Every few years, my parents have planned a two-week for our family to go on. We are a small family with my parents, my older brother, and I. Our family is nothing extraordinary and while my parents try their hardest to have a good time, there are usually one or two family quarrels along the way.
In 2001, we flew to Hawaii with my dad’s family. While on a snorkling trip, my dad continuously used the word, ‘cloud shadow’ to describe dark spots in the water. My brother and I caught onto the interesting word and for the rest of the day asked my dad questions which we knew would provoke him to answer, ‘That’s a cloud shadow.’ This is how the word of the day originated.
In 2002 my parents planned a road trip around the Western U.S. We went through parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado in two weeks. Starting from the first day of driving for about 8 hours straight, my brother and I needed to find ways to entertain ourselves.
When my dad wasn’t driving he was sight-seeing and noting interesting facts about the scenery as we drove by them. My dad is an educated and very intelligent man, but sometimes it seemed like he would say certain things just to sound like a genius, and my brother and I found it quite hilarious. We started taking note of certain words he used that didn’t always make sense to us.
We also wrote down words which he would attach to and use repeatedly throughout the day. At the end of the day, if we had more than one word for that day, then we would come to a consensus about the best one and then present the word to our dad at the end of the day. He was just as amused as we were.
Since our trip was two weeks long, we decided on a word for each week and finally, a word of the trip. Some of the best words were: declination, wallow, utilitarian, turbid, and the word of the trip, striations which he used on multiple occasions on many different days. This may seem a bit juvenile, but it gave us the ability to laugh at our dad as opposed to arguing with him or being annoyed with him.
It is also an example of how our family got a long and did have fun, even if we are a bit dysfunctional. Out of all the trips and memories I’ve had with my family, ‘the word of the day’ is one of my favorite and will remain a tradition for a very long time.
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