This line from Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut popped into my head after following some travel itineraries suggested by my in-laws.
Upon retiring from a combined 65 years of teaching English in public high schools, my in-laws have taken to the road and air, visiting all the places they missed over the years because the obligatory family trips invariably were focused on Boy Scout camps, Disney parks, beach vacations and museum visits.
In the last few years they’ve taken several long international trips and frequent smaller excursions, each one painstakingly planned, researched and organized. While on the trip, every event is photographically recorded by my father-in-law (averaging +1500 pictures per week-long trip), while my mother-in-law uses a photocopied grid that looks eerily like a lesson plan to record information about every place they see in the columns labeled place/date/background/notes, etc. It’s systematic, thorough and adorable. For Nick and me, the careful documentation means that they can tell us in exacting detail the best places to go (and how to find them).
Thanks to them, we’ve tried Sally Lunn’s buns in Bath, England, and celebrated the last St. Augustine Day in Salzburg at a festival hosted by the Augustiner Brewery at Mülln. Tom and Becky are very good dance instructors.