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Vail Valley Voices: Wait till you have your own …

Greg Ziccardi
Vail, CO, Colorado

I took a risk once and drove a 1972 TR6 to Waco, Texas.

When you travel 1,158 miles one way in a British car that was never designed to go more than 158 miles solid, you expect to have mechanical issues.

I never thought twice about the inconvenience. That is why British car enthusiasts carry tools, carburetors, starters, alternators and wheel bearings in the trunk of the vehicle. I was smart enough to know better.

The reason I drove to Waco is not important (our song was “When Will I See You Again,” by Barry Manilow).

Back then, I was so sure of myself. Stupid parents didn’t have to know about my affairs. I had just signed a lease on my first apartment with nine other guys and was feeling mighty independent. I had $94 in cash, plenty of spare parts, a world class attitude and positive about why I was taking the trip. The fact I never let my parents in on the adventure would ultimately be the lesson.

Let me summarize and get to the point. I got as far as St. Louis and the piece of feces broke down. I left the car at my friend’s father’s house; took a Greyhound to Waco, overstayed my welcome there; took the Greyhound back to St. Louis, overstayed my welcome there; fixed the car, limped it to my parents’ house, walked in after three weeks of no phone calls and said “Hi. Man I’m tired. What’s goin’on? You have anything to eat?” It was at that point the conversation became very one-sided.

After a lot of “You inconsiderate …,” “What were you thinking?” and “You smell like a Greyhound,” I simply said “I am a big boy and you don’t have to worry about me.”

This is when my mother went cold. With a tear in one eye and a dagger in the other, she said “Wait. Wait until you have your own.”

Well, now I know what she was warning me about.

I just got the first email from my daughter, who has begun a very excellent adventure in South America for the next two months. She is in Ecuador right now and eventually will be moving her way through Peru.

Over the mountains and through the woods to the headwaters of the Amazon River we go. There she is hooking up with some other students and overzealous people to establish some sort of mission. (I like to refer to it as a jungle resort. I keep asking for the VRBO number, but she won’t give it to me).

She doesn’t have a Euro Pass because she’s not in Europe. She and her friend are taking buses in this part of the world, and I’m pretty sure the roads are similar to Independence Pass when it’s not open.

Of course, the driver hasn’t had a good night sleep in years and the oil hasn’t been changed on the 1976 Greyhound bus since it was purchased from an American subsidiary in 1975 after its last trip to St Louis.

Now I find out she hooked up for six days with a friend who has a grant to collect and study different jungle species of mice.

Oh my God, imagine my surprise when I find out she is collecting diseased rodents from a jungle that does not in any way resemble the Berry Picker Trail. At this point, I could not be more proud, and the script continues to get better (?).

I read further and realized because of that bewitching and fortuitous encounter, she meets another guy who is a friend of the other guy, who also collects different species of things. This guy likes beetles (cockroaches). “And he gets paid for it, Dad,” she writes me. (Makes a tear swell right in your left eye, doesn’t it?)

I could feel her disdain for me. It came through the printed words.

All I can say in the return email to her is “Click once if you got your shots and click twice if you didn’t.”

Even though I knew of the trip, I felt misled as a parent. The whole time I thought she was staying at a Marriott. If that girl comes home alive, I’m going to kill her. Then I’m going to say, “You wait girl. You wait until you have your own. Now give me a hug.”

(Remember, I only went to Waco.)


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