Laying in my temporary home-hammock, I heard what i thought were musical scales being played from down the beach. I actually got up…and walked almost 70 ft. to inquire of the girl with the horn of some sort why on earth she's be ruining this island paradise with her intrepid playing? She said, "Ask my stupid dad," pointing hither to a couple further up the beach. So I went, intrigued. Dad informed me that she (the young waif playing the horn-bugle?) had gotten a 'D' in Band at semester, so she was practicing as per their agreement. Fine, I said.

Wow…what a prince of a dad. She was awful, by the way. And their situation brought me right back to our family vacations of old, and the phoner that we will use: What did you have to do on vacation that was clearly NOT vacation activity? For this poor kid--practice your scales on the beach? Man alive. Our present-day Vacations follow a strict rule "It's Vacation for everybody" which loosely translated, means relax the crazy rules bro…it's VACATION. I instituted this rule many years ago, when I found myself trying to still teach my kids things like manners and such, while we are at a resort, and they're eating french fries. Chill dad, I told myself. Who gives a shit if their napkin is not in their lap? If they haven't learned from my pristine example by now, bitching at them for the next 10 days only ruins their, and MY vacation.

But my DAD, oh, no! Vacation was a terrifying Saturday night drive through unfamiliar streets at unsafe speeds, looking for a Catholic church service, so we wouldn't be banished from heaven. Every Spring Break in my childhood and young adult life was spent at some crazy Good Friday vigil mass for 3 hours lighting candles and chanting…damn, the tail I missed out on in the video arcade! My mom would spend the rest of vacation swearing that we would never do THAT again, but she was powerless against the wishes of the Lord. That is my story. Yours?

Sincerely, Greg Marley