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Christmas Vacation

Take A Mulligan

January 19, 2020
By John Sheda , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Several years ago the Sheda clan decided to do away with presents for Christmas. Yes, really!! Deb was getting tired of smiling and telling me how much she loved the gift I got her, when in fact it was the wrong color, size, already had one, etc. However her gift to me was always, ahhhhh, perfect. And the same could be said of all the presents and gifts we exchanged with one another. It was finally decided that the gift-giving tradition was over and the Shedas pooled all that money together to go on a Christmas vacation. Yea, something like Chevy Chase.

There were only two basic rules to the vacation. First it had to be warm. Very warm. T-Shirt; flip-flops and shorts kinda warm and secondly there had to be a huge body of water within a hundred yards or so of our temporary residence. This year it was about an hour from Galveston, Texas. Eight days of mid-70's weather; swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of places to spend our money. Here are some of our thoughts:

Toll Roads. Why do other states get to utilize toll roads? Even Interstates? Aren't Interstates kind of a Federal Thingy??? One such road cost 15 bucks.

Article Photos

John Sheda

We all heard that y'all had some great weather up here too over the Christmas holiday. So my prayers of snow, sleet and sub-zero for you guys went to no avail. Hmmm. Well, they were answered but not until we arrived back home. I think I'm losing my connections with the man upstairs!!!

Iowans must be more trustworthy than other states. Every place we went to get gas was always a "pay first" station. I expected it on the Interstates but even in the smaller towns one had to pay first before pumping that gas. I'm not much of a credit card guy so Deb always had to go in an "pay first." Grrrrrrrrrr.

Speaking of pumping and getting gas, guess where the most expensive gas of the entire 2000 mile trip was? Independence, Iowa. We filled up here at $2.49 and never paid more than $2.19 along the way. Almost paid only $2.03 once but dog-gone it, we didn't need any that time.

On our arrival at Gavelston, Texas, it seems everyone had this uncanny urge to mimic Glen Campbell and sing "Galveston, Galveston...." Well, I did anyway.

Deb and I went on one of those "Ducks" tours around Galveston. You know, those old war vehicles that travel on both water and land. It was a lot of fun and we had a great old guy as our driver and tour guide. He said he's lived in Galveston all his life and has endured several hurricanes in his lifetime and will endure them again. Not sure if I could live with that thought in mind. Can you?

All in all we had a great time and yes, we did find a few places to spend our money. Quite a few places actually.

But I had one major disappointment. On our return trip, we were about 30 miles from a dinky little town called Commerce, Oklahoma. I wanted to divert our route and visit this small town. Why? Come on, you gotta be kidding me. You don't know the importance of Commerce, Oklahoma? I'm sure any "true-blue, pin-striped" New York Yankee fan knows. The birthplace of "The Mick." Mickey Mantle.

And there was hardly anything there. His home just sits at the end of some desolated street with a small sign nailed to the house signifying that this was the home of Mickey Mantle. Then there was next to his home, a beaten up, ran-shackled, rusted out metal shed that said this was where Mantle's dad and grand-pa taught him to become the greatest "switch-hitter" in baseball history. It was sad. The only other display of anything remotely related to one of the greatest ballplayers of all time was a statue of him swinging a bat at the High School Baseball Diamond. It looked nice but I really thought there would be more--so much more. We stopped at a local gas station and I mentioned how disappointed I was and the two ladies in the store just shrugged their shoulders as if to say....."too bad, how sad."

Overall, we put on about 2,200 miles, drove through Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston and of course Commerce. The traffic wasn't horrible but why anyone in the world would like to live in a big city is beyond me.

And as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home." Just wished all it took was several click of my heels though. So how was your Christmas vacation?

Love to hear from ya at or a nice phone call at 319,327.4640. Oh by the way, Kansas City will pounce all over the Titans this Sunday and the Packers will eke out a win against the 49-ers, setting up a big battle between the Chiefs and the Packers on Sunday, Feb. 2. The Chiefs lost the very first Super Bowl to the Packers and revenge will be sweet. Chiefs 42, Packers 34. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaa



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