End of the Family Vacation

Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, June 1, 2007

Sure it was May, but that was no reason my mother couldn't get all her Christmas shopping done.  So the last day of our trip was spent making sure she had one of every item that had ever been designed, manufactured, or dreamed of in Thailand.  After that, we backtracked to make sure she had several of her favorites.  My parents have lots of close friends in Richmond, so there was a laundry list of who needed what, plus the obligatory family souvenirs for children, grandchildren, cousins, and in-laws.  Re-marriage makes for large families, and my parents have plenty of people they like to shop for.  I think they're entirely too nice and magnanimous, but they don't listen to me.  So, in all honesty, my guess is that my mom bought no fewer than 50 silk scarves.  She also bought some pashminas, wraps, and table covers, which are also all scarves.  T-shirts, ties, a couple of suits for Chuck, and I can't even remember what else were also purchased.  These shopping sprees meant we also had to find a nice, large piece of luggage they could purchase to drag all this stuff home in

But the coolest thing we shopped for was definitely suits.  Derek and Chuck went to a tailor and had custom suits made.  Chuck recently decided that being in your 60s is no reason not to hit the gym and lose a few dozen pounds.  So he didn't have any clothes that fit, and tailors in Thailand are known for being incredibly skilled and inexpensive.  Derek also frequents the gym, but I think it's just to hit on women, because he is what we in the euphemism business call "robust."  But they had a great time picking out fabrics and having the clothes tweaked until they fit perfectly.  It was really a lot of fun to watch Chuck.  He sold suits for a living at some point.  I get confused about my history, but I think it was in the midst of a war, or depression, or Inquisition.  I'm not sure, but it was quite a while ago.  Anyway, since then he had always wanted a custom-made suit, but a combination of frugality and supporting 7 children meant he had never gotten around to it.  So I very much enjoyed watching the child-like glee that he lit up with when he put on his new suits.  He said, as if in awe, that it was the best he'd ever looked.  I agreed and told him not to worry - a lot of men hit their stride in their 6th decade. 
So despite how much I dislike shopping, it wasn't too painful.  They had a good time and hundreds of people back in the States now have authentic gifts from Thailand.

I was sad to see my parents go, but I was also incredibly thrilled that they had ventured so far from home and I got to share it with them.  I was proud of them for how well they handled everything, and I really enjoyed their company.  Just like kids, parents can be a chore.  But just like kids, the older they get, the easier they are to deal with.  I don't know that I've ever had more fun with them.  We'll have to see if we can top it when we meet up somewhere else.  What do you think Chuck?  Mongolia next?
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