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Anna’s family was getting ready for a vacation. It was a perfect day for a vacation, the skies were clear and the summer smell of grass and the neighbor's grills is strong in the air. Inside the house, things weren't quite as perfect. Anna had all of her things packed, and so did her mom, but that was not the case for her dad. He is a workaholic and is still sitting in the office doing stuff for work. “Tim” yells Anna’s mom, “you need to get your stuff packed. We were supposed to leave on our trip 30 minutes ago. Your work can wait.”
“Just give me 10 minutes” he calls back. Anna and her mom look at each other, both equally annoyed. Finally, after 25 minutes, he comes out of the office and starts to pack his suitcase. That takes another 25 minutes. It has been almost an hour and 30 minutes since the family had planned to leave, but they are finally ready. The family has their arms loaded with suitcases, bags, and other odds and ends to load up for their trip. As they are walking out into the garage, the doorbell rings. The three of them drop their loads in the back of the car and then go back into the house to answer the front door. To their surprise, it is Anna’s grandparents, and they are holding a birthday cake.
“Happy birthday Anna,” they say in unison.
“It’s not my birthday,” Anna replies. “My birthday is July 16, not June 16.”
A look of surprise shows itself across the grandparents' faces who thought that they had this whole surprise birthday celebration all planned out.
Finally, Anna’s grandpa says “Well you folks don’t have anything going on right now, and we already drove all the way here. Why don’t we visit for a while? We aren’t going to eat this whole cake ourselves after all.”
“Sure, that sounds great” responds Anna’s dad.
Anna’s mom shot him a look of impatience and frustration. “We have to get going, you know. We don’t have time for a visit with your parents.”
“Why don’t we just have some cake and then we will tell them that we have to get going,” Tim replied. It won’t take that long.”
After everyone has their fill of cake, Anna’s family says goodbye to the grandparents and they get into their car to finally leave for vacation. Now that they are in the car there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can stop them from finally leaving for their trip. They follow the grandparents down the driveway and watch as grandpa makes too sharp of a turn out of the driveway. The noise is horrible, to say the least.
It sounds like nails on a chalkboard as the metal edge of the mailbox scrapes down the shiny paint on the side of Grandpa Clark’s car. It scrapes first down the driver’s door, then down the back passenger door. The ear-piercing noise echoes through the neighborhood, which had been peaceful and picturesque earlier that morning, until the whole car passes the mailbox. The metal pipe that holds up the mailbox is bent at an angle such that the opening of the mailbox is pointed straight up into the clear blue sky. Eventually, the bent support for the mailbox gives up and it falls over, crashing into the cement driveway, once again interrupting the peaceful summer day with an extremely loud BANG.
The grandparents, completely oblivious to what had just happened, drive off. The back of their scraped-up car shrinking away into the distance.
Anna’s dad throws the car into park and gets out to retrieve the fallen mailbox.
“That’s it” yells Anna’s mom in frustration. Let's just cancel the trip. We are never going to get out of here.”