Grand Familyfest Hotel

My family spent a few days at a hotel over the holiday. It was a nice stay at a lovely complex with lots of fun and exciting things to do. A few observations from the stay:

  • Pushing a button is not exactly roller coaster exciting, yet there is something apparently hard wired in siblings where they HAVE to push the button first. I saw several times with parents saying, “No, you pushed it  last time. Let you brother push it first.” Mine are teens now. And we still have to do that, for some reason. I haven’t been on an elevator withany of my three sisters in years, but I wonder if we would still have the same desire to compete. Or if they would just let me go ahead and push the button, since it’s clearly my turn.
  • My children are inherently loud people, as they come from a long line of inherently loud people, myself included. We just talk louder than most. I was pleased that my kids were able to turn down the loudness during the stay in the hotel room.
  • That said, many people can’t or don’t turn down the loudness. And several of them traveled in large groups in the hallways early in the morning.
  • There was a heated pool at the hotel, and my son really wanted to go one night and burn off some energy. I agreed to go down there with him, and told him that if there was no one in the pool, we could throw a ball around. Well, a heated pool is nice, even when the air is rather cool. You know what is even nicer? The hot tub connected to the pool. We decided to sit in the 100-degree water and pitch the ball back and forth in there, enjoying the super hot water. After a few minutes, an older woman approached and started to enter the hot tub. Parker knew it was going to be time to stop throwing the ball. As she entered the hot tub, she said, “Don’t stop throwing it on my account. I’ll dodge it if it comes my way.” I like you, ma’am.
  • We were staying in Stone Mountain, Ga., which is positively gorgeous this time of year. Normally, when driving in the car, I don’t particularly care if my crew members are on their phones. Keeps ‘em occupied and lets me focus on other things, such as not them. However, the brilliantly vibrant changing leaves and the amazing views of the lake as we traveled the winding roads of the park were just too breathtaking. “Phones up everybody.” Nothing like a direct order to enjoy nature, stat!img_9695
  • I had never played chess on a giant chessboard before. This one was outside over a space of about 12-feet by 12-feet. It had pieces about three feet tall. And it was awesome. I played my son, and reminded him that sometimes, especially in chess, there is no mercy.
  • Hotel coffee is one of the greatest gifts to mankind we have ever known. I know lots of folks love their gourmet coffee that costs like $5 a cup. But there is something deliciously rewarding about some single-serve coffee in a styrofoam cup, especially when sitting on a patio overlooking a lake. Keep in mind, I’m a guy who finds gas station hot dogs delicious, so I may not exactly be a gourmand.
  • I don’t have a cleaning service at my house, but if I did, I feel confident I would be the person who cleans up the entire house before the maid comes over. That’s how I am before leaving the room before room service comes in. “Come on, everyone. Let’s tidy up the room before the people who tidy up the room get here.” Fairly certain housekeeping comes into my room and says, “Have we already been here?”

Glad we had a nice visit, and glad my family can be a civilized group when the need arises. I look forward to our next stay in a hotel, when we will be quiet and, of course, take turns on who gets to press the elevator button. Pretty sure it’s my turn.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.

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