Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

Busing the family, pets, to Maryland

By Vicki Tillis | Nov 21, 2013

My daughter Kendra and her fiance Bolo have settled on a wedding date: March 14, 2015.

Now, 2015 might seem a long time off, but our family has lots of planning to do so we can all get out to Maryland.

My dad, always hunting for bargains on the Internet, came across a 15-passenger bus — you know like the little white and blue 10-15 Transit buses driving around Fairfield — for $2,000. He thought that would be the perfect vehicle to get us all across the 940.3 miles from Fairfield to Towson.

Of course, the first four reservations are for my parents, my son Ethan and me.

My mom said we have to take my sister Karen and her boyfriend Chip because Chip is a semi truck driver and would have no qualms driving a bus this size through the metropolitan cities along our route. That’s six seats.

We also have to take my sister Diane and her boyfriend Jesus because Jesus is a magician and can perform in the aisle so we don’t get bored. That’s eight seats.

The rest of the passengers will be: my brother Dennis and his wife Kristy, my nieces Julyn and Joella and Joella’s boyfriend Jake. That’s 13 seats.

But to save time, because we can’t be stopping every time one of these 13 people has to use the bathroom, we’re going to take out one of the seats and install a potty chair enclosed by a plastic shower curtain for privacy.

My mom said each of us can take only one small suitcase because it will have to fit under our seat. But, I have an old “Big Mac”-style luggage carrier in the rafters of my garage that we can strap on top of the bus to give us more luggage space.

We’re going to have to take out the last seat to make room for pet kennels.

My mom and dad have a dog and a cat. Ethan and I have a dog and a cat. My sister Diane has a dog. My sister Karen has a cat. My brother Dennis and his wife Kristy have a dog. Joella and Jake have a puppy. Julyn has a dog. We can’t all take off to Maryland and leave our pets behind. No one would be here to take care of them.

We will have to stack their kennels and figure out who will be willing to share traveling space with whom. That will be quite tricky because my dog only likes my cat and my mom’s dog. My mom’s cat is afraid of everyone, but will tolerate her dog. Diane’s dog and Julyn’s dog do not get along. Joella’s dog is only a puppy. Dennis’s big dog might get aggressive with the littler animals. And Karen’s cat has never met any of these other pets. Oh, and I forgot Dennis and Kristy have goats and chickens!

Let me know when you figure out a kenneling chart.

And we have to have space for a cooler so my mom can make sandwiches and feed us while we’re speeding down the road. We all agree it wouldn’t be a real road trip without those sandwiches!

“What will people think when they see this junky bus pull in and 13 people get out holding onto six dogs, three cats and who knows how many goats and chickens?” my mom asked. “People will think we’re the ‘Hillbillies.’ … Bolo would be so embarrassed.”

Actually, Kendra and Bolo are planning to have a small wedding in Maryland, with only a dozen or so people attending, and then have receptions in New Jersey, where Bolo’s family is from, and in Iowa, where, of course, Kendra’s family is from.

So, we won’t need that little bus in 2015, but we’ve had great fun making all our plans for it, maybe we should just take a road trip to Maryland this summer!

– Vicki Tillis is The Fairfield Ledger lifestyles editor.

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