28/365 The Vacation From Hell

28. Comedy of Errors: Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Write about a time everything did.


The story I’m about to tell is famous in my family. It’s about the vacation from hell where every thing, and I do mean every thing, went wrong. From the outside it probably resembled watching Chevy Chase in one of his Griswold family movies, but to live it during that week wasn’t so comical. With some distance it has now become my favorite story to share at parties because of the instant shock value it provides. The story always begins with the same opening line, “One time I got stranded on an island with my family.”

It was the summer of 2006, and my family along with my best friend at the time, piled into a mini van to embark on the twelve-hour drive to Maine. We had been spending two weeks out of the summer there for as long as I had been alive. My mother’s family owned a house, and to this day it is one my favorite places on earth. We spent days kayaking out on the ocean, or walking around town, and always took day trips to adjacent islands to do some hiking.

We’ve been doing this for years and my parents had been doing it for years before that, but on this particular day nothing went according to plan. We took the boat out to an island just a few miles out, and after putting the anchor down we made a game plan of what we wanted to do. This is probably where I should interject that none of us get cell reception on the main island let alone anywhere else outside it. In fact, I think the only person who had a cell at the time was my dad and for some reason he left it at the house. You can already see how this is a recipe for disaster. Not only were we without cell phones but both walkie talkies we owned were out with us instead of leaving one at the house. Amateurs, I know.

So there we were having a great time enjoying the outdoors. My mom, my friend and I enjoyed the sunshine and the water while my brother and dad did some repelling. But by the time they got my brother’s gear set up most of the afternoon had disappeared, and with it the tide went out. This means our burnt orange 40 ft boat was left beached, and we stood in horror realizing what a giant mistake we had made. We tried to push it back in the water but quickly realized that we were going to have to wait for water to come back in. We were stranded.

Meanwhile my grandparents were back out the house scared out of their minds because we still weren’t back. We weren’t alone on the island though. There was a kayaker who had been camping on different islands that gave us drinking water out of a plastic bag and ginger snaps. Needless to say I thought we were going to be murdered in our sleep. It wasn’t all bad. I’ve never seen so many shooting stars in my life, and I don’t know if I’ve seen one since then.

So how did we escape?

Well, the tide did come back in and with the rising sun we heard a motor from a distance and inside a tiny fishing boat were my great uncle bob and grandfather. We pushed it back in the water, and upon reaching the house my grandmother took me in her arms and gave me the longest hug of my life. She wasn’t a hugging person to begin with, but shouted over my head that she had no interest in speaking to my mother. That was our little Gilligan’s Island adventure but the vacation did not end there.

In the following week a storm hit. Shingles were flying off the roof, the power went out on the whole island, and the same burnt orange boat sank. Like I said it was the vacation from hell.


Day Twenty-Eight

photo credit: Ghosts … via photopin (license)


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