Meet our writers


Travel Logs September 2017

Just Sayin’

It Truly Was a Perfect Family Vacation

By Lynn Gendusa

It was to be a special trip celebrating family and I wanted it to be perfect. I am bad about that. I want it so perfect for folks that I forget I am dealing with others who have their own idea of perfect.

Most days of our lives are not perfect. Most are filled with ups and downs that ebb and flow through the minutes that form 24 hours. Very seldom do we have days in our lives that are perfect.

Our summer vacation had been planned for almost two years. After saving points and money, we decided to take our entire blended family of 11 adults and one child to Provence in the south of France. Planning the itinerary, flights, and accommodations was a task that was of such magnitude I have now deemed it an art form. Months earlier I had times, daily events, and rules for our trip, written and e-mailed to these blessed children we call ours. In red bold print: PLEASE STUDY AND READ prior to our June departure.

When you have this many adults plus one child on a family vacation, it is not without drama. Think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with the Griswolds, except the name changed to “The Gendusa Summer Extravaganza with the Brady Bunch.”

It was to be a special trip celebrating family and I wanted it to be perfect. I am bad about that. I want it so perfect for folks that I forget I am dealing with others who have their own idea of perfect. I knew my perfect ideas were in trouble on the plane when I saw a couple of these blessed adult children reading my slaved-over itinerary and rules for the first time. Yikes! So much for bold print.

We did have our share of ups and downs, but mostly the days were filled with seeing the countryside, shopping the markets, camera clicking, and eating fabulous food. The lavender was in bloom and dotted the endless green landscape with rich purple fields. The skies stayed blue and the air warm as we walked through hilltop villages and climbed to endless scenic views. We gasped as the cars careened down narrow curvy roads, and held on as we swerved past endless bikers honing their skills for the Tour de France.

Then came the perfect day. It was on the itinerary. I was ready for anything by now, as most of the Brady Bunch asked daily, “Now, what are we doing today?” as my last nerve was fraying. It was June 26, my granddaughter’s 12th birthday. She is the consummate traveler. An only child who is as comfortable with adults as she is with her best friend. She never complains, never gets tired, and just goes with the flow including rolling her eyes at the adults who can’t read an itinerary.

The birthday lunch was planned months ago at Bastide de Marie – a French winery, small hotel and restaurant set in a place called “paradise.” We arrived with tiny raindrops falling on the acres of vineyards around the property. A large brick patio separates the hotel from the restaurant.

It is surrounded by trees filled with singing cicadas and flowers abounding with color. Everything the eye can behold is breathtaking and chill-bump inducing.

Under the largest of trees was a table set for 12 with fine linens and flowers. We took pictures, walked the vineyard and were agape at the beauty. Avery beamed as if the whole world had granted her the finest birthday ever. The raindrops no longer fell as we dined on delicious food.

The attention to detail was flawless as we laughed, talked, and toasted to a grand day.

The staff carefully walked across the patio carrying a cake adorned with sparklers for candles. Avery was so taken aback she stood when it was set in front of her. As the cicadas sang and the butterflies flew, the lunch lingered into the afternoon and then it was time to go back to our rented home.

Later, Avery and I played in the pool as others sat around and talked. This combined family was at peace with the world as she and I dove repeatedly off the board.

“How was your day, Avery?” I asked.

“It was great! Grandma?”

“What, honey?”

“Thank you for playing in the pool with me,” she said quietly.

One day one of these travelers will pick up an itinerary and laughat the memory of a time long ago when the air was warm, the sky was blue, and they were loved beyond measure.

Maybe they will understand, as I do, the perfect day was not because of the perfect cake, or the perfect meal, or the perfect vineyard in France with singing cicadas. Nor could it be captured in a photo or listed on an itinerary.

The perfect day is in the smile of a child, the laughter of a family and understanding that God gave that perfection to imperfect me. How blessed am I?


Lynn Walker Gendusa is a retired interior designer. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Meet Lynn