Clan Donaldson Goes to Gettysburg

With patience on the part of children and adults swiftly drying up, we decided to go back to the hotel and start winding down for the day.  My mom, bless her heart, let the cat out of the bag about the indoor pool, and Ken and I quickly found ourselves under attack by an army of children demanding pool privileges.  Either my mom forgot that four of her grandchildren can’t swim, or else she hates me, because I was totally happy avoiding the whole thing (and had even conveniently “forgotten” the kids’ bathing suits), but we ended up going anyway.

As expected, one child almost cracked his head open running on slick cement, and another one tried his hardest to drown himself in the hot tub.  Since my hands were full dealing with both, you’ll have to forgive me for not providing visual illustrations of this very exciting chapter in our trip.

Mama having swiftly reached her limit of pooltime fun, we herded the dripping horde back to the hotel room where they enjoyed the rarely seen delights of cable television before drifting off to sleep.  A sleep that lasted maybe seven or eight hours before waking at the crack of dawn.  Just like at home.

Figuring we’d exhausted the possibilities of Gettysburg with the 9-and-under-crowd, we packed up the semi-wrecked hotel room, hastily checked out, and then headed off to a place sure to hold the attention of the 9-and-under crowd:

The Hershey’s Chocolate museum.  That’s right.  A whole area dedicated to chocolate.  Anything for the kids.

Lured in by free parking and several free attractions, we thought we’d really played the system and gotten a full two hours of quality entertainment for nada.  And that’s when we saw the “Design Your Own Chocolate Bar” option.  For a price I don’t want to think about right now, you were able to design your own candy bar, down to the packaging, and see it being made.

A fool and his money, right?

We made our way back to the van with lighter wallets, heavier BMIs, but five one-of-a-kind candy bars, and started the long, long, long, long, long, long, trip home.

So long.  So very very long.

Do you know there is actually a physical limit on the number of knock knock jokes one can hear?  And eventually, your whole world is reduced to a stinky, trashed van, and toll booth after toll booth.

But, thank you sweet Baby Jesus, we did eventually make it home, and while my van still hasn’t recovered, the family has, and is already talking about “the next time we visit Gettysburg!”

The next time we visit, I’m strapping myself to the roof and hoping for the best.

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Cari Donaldson lives on a New England farm with her high school sweetheart, their six kids, and a menagerie of animals of varying usefulness. She is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and has a website for her farm, Ghost Fawn Homestead.

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