The Little Things | My Family Travels
Gorilla

‘I have a dream…’ usually those famous words are strung together with words like ‘inspiring’ and ‘powerful.’ However, the words that run through my head when my mom speaks them are “Uh- oh.” When she continued, I realized that this adventure was one that I’d like to be a part of. My mother’s dream was to visit as many Major League Baseball stadiums as she could. After going to the parks close to home — Cubs, White Sox, Tigers — Mom started looking online for more games. One day she asked me “How do you feel about the Houston Astros?”

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

She made the arrangements and soon I found myself in the car on the way to Midway airport. While driving, my mom and I noticed our Dodge ’97 minivan start making a dinging alert noise. I then noticed one of the needles on a gauge pointing all the way to the right that certainly was not supposed to be there. Mom pulled off to the side of the interstate just as it began smoking. She called my dad to let him know what was going on as I sent a text to my sister saying “WE’RE GONNA BLOW UP! Not really, but the van is overheating.” Mom decided to wait ten minutes after it stopped smoking, and then try to drive us the 1 mile to our exit and to the airport parking lot. As I continued texting, I lost track of the time until a tow truck pulled up behind us. Mom looked at me and said “Eleven minutes.” It was not particularly funny considering our van was overheated and we had to catch our flight, but I could not stop myself from laughing. Sometimes it is the little things that set me off.

Upon landing in Houston, Texas, we picked up our rental car and started to make our way to the Hilton hotel. After an hour of dull driving, a Harley motorcycle passed us…with a stuffed gorilla on the back. Mom and I were still laughing about it when we pulled up to the hotel. As we got our room keys, the receptionist welcomed us to help ourselves to pink lemonade and cookies on a table. This may have made me happier than a typical seventeen year old girl would get, but as I mentioned in the elevator to our room, ‘What’s life if you don’t appreciate the little things?’

Other than just the ball game, my mom had a few other ideas to do while we were in Texas. Whilst doing family tree research, she learned that a Vietnam War battleship, the USS Orleck, that her uncle had been on was docked in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a couple hours from Houston. As we toured the ship, I kept thinking about how men had run this ship whilst being shot at. Furthermore I thought about how much history had already passed, and how many great achievements have been accomplished. With the tangible ship under my feet, I began feeling very small. Those small feelings made me appreciate many of the things that are so easily forgotten in a day to day life of a teenager.

At every baseball game I’d been to, I got a souvenir mini baseball bat. When I returned home and I placed the Astros bat in the rack my dad made me, I started thinking about the whole trip. I realized that this little bat would be something of value to me. Too many little things go unappreciated in my life. I realized that truly, some of the little things were of the greatest value.

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