Thanksgiving Day, the whole family is together.
My son is home from college, my daughter is making cookies and we just finished preparing the candied yams to bring to the family feast at my brother’s house.
Running late as usual, I think we can finally start heading to the van.
Wait. My oldest daughter is still not dressed after running the hair dryer for what seems like the past hour in the bathroom.
“C’mon! Let’s go!” I can’t believe this. We have a two-hour drive and we needed to leave an hour ago.
Van packed and ready: yams, cookies, and a bottle of Fireball to share with my bro’.
Finally on the road, the two youngest girls in the back, college boy and oldest daughter in the middle row, all with their respective devices and ear-buds, and the lovely wife riding shotgun.
Running late and moving along quickly, my son scarfs down a couple of snack bags of chips since he didn’t have any breakfast.
That’s when things started to leave the rails.
I am not sure how the chips hit his stomach — maybe with the bouncing of the van — but I hear a cough behind me, a wet gurgling cough that erupts with a force of expulsion (can you just hear that?) that prompts me to ask if he is OK.
He says he is OK. He caught the up-chuck into the empty bag of chips.
Ugghh!! Oh! And then the smell!
His sister next to him starts dry heaving and we need to crack the windows open.
Before we can find a place to dump the puke, my youngest in the back starts to heave.
Here I am, driving and looking in the rear view. I see her cover her mouth with her hands, and as everyone knows, that never works.
The next thing I hear is “blarghhh!” and my other daughter screaming and, oh, that smell again!
Oh my God! Open the windows!
Now I’m seriously looking for a place to stop. Luckily, we find a convenience store and pull in. Everyone jumped out, except for the puker.
I didn’t even check the damage and went right into the store and bought lemon-scented cleaner, wipes, air freshener, garbage bags and a roll of paper towels.
Got back to the van and opened the door. I wanted to scream.
Actually, I did scream.
I didn’t know where to start: The back seat, the floor, her pants, her jacket, even her ear-buds! I started spraying, wiping and tossing it all into a garbage bag.
Repeat, repeat, repeat, and repeat some more.
Finally made it to my brother’s house just in time for the Thanksgiving meal. I can’t believe what I just went through but I am thankful for surviving it and still being able to spend time with my family.
And yes, I think I’ll need to trade that van in a lot sooner than I first thought.