Military Family Travel

John Paul Jones

Whenever the family traveled whether on vacation or to a new posting, it was in the family car, invariably a station-wagon of some make and model. My Dad always drove; by the age of six or seven I was promoted to the front passenger seat. This was an important spot for it carried great responsibilities. I was the navigator, a task I became very good at, so much so I filled it on patrols overseas, and on field trips as I got my masters and PhD. I was responsible for keeping my Dad supplied with drink, sodas, coffee, or water, and snacks. The most important of which was cinnamon balls, a hard candy.

I never had a sweet tooth but to this day I still pack cinnamon balls when I travel, and cinnamon gum when I fly. The locals I trained overseas loved that practice.

My mom was in the back seat with my younger brother (6 years younger). Her responsibilities were legion– she had to take care of my brother Davey, pass me drinks, and large snacks. Our Scotty rode in the very back, he usually hung over the seat, mainly over my mom’s shoulder, breathing his “fragrant” doggy breath in her face. My mom armed herself with a squirt bottle of a blue powder which was supposed to improve on the smell. In truth all it seemed to do was make the dog snort a couple times. The Scotty indicated when it was time for him to relieve himself by digging his claws into my long suffering mother’s shoulder.

I can remember the collective din inside the car, my Dad yelling at me, “Which way do I go dammit!” Going 70mph down the freeway, while demanding a cinnamon ball or Pepsi, my Mother balancing my little brother as he stood awkwardly trying to pee in a Tang Jar (no stops except for gas for this family), the dog snorting from blue powder which drifted in a fine mist over the back seat, as my mom cringed from his claws digging in.

Ah! Travel for the military family


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