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Growing up with a father who worked at Caterpillar Tractors, our family vacation schedule was set by the company. It wasn’t until I was in junior high or high school that I realized summer vacation wasn’t called “Cat vacation.” Entire plants would shut down for weeks at a time as the employees went on vacation.

Cat vacation affected everything in and around Peoria. Businesses would experience slow downs and our church would have a combined Wednesday night Bible class in the auditorium, instead of the normal age-graded classes.

Part of our family ritual every summer was to pack the car — either a Bonneville or Impala, depending on the summer — and head for southwest Missouri. By the time I was born I had only one living grandparent, my grandmother Grace. This meant that we would spend at least one week visiting my dad’s mom and his family who still lived in West Plaines.

The town was typical small town: courthouse on the square and blue plate specials at the diner. It even had a pool hall but I was expressly forbidden from going in.

One of my favorite vacation memories was when we opted to go to Syracuse, New York, to see my Aunt Golden. We roamed the Adirondack mountains and even went to Niagara Falls. Somewhere in a scrapbook is a picture of me standing in front of the falls, long hair and no glasses.

The best vacations provide a time for restoration, adventure, and learning. They also create the memories that become a key part of our life stories. I hope as we look at faith destinations this month that you will find the same to be true in your spiritual life.