by Leeann Burke

While growing up my family always took a vacation in the summer. We’d go camping in a tent trailer without electricity. I can hear your gasps from here. Yep we camped without A/C and we always had a good time.
These were the best 2 weeks of the year as far as I was concerned. 

My father worked as a director of the National Park in La Maurice in Quebec. He worked long hours and although we spent almost every weekend camping in the park, during the year we shared his attention with his job, except for those two weeks a year where we’d get his undivided attention. 

Sometimes a little distraction would have been good like the time I got in trouble the first day of our vacation. I can’t even remember what I did or said but my punishment was to clean the tent trailer. Don’t worry the trailer was always kept clean, so I just had to take out the garbage and such. It wasn’t a huge punishment, but to an 11 year old who couldn’t sit down for more than 2 seconds, this was a big deal. 

I didn’t think I deserved to be punished like that so I decided to take a stand and do more than clean the tent trailer. What did I do? Well at school that year I found out what smoking did to your body and more specifically your lungs. You see my father was a smoker who smoked a lot. So I decided to teach the person who punished me a lesson. What did I do to my poor unsuspecting father? I threw out his cigarettes – all his cigarettes for the two weeks we were away.  

The following morning when my father couldn’t find his cigarettes he asked me where I had put them. I boldly told him they were gone. I can still remember the expression on his face, it wasn’t a happy one. When my mother asked me why I would do such a thing? I proudly told her that I decided to not only clean the tent trailer but his lungs as well. I think I stunned my mother because she didn’t say anything while my father was beyond ticked. Let’s just say that for a little while I wasn’t his favourite child. My parents did find some money in the budget for him to get more cigarettes and we did end up having a wonderful vacation. 

The best thing to come of that vacation is the fact that 6 months later my father quit smoking and hasn’t smoked since. In my 12 year old mind I thought it was because I took a stand to clean up his lungs even though he didn’t want me to. 

To me vacation will always mean family time and making great memories. What are your vacation memories?



  1. Getting together with my aunts and cousins & having a marathon spoons (card game) tournament.

  2. obvious work of fiction. not a word rings true.

  3. Sounds like fun Sewicked.

    Anonymous, I swear it's all true.


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