|   



Simple Fun
by Jean Loxley-Barnard





Vacation time is right ahead but not everyone is packing up and going off to distant destinations this year. It's okay. There are all kinds of vacations - extended, grand, luxurious . . .and simple!

Picture a picnic at the beach before the tourist influx and how much fun it is to fly a kite on a windy spring day. Think of time spent with loved ones instead of poring over maps and packing suitcases that end up looking like we're going around the world in 80 days.



Simple fun. Does that concept make you breathe a sigh of relief at the exact moment you catch your breath with excitement?


While I rewind in my mind fabulous vacations at distant destinations to smile over again, equally wonderful are moments at home when family and friends play softball in the pasture or crochet on the lawn. There are also wonderful memories of unique day trips within hours or minutes of home.

A simple day at the Chrysler Museum with my granddaughter to view intriguing table settings, displayed among antiques and art, stands out in my mind. She was in a stage where she loved to set the table in artistic ways, with any set of dishes and memorabilia throughout the house at her disposal. There weren't many 10 year-old children touring that exhibit, but none of the adults wandering through enjoyed it more than the child and her grandmother who went through twice before enjoying the box lunch provided in the atrium.

Ponder what we have here everyday that tourists come hundreds or thousands of miles to admire. Have you ever viewed the ocean through the eyes of a guest from the mid-west? When was the last time you stepped barefoot in the sand?

I think the time we spend together experiencing
the smallest, even most minute, of pleasures
is all about what is so loosely bantered
about as quality time.

Quality time doesn't mean we have to go to Disney World, as wonderful as that is; quality time means being together, focused on each other. Being with our beloved or our children, grandchildren, friends - that is what matters, being with them, regardless of where we happen to be. It is the focus that counts.

I bonded with one dear child by searching for ladybugs in the rose garden. Simple, right? It was the fact that we were together - doing the same thing - that mattered.

In these days of cell phones when we are always connected to the entire world, one old reason for going on vacation - getting away from it all - has vanished. We can, however, get away from it all right here, right now. Let's turn off the cell phone, take a blanket and a basket of chicken, and go to the nearest patch of woods or private park with someone we love, and watch and listen for a bird - together.

How we use our time makes it a vacation or not. Think of how many little vacations we can have if we really want them.




Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.