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Storm: Travel is an adventure when sisters collide


Nancy and her family vacation in Germany, where no one elbowed her even once.


By Janet Storm

Sunday, July 29, 2018

My younger sister Nancy is returning to the United States after a two-year stint working in Italy. 

While across the ocean, Nancy and her family had the marvelous opportunity to travel all over Europe. She noted on her Facebook page that each country had something unique to offer and that she felt blessed to have had the opportunity to see so much of the world.

I applaud her attitude, but I have to note that Nancy wasn’t always such a fan of travel. Our family vacations sometimes proved to be a trying time for little sis.

For one thing, Nancy often had to sit next to my other younger sister, Susan, during the long car rides to our destination. Nan and Sue were like oil and water, capable of arguing whether oxygen was necessary for breathing or if the wheels of the bus went round and round. After just a few minutes, they would be elbowing each other and wailing to our mother about their alleged injuries.

Anyone who sat between them was subject to misplaced slaps and pinches, which is why I happily volunteered to sit in the far-back jump seat of our station wagon, surrounded by suitcases. Stay away from the fray, that’s my motto.

The terrible twosome also tended to squabble when we went to restaurants. My mother preferred to order food we could share, but Nancy and Sue could never agree on what they wanted to eat, so they ended up growling at each other over separate plates. Heaven forbid one should try and steal a French fry or a bite of the other’s supper. Rabid racoons would be less snappy.

Adding to the stress of the situation was my older sister, Cathy, who enjoyed making jokes that the youngsters took a bit too seriously. On one memorable trip, Cathy told Sue that she should always leave some food on her plate for “the poor hobos.” Sue took this to heart, and when Nancy tried to steal a dinner roll she had set aside, Sue screamed, “No! No! That’s for the hobos!”

I have never seen my mother pay the check and hustle us out of a restaurant so quickly. None of us got to finish our dinners, satisfying Sue who believed the hobos would be dining like kings.

Nancy never let her hear the end of that one.

When we finally arrived at our destination, Nancy would want to unpack and run around the hotel while Sue desired to take a nap. You can probably guess how that went. Sometimes I wonder why my mother ever bothered to take us anywhere. We were all exhausted by the time we arrived home.

These days, Nancy travels with her own family. Since she is the boss, everything is arranged to suit her and no one gives her any trouble.

She rarely leaves any food on her plate. Too bad for the poor hobos.

Sue is a homebody who very seldom travels. I suppose she prefers sitting on her couch where no one tries to elbow her. Also, she can order takeout and get what likes without having anyone try and sneak bites from her plate.

I like to travel, but I generally travel alone. That way I don’t have to try and calm snarling siblings or explain why someone I am related to is screaming about hobos in a public restaurant. 

It’s a fine thing to see the world. I just prefer to stay away from the fray.

Contact Janet Storm at jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.