The Clampetts at the Marriot (1)

  Instead of a vacation every summer growing up like other families, my family and I went to church camp. We never really had the extra money to go on a vacation. Church camp in and of itself was outstanding and my family and I looked forward to it every single summer. But the summer before my senior year in high school Mom and Dad decided, What the hey! Let's *splurge!* This was only the beginning of the best vacation EVER.
  I don't know whose idea it was for us to take this wild and crazy vacation but, as always with my parents, it was very spur of the moment. Somehow Kris Rogers who was and remains Chase's BFF was roped into this party of sorts. Since then, we've just adopted him as our "brother from another mother."
  For a week, or there abouts, we were headed to Panama City Beach...because hanging out on the "Miracle Strip" with your parents at 17 years old is TOTALLY cool. There were two other families with whom we would be vacationing. Now that I think back, they were responsible for inviting our family and I will forever be grateful to them for these amazing memories.
  At that time my dad worked for Carpets of Dalton as a flooring salesman. As incentive to "bring in the business" (aka cash) the salesmen were awarded "points" in which they could use for items in certain magazines, clothing stores, electronic stores, etc. and of course, vacation accommodations. This particular summer Dad used his points for a night at the Marriot Bay Pointe Resort in Sand Destin, Florida....the upper class part of Northwest Florida. ( was upper class to us)
  We packed up the family truckster and hit the road. Now, my mother had a used Volvo station wagon....which just shot my "cool-o-mometer" sky high when you thought of me riding down the Strip in that thing......with my parents. We called it, as perverted as it sounds, "the used vulva." It was white with red leather interior. It also had air conditioning............that didn't work. There we were, 2 adults and 3 semi adults, crammed into that used Volvo......sweating like two rats loving it up in a wool sock on a sunny day. Please keep in mind that Kris was every bit as large as Chase: Both 6'4". Both around 250 pounds....on an empty stomach. Both sweaty football players. And I was stuck between them.....for 6 hours....with no air conditioning. We rolled the windows down on the drive south, but it rained. And the windows had to be rolled up.
  It was a sight watching that mess drive down the road, I'm sure. Our luggage was strapped to the top and a camouflage tarp. The gas cap had broken free from the car so it appeared we had a huge hole in the side. The Volvo also had a problem with backfiring very loudly.....Again, with the cool-o-mometer. Again with the sweating.This was going to be GREAT.
  My parents knew little of Sand Destin as this was when it was fairly new and not many people knew about it period. We followed the map closely and when we arrived, well, let's just say we were in for a surprise. Not only was Sand Destin its own little community, but so was the Marriot Bay Pointe.
  By the time we entered the Sunshine State it was living up to its name. There was no rain; not a drop of moisture in sight. The windows were rolled down, the tarp was flapping, the gas cap was still missing, and we were all still sweating. We found the Marriot....and pulled in. Much to our surprise, this place was pretty swanky. And everyone there drove a Mercedes or some other European car that was worth more than four of my momma's Volvos.
  We could not believe our eyes, this place was GORGEOUS! .....And rich....unlike us. The resort looked almost brand new it was so perfectly kept. The grass (all around and on the golf course) was a vibrant green, the kind you only see on television because the weather is never perfect enough anywhere for grass to stay alive and so stuffed with chlorophyll. Any shrubbery was shaped as if someone went over it with a pair of sewing scissors to cut every branch and leaf so precise that they seemed like overgrown green balloons. Tropical flowers indigenous to the warm salty Florida climate added just enough color to complete the beautiful picture.
  We rolled into the resort slowly as to soak everything in.
 "Quick roll up the windows," Mom said quietly.
  We knew not to ask why. We were the ONLY car like this on the whole of the resort....with that camo tarp.
  "Moe, get out and fix the tarp. Put the gas cap on...QUICK!"  Excitement set in. We acted like 5 year old school girls so much we could not believe our eyes. We were laughing hysterically at Mom and Dad putting on airs as we inched closer to the valet at the check in breezeway. The men on the golf course looked up to see the camo covered desecration pulling in, at the "big sweaty people" and....What is that noise? A catalytic converter rattling? 
  The Volvo came to a hault in front of the valet, all decked out in his little "I'll park your car for a fat tip" uniform................................BANG!!!!!! He was almost knocked out of that dorky monkey suit when our used Volvo backfired and blacked smoke billowed from the muffler. Dad rolled down his window. Through the hot salty sweat pouring from his bald head and in his most southern red neck accent asked, "Do ya'll get the luggage or d'we?"


  1. Oh that has me rolling! CRACKING UP!!

    I look forward to more of this vacation....

    We went to Sand Destin when I was younger (maybe 9 or 10?) and I remember how "swanky" everything was. We were out of our element. We were with my aunt and uncle who like to act swankier than they should for Murray Countians, and they went into this crazy expensive knick-knack store. My mom picked up a very tiny glass goose (because our kitchen was decorated in geese and blue, like all good kitchens were back in the 90s). She dropped it, and the store owners made her pay for it, and it was SUPER expensive and took just about our whole vacation budget. It was awful. Of course now she would have told the store to shove it that that's why they have insurance, and she doesn't legally have to pay. We never went back to Sand Destin...

  2. Brandi, I am laughing so hard that I am now crying. That is hilarious! What a good way to start a Sunday morning. Thank you. That sounds like a car that my family may have had at one point. We never had anything nice growing up. It was always an old used vehicle that someone did not want anymore.


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