When I was growing up, we farmed. Farm families rarely get what could be termed a "vacation". Someone has to come milk the cows and feed the pigs. Forget a summer vacation because there might be hay to bring in or corn to cultivate. School runs from the end of August to the end of May. The best you could do was drive to a cousin's for an extended weekend, assuming you could find someone to watch the animals.
My dad had wanderlust. He loved to travel. He liked farming, it's what he knew, the life he grew up in. But he really wanted to travel. Once he sold the milk cows and got out of that, we went places and did things.
I couldn't, and still can't, read in a moving car or bus, without getting motion sickness. I can do cross-stitch and I remember knitting and crocheting, but while my sister and brothers could read, I was left watching the scenery. I also wound up taking 90% of the photos so you'll rarely see me in any of them. I would get bored and we kids would get antsy. Somewhere along the line, my mother stumbled across a book of travel games. It was a big, thick book that had word searches, crosswords, finish the photo, match the picture, all sorts of games. It was passed around to each of us and we could do one thing from it. Crossword puzzles didn't seem to bother me so I would do one of those, which sparked lively discussions of a 5-letter word for a container, usually for beer. My mother has a great vocabulary and my dad would, occasionally, surprise everyone with what he knew.
For long road trips, particularly ones involving Interstate driving, another game became a family favorite. Called the "Billboard Alphabet Game", the premise was finding a word on a billboard, street sign, or building name that started with a letter of the alphabet. Everyone could play and what letter you got depended upon who started, and stayed because sometimes someone would drop out, in the game.
"X" is, absolutely, the worst letter to get in this game. Even the book said someone getting "x" could use a word that contained the letter and not try to find a word that started with "x". Back when we were traveling as a family, triple X stores weren't that common on our routes. Thank heaven for "Exit 263" ahead.
As a parent, I handed down the Billboard Alphabet Game to my daughter. It really is a great game to play with kids, particularly kids learning the alphabet. It teaches not only words, but also observation. I find myself, on long drives, such as going to Connecticut to visit Carole and David in November, playing the game in my head. "Okay, I need an 'F'." It's a great way to pass the time on a drive.
Now that you've read this post, I'm willing to bet on your next drive, you'll be more observant, looking for words that start with the more obscure letters. Let me know if you find something other than "XXX-Rated!!!"
Beverage: Irish Breakfast Tea