The Tradition

There is something to be said for tradition when it comes to the family trip. As a child, most of my family’s summer vacations were spent either in New Braunfels, Texas or at the Coca Cola Camp on Lake Bruin in Louisiana.

Typically, we’d go with five or six other families to New Braunfels for the Fourth of July. We always stayed in a little area called The Other Place, an oval cul-de-sac of houses and condos surrounding a grassy median with playground equipment, picnic tables and barbecues. We’d float the river in inner tubes, cook out, play horseshoes, watch fireworks and the Wimbledon finals, nearly drown at the Schlitterbahn water slide and generally run barefoot and wild with hordes of other kids while our parents played tennis and drank wine coolers. It was great.

Coca Cola Camp was very similar, only we’d join my Dad’s four sisters and their families in a giant screened-in house for a week of family fun. Shout out to the Coodys! My Uncle Robert worked for Coke, and through some generous arrangement completely unbeknownst and beside the point to me, my sisters and I got to spend several glorious days with our aunts, uncles, 11 cousins and miscellaneous tagalongs. We’d hang out on the dock, waiting with fear and excitement for Uncle Robert to hurl us into the lake. We also fished for gar, made cheese dip, helped ourselves to an endless supply of Cokes and played Monopoly into the wee hours while our parents drank beer. It was great.

Being European and all, Jasper’s family trips were a little different from ours. Ski holidays in the Austrian Alps and “camping” vacations on the French Riviera were a far cry from La-Tex lakes and rivers, but my sense is their trips had many of the same components ours did. Really, white trash really isn’t so far removed from Euro trash, but that’s a post for a different day.

My little family is very lucky to have a generous friend who lets us use his condo in Crested Butte, Colorado, so our tradition happens to be in the most beautiful mountain town in the world. Seriously, I challenge you to find one that’s any lovelier. The first time we went to CB, it was summertime and Stella was two years old. We recently got back from our fourth winter trip, and I still love the whole package…Jasper’s infectious enthusiasm for skiing, spending hours in front of the fire, soaking in pristine landscapes and clean air, making memories with friends, and doing things that are slightly out of my comfort zone. There’s nothing like 12 degree temps and an accidental encounter with a scary slope to make you feel alive!

Most of all, though, it’s a thrill to watch Stella enjoy the mountains. I don’t know if it’s possible to feel nostalgic for the moment you are in, but the slightly tweaked deja vu sensation you feel watching your child experience the same thing year after year triggers something like it.

If you go to Crested Butte four years in a row…

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