“There it is kids,” said Thomas Jones as they drove up the hill. “Monticello.”
The kids strained their necks in the back seat of the minivan. All they saw were hills covered with trees and indistinguishable crops, enthusiastically green from the recent much needed rain. The kids hadn’t been as excited by the wet weather as most of the other people they had seen during their vacation. So far the nicest day they’d had was the day they left home, wasting eleven hours of it the car. The excitement of waking in a hotel had been extinguished when they saw the dark clouds and heard rumbling thunder in the distance. Changes were made to their itinerary and they spent several days wandering around increasingly obscure museums.
“I don’t think they can see it from here, Honey,” Martha explained, motioning for the kids to get back in their seats. “Davy, get back on your side of the car. Bridget, don’t even think of unbuckling your seatbelt, young lady.”
Tom continued to follow the signs and the minivan slowly climbed through the wooded hills to the visitors’ center. The parking lot was already crowded and people were milling about in various lines.
“Is this it?” Davy asked skeptically.
“No, we have to take the shuttle up to the main house. Shouldn’t be too long though.”
“Tom, why don’t you go wait in line for the tickets and we’ll go look around the center.”
Thirty minutes later, with two bags of souvenirs in hand, Martha and the kids met up with Tom again.
“Can you run these to the car real quick? We’ll wait for you in the shuttle line. Sounds like one of the buses isn’t working so they’re behind schedule.”
“You guys went to the gift shop already? Without me? Honey, it’s been half an hour. There isn’t much to see here except the gift shop, the bathrooms, and the small cafeteria. The kids were bored. Besides, now we won’t get stuck in the long lines later when the kids are tired and just want to go back to the hotel.”
“Fine, see you in a few minutes.”
Another hour passed as shuttles departed and the Jones family inched its way the front of the line. I Spy was soon exhausted and replaced with Twenty Questions. The clouds returned and the sky began to darken as they finally alighted from their shuttle and were faced with yet another line. A small sign announced, “Tours start here leaving every twenty minutes.”
“Why don’t we walk around outside a little before we jump into another line. That way, we’ll have seen some of the grounds and we can be inside taking the tour if it starts raining.”
“The other side is the one you kids’ll recognize anyway,” Martha added, tugging Bridget along beside her.
They walked along the path circling the main lawn and paused.
Davy broke their silence saying what they all were thinking, “It looks more impressive on the nickel.”