A Loving Vacation, Memorable in a Primitive Way



We saved all year for our second annual, one day, family vacation. Yep, that’s all we get. That is all the time we can afford. So trust me when I say we will make every minute count.

Now that is not to say we go non-stop. No, it means we will do whatever our hearts and bodies want. If we are tired, we rest; if we want to go, we go. All in all, we keep it in a  family balance and respect each others personable limits. It’s a love thing 😉

We arrived in Niagara Falls, late Saturday evening, just in time to notice that a soccer team of young girls are staying in the same motel for the weekend too. (ohhhh joy!) Maybe, just maybe they won’t be on our floor. Well that ‘maybe’ was short-lived! For some reason management thought it was wise to divide the team on two floors, 4 & 10!


Can you guess what the result of that was? You got it! A bunch of girls going up and down the elevator, running up and down the halls until 1 am in the morning. Guess where the adults were? In our hall, on the 4th (YES, 4TH) floor, drinking and discussing why they lost the game that day. (I had to laugh when Pappy came in and told me what they were ‘chewing over’. That was wrong, but I did.) This ordeal didn’t get me down too much, as it was one of their own soccer mom’s who got fed up before I did, and stuck her head out in the hall and hollered at them “SHUT UP! Your keeping the baby awake!” (LOL! yay! now the baby next door will sleep, oh and looky! one of the dad’s went to FIND his two girls)

What did get me down earlier, was that I really was looking forward to the hot jacuzzi for some water therapy. It was a long cold week past and the jacuzzi would help rejuvenate me greatly. Well, that got blown by the fact that the soccer team had swarmed in the pool and the jacuzzi is out-of-order. (bummer for me! Not so much of a bummer for Bubba! WINK!) I went to the office desk and asked if there was a chance to go in after the girls were done? The clerk laughed and said, probably not, the previous night they had to go in and kick the girls out after hours! (hmmm, I don’t imagine that had anything to do with them losing the game today!)

Around 10:30pm Bubba had shown up dutifully to collect his Mama! With excitement he announced that the team had left. (I knew that; I heard them all in the hall, ha-ha) You can still go in the hot tub Mama… some of them were in it and its warm! I thought, hey, maybe there’s still a chance. So I changed and headed on down with him. I secured my towel in a dry spot in the window and bee-lined for the tub. EEEEEEWWWWW! Who was in this hot- tub I asked? The answer–All the babies with water wings! ( It is here that I am refraining all my inner voices on this or else I will have to change the setting of PG on my blog, and frankly, I don’t have the energy for that! 😛 )  Yes, back up to the room I went! And the first thing that Pappy and Bub’ did when they got back was to head straight in for a shower!

My next thought that I allowed myself to relish in, was that I get to SLEEP IN!! No roosters, no goats, no dogs, no early risers to wake me up in dependence of me! Wooo Hooo! And guess what?  This motel had provided the perfect number of pillows for me to do just that! I am set for a good rest!

(If you believed that happened, then you believe they still have beef bacon in the restaurants every fall! <oh how I miss those days>)

Sure enough my internal clock said, GET UP WOMAN! I peaked at the clock that read 6:30 am! Then, the battle in my head resumed until the ‘loud mouth’ that said ‘get up’ gave up and went back to sleep. That is until… ‘somebody’ at 7 am said, “Mama, I’m hungry.”


Ohhhhhhhh I’m done! Wide awake now, I might as well get up, pack up, and head out to the city jungle to forage for the ‘natural’ (NOT ORGANIC, but FDA approved ~choke) food (loosely used) that we can find at an astronomical price! To sum up the ‘food adventure’, it blew my mind how impossible it was to find anything healthy! Our choices were processed-grease, or imitation look-a-likes!

But the coffee was goood

But the coffee was goood

Lesson learned: pack our own food and our own water.

~~~I might mention here, just encase you might be getting the feeling that this vacation is all negative, it is not. Although, it is very insightful of the behavior of this ‘advanced-modern‘ (choke-cough) society. Our vacation ‘goal’ turned out just as we had planned if not better.

From breakfast, we headed on down to the ‘Hill’ Lundy’s Lane, where all the action is. Due to our early morning departure for the day, the line ups shouldn’t be too bad. Our goal: to do the Maid of the Mist and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Maid of the Mist

Maid of the Mist

Ripley's Believe It or Not

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

We quickly discovered that we had to park 1/2 way down the ‘Hill’, and walk down the rest of the way. To our surprise, the sidewalks were already a buzzed with multiculturalism from all over the world! We quickly learned this is not a place to be if you show weakness or handicap. And guess what? Do to the ‘set back’ I had of the previous COLD SNAP week. I was already on borrowed energy. Wisely though, I had my walker knowing this day we would spend walking.

Sadly, we had no clue that we would be improvising a strategy to keep from getting pushed aside or butted out.

So, do we let this sudden burst of grand primitive intelligence get us down? Does it make us turn tail and run back to the quiet and orderly life-style of what we call home? OH NO! I didn’t get this old by quitting! An Ol’ Wide Load, who has been there; done that, and still doing most of it; if not more, despite health issues! I manage a homestead, patiently work at weeds that take 30 years to rid, grow veggie gardens, herb gardens, and raise our own goats and chickens. I have hunted moose, and had it prepped for the freezer right on my kitchen table! So -don’t- go- mess’n- with- my- family- vacation!

Let me tell you, this dark place is only going to get brighter, because it’s a love thing! Our vacation now has two goals! First, we aim to get those smiling memories, and second, we are going to help any other ‘under-dogs‘ along the way!

Of course in a city that is rated one of the ‘world’s most famous tourist attractions‘ and that is narrowed down to ONE STREET, you can just imagine how many different languages we were exposed to that can carry the SAME rude attitude!

Then, to experience all that through a line-up that starts at the top of another hill and goes down 14 stories via, 1 of 4 elevators that are attended by a Maid of the Mist employee who ensures only X number of people get on in an orderly fashion.

To give you a better idea of the crowd, every 15mins,  two of The Maid of the Mist 80 ft., double-decker boats carry 600 passengers every 20mintues!

Yeah that is a LOT!

The workers there are very efficient at their jobs and they keep the ‘herd’ moving quickly. I have had longer waits in ‘fast-food’ line ups! And despite me with a walker (yes, they have ramps not stairs and accommodate wheel-chairs) I did not slow the line. We learned quickly though, that people will not give you a chance and will push around you!

Niagara Falls 030

I looked at Pappy and said, If I’m going to do any memorablesea-sick puking‘, I want to do it over the rail not in the middle of the boat where I won’t feel the mist! We need to keep our family ‘shoulder to shoulder’ to stop this butting in!

That worked!

When we reach the gate to our boat, I scanned the crowd ahead and said to Pappy, I’ll bet they ALL go to second deck! I want the front of boat and on the rail, on first deck. Sure enough, that happened! And we got pleasantly drenched from the mist! To even top that! The water was calm enough and there was no boat-fuel smell making my experience motion sickness free! AWESOME!

The Mist

The Mist

After a great ride, we just waited for the crowd to disperse so we could move a little slower. It’s all up-hill from here baby! Despite doing that, we still had to evoke our family ‘shoulder to shoulder system’, because those behind us were still of that ‘attitude’ and at the elevator line up where you are sectioned off for each elevator! When I saw the second boat crowd coming, I had had enough! To add to my frustration leading to determination, directly in front of me was an elderly couple who did not speak English, not that it mattered… I know advanced signs of dementia and one of them had it. They had enough to already battle so mentally I made them in my circle. It’s a love thing!

When we finally reached the doors, the worker stopped the couple in front of me “no more on” they were told. That made me smile! This could not be more perfect! I moved to stand beside them because they stepped to the side (probably due to already having a bad day of mannerisms), I caught the gentleman’s eye and I pointed at him, then his wife, then motioned to go ahead of me when the doors opened. He smiled and nodded. Sadly, when the doors opened, a pushy women from behind, pushed passed us and tried to encourage her family too! (grrr… not on my watch!) Out loud I spoke for Beau to step up! And he did. I let the gentleman assist his wife in first. They huddled by the buttons. I went straight to the door and BLOCKED anyone from leaving first (love my walker for this). I left only an opening for the gentleman and his wife. And motioned again for my intention. He smiled. My family instinctively knew what to do.

Doors opened.

The gentleman smiled at me and motioned for me to go first! I grinned, shook my head no and motioned him to go first. He BEAMED! ( tears 🙂 AWESOME!)  assisting his wife out. After me and my family got out, I looked up and the flood that followed us quickly drowned out the elderly couple. I twinge to lose them so quickly from sight.

From here, it was back UP THE CLIFTON ‘HILL‘!

Clifton Hill

Clifton Hill

Oh! That was not easy! Yes, I had to pace up slowly. Yet still, I had to take many breaks to pullover and sit on my walker, but, with pure grit to always see a goal through, I made it to the top and into Ripley’s Believe it or Not! YAY ME!

Believe It or Not!

Believe It or Not!

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

The crowd here wasn’t bad at all. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and all that it had to offer. The few others in there at the time we were, were relaxed enough to be able to engage in small talk about each view we would stumble across together to share! One of our favorites was discovering the secret of twisting and waving your tongue! Oh, the laughter we had on that! On another event, I even had the opportunity to explain to a family, why a certain bell was ringing in the cemetery section, and to suggest that if they look in that little glass window on the top, they just might see something.   OH WHAT FUN!

Niagara Falls 142

So, overall did we enjoy our second annual, one day, family vacation? You betcha! We filled our album smiles and memories until our camera ran out of film ( the batteries died on the digital). Luckily, Beau saved the day. He had an extra set of batteries and we had cell phones to fill up as well!

Despite the negative, selfish, attitudes we were surrounded by. We stood our ground and helped others. We were patient to the point that some even chased after their own and told them to ‘shut up’. We looked for the humor in it all and tried to learn lessons for next time. And in the end, we took home many smiles, a new hat, 2 new pairs of sun-glasses, new pair of sandals and a t-shirt for ‘The George’ who we were very grateful to have holding down the fort on The Heart of the BottomsUp.


Oh ya! Let’s not forget the emphasis on one of the lessons of which I learned in reality in these modern-times. In the twentieth century, of which is said to have gotten more intelligent:  IMO, there are different types of ‘handicap’ people. In that single, entire day, I only saw my walker, one other wheel-chair and few elderly. These were NOT the handicaps!


Note:  The rudeness or lack of manners experienced, is NOT a reflection of any of the staff-employees at “Maid of the Mist” nor at “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”.  In fact, all of the  staff employees at both places were exceptional and kind. Thank You.


About Mammy Oaklee

A wife, mother, grand-mother, farmer and wrinkly ol' writer, who's finally got some roots planted in 'The Heart of the BottomsUP 2/3 Acre.' A born and raised city-chick, who found many'a smiles where her heart had always longed to be, in the country. Digging in as close to the beginning of creations, and finding wonderment with a smile. I live my life as a rollar-coaster adventure, and always adding new dreams as old ones are full-filled. Of course, I write about it all!
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4 Responses to A Loving Vacation, Memorable in a Primitive Way

  1. Brenda Salladay says:

    Sounds like you had fun!!

  2. Mike Robbins says:

    GREAT story!!! Glad you found the positives to over rule and kill the negatives!!!! Glad you enjoyed yourselves!!!!!

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