Spring Broken

by Bob Smiley as told to Bob Smiley

“We’ve been in the car forever!” I said in an extra whiny voice. “How much longer until we get there?”

“Great job waiting till we were almost out of the driveway before asking,” Dad said, laughing.

We were going on another famous Smiley spring-break adventure, which is properly named because my family does it in the spring, something usually breaks and it’s always an adventure!

This year Dad said we were going “unplugged.” I quickly looked around to see if I was plugged into anything. Turns out he meant no electronics. No iPads. No iPhones. No iFun.

We were going back to a place I call Lake Mosquito Bite. Dad calls it Lake Affordable. He was excited about spending quality family time without electronics. But as soon as Dad backed out of the driveway, the first thing he did was turn on the GPS.

“Uh, that’s an electronic,” I said.

“We’ve got to use it to find the camp,” he replied.

“How did the settlers do it way back in the 1990s?” I asked with a smile.

Dad shut off the car and walked back into the house to print a map. We later decided it’s a good idea to print several copies. We decided that right after my brother spilled his juice box and used our one and only map as a napkin.

We ended up arriving at the camp in only six hours. This sounds fine, unless you know the camp is only three hours from our house!

As we drove, Dad kept us entertained with stories from his childhood. I like when Dad tells stories, because he gets halfway into them and realizes he shouldn’t be giving me ideas.

“And so I let all the chickens loose inside of the school and... uh. Hey, is everyone excited about fishing this week?”

We had a great time camping, but the best part happened as we drove home. We were playing Mom’s favorite car game, “Find the Smell.” (Spoiler alert: It was my socks.) All of a sudden Dad slammed on the brakes. My brother flew face first into his ice cream cone.

“Ouch!” he yelled. “I’ve got brain freeze on the outside.”

I handed my brother what was left of our map to wipe his face. Dad turned and said, “Ready to be a good Samaritan?”

A lady stood on the side of the road with a flat tire. I jumped into action and watched my dad change her tire. She thanked us saying, “I had this dumb idea to go unplugged this week, and I didn’t have my cell phone.”

“Well, we’ve all learned how bad an idea that is.” I grinned.

Actually, that’s not true. Sometimes it’s important to unplug from electronics and plug into people’s lives. I thanked Dad for a great week. He smiled and said, “Please put your socks in the trunk.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Clubhouse magazine; used by permission. Illustration © David Harrington.