The trip to Costa Mesa, California, a couple of weeks ago with my quartet HMMM, turned out like all other quartet competitions.

We were lucky to find out we’re good singers and made excellent scores in that category. Then we found out what we forgot to do that brought our overall score tumbling down to the average that we’ve carried for years.

It’s amazing how awkwardly entering the stage after they’ve introduced you can cost you two to three points right off the bat.

Still, what a thrill it was to have all my family there to cheer me on. That made it all extra special to me in a deeply personal way.

I told my daughter, Callie, that she finally got that family vacation she’s always wanted. We didn’t do much traveling when our kids were young except to see family in places like Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Houston, Victoria and Throckmorton.

So I’m admitting that we never took family vacations and we never went to Disneyland or Disney World or got on a plane and visited foreign countries or exotic islands. Neither were New York City, Hollywood or Washington, D.C., on the list.

We did make a few trips to Six Flags, but I aged beyond anything faster or thrilling than the mine train. That was too scary for me. Callie and Jonathan in their pre-teen years were into those rides. I just stood clear and watched.

Callie’s charm was powerful but not enough for me to agree to be on the one car that would probably be selected by the boogieman to come loose and crash to the ground. I’m not a risk taker and never will be.

I can hear you saying, “Shame on you, Bob Massey, for not allowing your children to see the world before they turned 15.”

Well, back to California. My daughter-in-law, Amanda, is the master of planning. Working around my rehearsal times, she was still able to set the locations and times for eating and sightseeing trips and times to nap.

She even worked in a whale and dolphin trip on the Pacific Ocean where she, Jonathan and Callie enjoyed two hours riding the waves and not getting sick.

Callie, bless her heart, was sick with a bad cold during most of her stay but her greatest joy was our being together.

The food was awesome and not all of the dishes were American made. We only ate twice at one place. Thanks, Amanda.

My wife, Dianne, enjoyed it as long as she didn’t have to listen to an over abundance of barbershop music.

We rented a van and made a few trips. One of the most interesting and educational was a visit to the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library.

My son is a history buff extraordinaire and could quote from memory about half of the news coverage of Nixon’s downfall caused by Watergate. He was a good tour guide and tossed in a few facts not included on the walls of the library.

Before I go, I must share how our trip began. It is always my contribution to make my family laugh just by being me.

The older I get, the funnier the jokes on me become.

As we checked in at the Austin airport, we were surprised to find out that our flight was leaving 30 minutes earlier than it said on our tickets.

It was time to panic when the lady said, “You have nine minutes to board the plane.”

Well, guess who gets stuck in security because my knee brace, which has no metal on it, set off the alarm.

The clock is ticking and they find me a room to remove the brace and hand it to them to take somewhere else to examine. We did make to the plane with a few seconds left.

How did the trip go? Let me just say this. It’s good to be back home!

Bob Massey is a Herald correspondent.

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