The first time that we made the trip to Florida it was very cold here in Columbus, OH and we had just celebrated Christmas. Our family filled the car with suitcases, coolers of drinks, sangwiches (no not a misspelling but the proper pronunciation if you are Italian) and snacks. We were very anxious to get to Florida and stay in our aunt and uncle’s new condo. I had to be 9 or 10 years old and for my “little” brother and me it was our first trip to Florida. While we had never made such an extensive road trip prior, my brother had already learned the fine art of taking over the entire backseat of the car and I had not learned the fine art of saying NO. I do not remember the exact car, I do remember that the backseat seemed big as we started out but it didn’t take long for my brother to stretch the length of the entire seat. He sure looked comfortable...
As we made our way south, the cassette played on and on with one song over and over. I am pretty sure that my father played it continuously just to keep us content and singing. Still to this day I can’t hear Feliz Navida by Jose Feliciano without smiling, singing along, and having my mind go back to that first Florida trip.
There will not be any music by Jose Feliciano playing on this trip, but as we head to the very same destination, all the same feelings are stirred. That condo has become our family destination ever since. That very condo is now owned by my parents and the vacation has become a tradition for my kids and my brothers’ families as well. Each time we pull into the parking lot at the condo, a little piece of my childhood is reborn.