My siblings’ birthday trips started with my older sister’s, Namhee, 50th birthday. As her birthday approached, my brother, Daniel, and the sister, Kay, suggested we should take a family trip. Knowing my financial situation, they told me not to worry about the expenses. They paid for the whole trip.
Namhee came from the east coast. We took the airplane together and went to Las Vegas. During the two nights and three days trip, we stayed in a nice hotel, ate good food, and even watched an expensive show. It was our first family trip together ever since I reached an adulthood.
Three years later, it was my turn, my 50th birthday. They asked me where I wanted to go. I had no idea. To tell the truth, I was not interested in any trip. I fell in love with a woman, my wife, and too busy talking to her on the phone. I picked Las Vegas again. This time, five of us, my parents, Daniel, Kay, and I, drove together and Namhee flew into Las Vegas. Eunju was in Korea with her family.
We walked around and toured the newly built hotels. Parents liked slot machines. Cachuma Casino was in 45 minutes’ drive from their Ventura apartment. They went there often. People who like gambling only seem to remember the time they won. They always talk about the winnings. During my birthday trip, father played slot and won the first day. He gave all of us some money. Next day, he was penny less.
The best trip was my brother’s, two years later. He picked Sedona. Then, both I and he were married and the family got bigger. We packed lunches and snacks, split into two cars, and drove 8 hours to Sedona. Kay who had been there before guided us and we had a good time. We went to see Indian dwellings and took Pink Jeep to the mountains. We all bought clay dyed shirts and took group pictures.
Kay’s birthday trip three years later was the last trip we took together. She wanted to go to the seaside town, Cambria. We stayed at Cambria Pines Lodge known for the beautiful garden. It was nice having breakfast in cozy dining room. Breakfast at the cool garden table was even better. I took my in-laws there when he came to see us few years later. We took some food and cooked spicy pork in the room.
Kay’s birthday and parents’ anniversary were the same day, June 13th. Kay was not in the good mood during the trip. Parents who got older were even more self-centered then. They wanted to celebrate their anniversary during Kay’s birthday dinner.
There were few casinos on the way to Cambria. Parents wanted to go to the casinos. We knew they would most likely lose money. Therefore, we thought it would be better to stop at casinos on our way back. On the last day, father did not wake up until late morning. It turned out he took the sleeping pills. He went to bed early to get the rest for the casino next day. He could not fall asleep. So, he took a pill, and then another one.
On our drive home, he slept and slept. We did not go to the casino. I wish we were a bit more generous and kinder to him. We never went to casino with him.
We all vowed we would have more trips when we reached 60’s. But we never had another trip. We invited Namhee when she turned 60, and she did not come. The year I turned 60, father passed away in June and mother followed him in October.
Every once in a while, I looked at the photos of our Sedona trip and cherished the fine memories. I wish I could have a similar trip with my kids before it’s too late.