students love it.

    Stopped by from Mama's Losin' It

  3. I LOVE THAT STORY!! What a great laugh today!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the laughs...that is just too funny.

  5. I'm laughing out loud! Oh my gosh that's awesome!!

    Your poor Mom...I don't even know WHAT I would do if one of my kids pulled something like that. SO funny!