My family and I like to travel, and when we do, we drive to our destinations. Vacation vans have contained many good memories, including playing video games and watching movies (things that are limited at home for my siblings and me but which we are allowed to do more on vacation), as well as seeing scenery outside of my hometown. The common factor of all of the drives to all of my family’s vacation destinations is sandwiches, which my dad makes as my mom drives the van.
My family has expanded the options for sandwiches that my dad makes on the road on vacation, but the vacation sandwich menu began with only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at that time, when I was about 5, were a treat. My mom made healthy pasta meals at home, which I appreciated but which were the everyday menu, so I loved the chance to eat something different on vacation. It was special. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were something that I didn’t get very often but something I could depend upon getting in the van on vacation. However, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were new and exciting for only a few years on vacation.
To keep the sandwich selection a special part of vacation, the sandwich menu grew to encompass peanut butter and honey sandwiches as well. I have always liked peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Although I don’t really like the overwhelming texture and smell of peanut butter, I can stand it more when it is accompanied with honey, as opposed to the less sweet alternative, jelly. The honey soaks into the bread, making it sweet with delicious crunchy honey crystals. I enjoyed peanut butter and honey sandwiches on vacation beginning with a trip to Boston when I was in seventh grade.
The next year, my family’s vacation sandwich menu received a big upgrade. On our trip to Colorado to ski in the mountains, my family and I had not only peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and honey, but also incorporated sandwiches not containing peanut butter. For the sake of my sister who hates peanut butter, my parents started making cheese sandwiches. They also bought packets of tuna salad from Walmart and made tuna salad sandwiches. Best of all, my family reached their highest vacation sandwich sophistication yet when they made cheese and leftover steak sandwiches.
That year in the fall, the sandwich diversity took an unfortunate downgrade on a trip to Disney World. Because my family packed all of the vacation food in a suitcase so that we could fly down to Florida, there was limited space for sandwich ingredients. On that vacation, our sandwiches were only peanut butter and jelly and peanut butter and honey. My siblings and I were disappointed, but we did not let a setback in meals dampen the magic of Disney. In fact, the limited sandwich selection led to a special moment between my dad and me. I was bored with the food options and a little hungry after eating only sandwiches for a few days in a row with only a few other food items. One night, when my siblings chose to swim instead of eating at a fancy restaurant, I had a father-daughter date at the restaurant. It was a special treat in the midst of the humble food options that I had consumed for the first few days of vacation.
My siblings and I appreciated and enjoyed the vacation despite the lack of diversity in our meals, but we would have been pleased to learn that the next year, the vacation sandwich menu reached heights that it had never known before. On our vacation of hiking in national parks and visiting relatives who lived near them, the sandwich options were peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and honey, cheese and mayonnaise, and lunch meat and cheese. The new option, which had never graced my family’s menu on vacation before, was well received. My family doesn’t eat lunch meat often, so the new sandwich was a treat that was different from our diet at home. The sandwiches fueled hiking, kayaking, and sightseeing on that trip. The sandwiches were a good part of that trip, but rather than being the highlight of the trip, they were the sustenance that provided energy to do all of the unique things that we did and see all of the unique things that we saw on that trip.
Sandwiches fulfilled that role on all of the vacations on which I have been. Even when the sandwiches were a unique treat on vacation, they were not the most interesting thing on that venture out of my hometown. Nonetheless, they were the common factor of all of the interesting adventures on which I have been on all of my family vacations. Sandwiches remind me of all of the fun experiences that I have had with my family outside of our hometown.