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STEVE FLORES: Mini vacation packing and 'The Beverly Hillbillies'

Without exception, each time my family packs for a trip, I think of the iconic television show “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Not familiar with the beloved “Beverly Hillbillies”?

Cue the banjo playing and a deep voice singing, “Come listen to the story of a man named Jed. A poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed. And then one day he was shooting at some food and up to the ground come a bubbling crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.”

This was the opening sequence of the popular 1960s “The Beverly Hillbillies” sitcom. It was the story of the Clampetts and their hilariously fast ascension from abject rural poverty in the Ozarks to incredible wealth in Beverly Hills.

This opening sequence is seared into the memory of many people who grew up watching the beloved “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Their 1921 Oldsmobile truck was driven by the Clampetts family with all their belongings stacked high in the bed of their truck. Jethro and Jed were in the front seat, Elly Mae and her bloodhound dog Duke were in the rear seat sitting next to a shotgun-totting Granny. Granny’s rocking chair sat high on top of the pile of their essential items.

Last weekend, my family and I traveled to the Central Coast for a mini vacation.

We stayed in the same beach house as last year, so we already knew the layout with all the essentials. So, the plan this year was ostensibly to pack lighter.

As with all our family trips, the assembly area of items to take is our home's entryway. A week before our trip, a few items began to slowly show up. Cases of water, diet sodas, our favorite adult beverages, etc. The closer we got to our departure date a cavalcade of items began to appear in our entryway. Paper towels, toiletries, snacks for the kids, our own cooking pans and pots, cans of medicinal soup in case anyone became ill, enough bags of charcoal to sustain us in the event of a nuclear attack and California lost all power sources, a large emergency kit that would make any paramedic proud and of course, more adult beverages.

By the morning of our departure, you needed a Himalaya Alpine Guide to safely walk through our entryway. With the help of her sister Brenna, my daughter Nikki has primary responsibility for packing on our extended trips. Nikki unapologetically continued to stack and pile needed items in the entryway. I gave her that concerned fatherly look and without me saying a word she responded, “I am my mother’s daughter.”

We lost my wife, Susie, several years ago to cancer. Susie’s packing for camping trips was legendary. Needed a cheese melting pan? Avocado savers? Corn stripper? Come see Susie.

My daughters definitely inherited and learned the packing techniques from their mother. I now never question, doubt, or exercise my fatherly right to question what the heck we are packing. I am always amazed at the hard work it takes for my daughters to prepare for our trips. I am very proud of them. They definitely carry the brunt of packing responsibilities.

The morning of the loading into the bed of my son Aaron’s 2015 GMC truck, like a mantra I hear, “Dad, we are coming back with less stuff.” Mathematically and scientifically, you would think this to be true.

My son-in-law Carlos has the job of stacking all the items onto the bed of the truck. Under his direction, we bring items out to the truck for sequential loading. Like a Rubik’s Cube, he has mastered the dynamic art of packing everything.

Once all tied up and ready to roll, there is always one more almost forgotten suitcase or sleeping bag to bring out and load. Like me, Carlos has learned not to say anything and just find a place to put it.

As we drove off to the Central Coast with the truck safely crammed and strained beyond credulity, I think of "The Beverly Hillbillies.” Like a flag waving on the top of Mt. Everest, the only thing missing on the top of our supplies was Granny’s rocking chair.

P.S. We came back almost as full as we left. Go figure.

Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.

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