a period of sustained insanity, often cruelly referred to as “relaxation”

Clark Griswold himself would have been proud (and maybe even a trifle envious) of the way I spent the last ten days of my life.

My family and I were subjected to privileged to spend 8+ hours on the side of a Wyoming road in 30 degree weather with two fewer tires than is generally considered acceptable in polite company, followed by the scheduled (and by that time, blessedly uneventful) 18-hour drive from “God’s Country” to Sunny SoCal. Once there, we (wrecklessly) paraded the entire Susanka pack through my brother-in-law’s graduation. We followed that up with Second Son’s Second Communion — a long story, that; dinner at a fancy sea-side restaurant in honor of said brother-in-law’s release from his academic indentures; frantic efforts to visit as many of our old friends in the Ventura area as possible before returning to the Wilds of Wyoming, and the piece de resistance: a two day stay at Anaheim’s own particular Little Shop of Horrors…er, Disneyland. Then, it was back into the van for the all-too-familiar 18-hour jaunt back to the remoter portions of the contiguous US.

Toss in the charming little stomach bug “wildcard” — which made its first appearance amongst the boys while we sat huddled in our hotel recuperating from our first day’s insanity at The Magic Kingdom and took its (hopefully) final bow in the van during the last 10 hours of our journey home — and you can see all too clearly that any vestiges of Pieper’s cultural-enriching “leisure hours” were conspicuously absent during our just-completed SouthWestern swing. In fact, it felt very much like the breakneck pace of my daily routine, transplanted to the somewhat warmer confines of California in an effort to keep things “interesting.”

Still, the few hours leading up to our departure on Sunday night — my boys eagerly vying for the opportunity to sit on the laps of my parents in an effort to squeeze out the last few precious moments of the visit — was more than enough to remind me of why exactly we subject ourselves to such absurd ordeals.

Family: it does a body good.


Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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