He’s the one that started it all. This crazy travel bug.
From what I remember of being 5, it wasn’t a great year for the Drover family. I was just finishing up Kindergarten when my Dad had his accident. Nicole was 12. And I don’t remember all the details, I mostly remember coming home from school on the bus and my aunt Sandy was at my house, hugging my mom and making us dinner. I remember being excited-as is the way with pampered children, I didn’t suffer from anxiety then like so many (myself included) do. It never occurred to me that something could be wrong. We must be having a party….AND SANDY IS COOKING! YAY! But no. What happened that day changed the geography of my family’s history. Dad had had a very serious accident and was electrocuted-he was fighting for his life while i was walking home from the bus, and I didn’t realize it. What would turn into the better part of 2 years in and out of hospital started that day for my father, and in turn for my entire family.
The point is, when he came out of it, alive although not whole, his goal in life was to live. And not just in respect to his fight to get out of a hospital bed…but to LIVE. And what could be the biggest dream for a father of 2 young, tramuatized children from rural Newfoundland? Disney World. There could be no better place on earth to bring back the Drover family “happy”. And there it started. We went back to Florida most years from the time I was 6 until I was 19. It became an institution in our family. “Wanna be friends? We go to Disney? You wanna come?”. And we brought friends and boyfriends and husbands and cousins.
So it began. And ever since, when ever something big happened, we would travel. Not run away per say….but kind of? Years later (in the same month as dads accident-and on his birthday no less) when Nicole had surgery for a Brain tumour-the minute she could travel-before her hair was even a few inches thick with regrowth- we went back to Disney again. And I went there for my honeymoon. And we brought Mom and Dad back there again just 7 years ago when she turned 65.
Somewhere along the way we realized that travel is the only way we know how to celebrate. This is why we go away every may for or anniversarys. Its not the same unless we do.
Well now mom and dad are celebrating their 50th anniversary. An anniversary that, if you’d asked me at 5, Nicole at 12, and mom at 36, never would have happened. But here it is. How else would we celebrate? So the idea of a trip to Italy was born-one my mother has always wanted to make.
So you see dad, this is all your fault. You started this when you taught us that being alive to see this world is a privilege. One that it is our duty to take advantage of. And mom, you taught us that if you make memories with the ones you love, those memories will be there to catch you when you need them…..You taught us that travel can be a restart-and a regrouping. So be ready tomorrow at noon. Your girls are takin you to Italy. (Please remember your teeth).