Vacation Memories

Veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, had worked for CBS News in many countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Rwanda and Bosnia, since the early 1990s. He was based in London.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
My kids are out of school and as we always do this time of year, the Smith family goes on vacation.

It's a far cry from the vacations we took when I was a kid. I remember our first trip to Minnesota. My father drove from Chicago to northern Minnesota -- in one day. A guy he knew had a couple of cabins on an undeveloped lake near Ely. My dad fished a lot and I swam in the lake with the leaches.

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I remember the color of the water in the lake was rusty. Ely's not so far from the Mesabi Range where the iron ore came from that built the U.S. steel industry.

I saw the northern lights up there for the first time. Someone woke me up from a sound sleep, wrapped me in a blanket, took me outside and said look at this. Wow.

My father didn't know it but, that trip sealed my fate as a traveler. I knew from then on that I wouldn't stay in my hometown. I learned that exciting, marvelous things happened when you went away.

My children have benefited from that lesson. As kids of people in the news and sports fields they have been a lot of places I never would have dreamed of going. Japan, Australia, Norway, France, Greece -- all because we were covering the Olympics.

We've been wanting to go to the middle east too but I haven't been able to convince everyone that I think we can do it safely. My oldest son is really wants to go to Asia; the youngest one wants to see the pyramids.

It's funny how this works. Minnesota was a pretty good stretch of my imagination. My kids want more. In my next life I want to come back as one of them.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith