While vacationing in Orlando last week, every evening we played a card game called Liar. It's a simple game, but because it requires a lot of bluffing it can also be very funny. We're talking side-splitting, roll-on-the-floor, mad-dash-to-the-bathroom laughter.
The game also provided an ongoing joke because sometimes I would win, sometimes Joe, sometimes Nicholas, and sometimes even Timothy ... but never Jonathan. Ever. He made a big production of it: every night he was determined to win, and every night he didn't. It got funnier and funnier.
It's memories like this that makes me love vacations. Sure, we play games at home. We laugh, tell stories and create memories. But there is something about these things happening in a different city, town, or even country that makes them stand out. It's as if our senses are exaggerated. We laugh louder, play harder, and feel more when we're on vacation.
After every vacation I come back a new person because, really, how can I walk in our nation's capital, witness a splendid sunset over the Bay of Naples, or walk with ghosts on Ellis island and not be changed? How can I see the Pope, have a charming conversation with the old man at the mercato in Tuscany, watch a bullfight in Spain, or even meet Mickey Mouse and not be a different person?
As I travel, I pick up seeds of creativity that I bring home to plant and nurture. The geraniums in my terra cotta pots, my new recipe for insalata caprese, the manner in which we entertain, and even the simplicity of our master bedroom are all ideas I picked up during our vacations both here and abroad.
It's a great big world out there ... a beautiful world ... and to experience it means we sometimes have to head into the unknown armed only with a map, some guidebooks, and a spirit of adventure.
And along the way, memories are created and stored.
On the very last night of our vacation, we decided to play Liar again. Even though it was 11 o clock at night and we were all tired, we just had to play one more game - one last game - for old time's sake.
This time we laughed because the joke was on us.
Finally, finally Jonathan won.