My Own Personal Katrina - A Story of A Dubious Vacation to Pennsylvania - My Family Travels
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The trip began badly enough. I staggered out of my bed at an ungodly hour, barely managing to remember to comb my hair into something like a style and put on some clothes so the world would not have to view my disgusting, but comfortable, pajamas. I am usually surly in the mornings, but as the time for the Maurer’s arrival came and went, my surliness grew to unprecedented proportions.

 

After a half an hour, we finally saw their dark green Honda come around the corner. I think the rain started in Ohio, but it very well may have been sooner. All I know is that upon our arrival to Knoebel’s in the heart of Pennsylvania, it did not look like it would be stopping any time soon.

The first few days were filled with petty diversions as we waited in vain for the rain to stop. The swimming pool was closed, and although almost sliding out of the seats made the rides more adventuresome, it was in no way conducive to the fact that I wanted to get out of there without any severe bodily injury. One day, we planned to go on a short day trip with Jamie’s grandparents.

This trip, however, involved several detours due to flooding, asking a trucker’s permission to use the restroom in his garage, and over five hours in the car. Blissfully ignorant, we planned the next day’s trip to Hershey in happiness.However, on the way back from Hershey, disaster struck. We stopped to eat dinner at a small restaurant, and while we were there, the parking lot began to flood to the point that people had to move their cars.

Even after this second incident of flooding and evacuation, we still did not get the clue that, first, our cabin was in a hollow surrounded by mountains, and second, we were right next to a large creek.Jamie’s father drove down the narrow gravel road towards our cabin, and it was there that we were greeted with the sight of our neighbors to their knees in pale brown water with their belongings on their heads, piling them into a waiting Ford Explorer. In the cabin, there was a hurried conference as to what we were to do. The conference being inconclusive, we stood around vaguely, wondering whether we should have started packing a half hour ago, when a police officer in a sturdy SUV pulled up.

Jamie’s father braved the rain to go talk to him, while the rest of us tried to do the anatomically impossible task of fitting seven people in the doorframe to listen. After a brief discussion with the officer, Mr. Maurer came back to us with the grim news that we would have to evacuate.

I was thrilled. I had never had the opportunity to be evacuated before — ”this would basically make me a refugee! My mother pushed me up the stairs to pack, which broke the swelling kinship I had started to feel with my fellow Cherokees who had died on the Trail of Tears. My nostalgic moment over, I trudged upstairs to the unhappy and stressful task of wrapping my laptop in several blankets and stuffing it in a questionably waterproof bag in a vain attempt to keep it dry.

I halfheartedly held an umbrella over my suitcase and other random assortment of bags as I made my way to my father’s car. At that point, the water was almost lapping at my heels. Mom, almost sprinting out of the cabin with a cake in her hand, shouted at the two of us to get into the car.

The rest, as they say, is history. An uncomfortable night in a new cabin (where they apparently did not believe in doors for the bedrooms) was followed by my family’s prompt departure from Pennsylvania. It was partly hunger and partly depression that drove us away, since the night before all we had had to eat was a bag of Cheetos and a somewhat soggy cake. The only hope we had was that, later in the summer, we would go to the Smokey’s for a nice, finally relaxing week. However, if vomiting and diarrhea from a malignant stomach virus fit my newly modified version of relaxing, then I was going to get just what I expected.

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