Day one in Michigan

I probably should start by talking about our water collection for a county in the drylands of Northern Kenya. But I can’t go there yet. I will start crying happy tears and quite frankly I’m not caffeinated enough at this point this morning to properly articulate my feelings about this. It’s coming. Just not this morning!

We arrived Tuesday night after 12 hours of traveling. We flew with our youngest daughter Birdie and met youngest son Scotty at the Detroit airport for the second leg of our trip. For those of you who are not familiar with the midwest lake region, there are a few things you should know….It’s huge, it’s important to midwesterners, and it’s common for midwesterners have some sort of summer lake cottage experience. As a New Englander, I was COMPLETELY in the dark about this. (For more of my acclimation to this new summer lake life see my first blog post.)

We all laughed when we arrived and found that my husband’s sister had adapted the calendar left over from last year to this year! The list on the right was created by Donald, it designates which family member is assigned to which bedroom and the comings and goings of children and cousins. This fills my heart as my mother-in-law kept similar lists to show the comings and goings of her children and grandchildren. The bedroom puzzle is usually tricky as everyone has favorites and we need to disperse the snorers!

We all laughed when we arrived and found that my husband’s sister had adapted the calendar left over from last year to this year! The list on the right was created by Donald, it designates which family member is assigned to which bedroom and the comings and goings of children and cousins. This fills my heart as my mother-in-law kept similar lists to show the comings and goings of her children and grandchildren. The bedroom puzzle is usually tricky as everyone has favorites and we need to disperse the snorers!

Flying here is like flying on Cape Air to the Cape and islands off of Massachusetts. It’s a four hour drive from Detroit or you can fly into an airport no bigger than the Martha’s Vineyard one. Traverse City is a really lovely small city on Lake Michigan which has great restaurants, a hospital, and all the amenities we could need when we need amenities. We are located about 40 minutes away in a small town which has one gas station, one pizza place, one local bar/restaurant, a craft gift shop, an antique shop and a surf shop. The gas station for beer and the surf shop seem to be the family’s favorite haunts. There are other darling local towns on other lakes nearby, they have more shopping, grocery stores, etc. They are few and far between and the daily journey in search of food for our big crew of cousins, children, aunts and uncles, and friends takes some tactical finesse.

Days are either lazy or adventuresome when our crew is here, sometimes they are different for every family member. We sit on a Great Lake which has the ability to lull the stress out of you. There is nothing more wonderful than catching up on great novels on the deck, playing cards at the game table with cousins, or laughing over a glass of wine with in-laws. There are also beach walks and hikes up the dunes, and fishing on the small lake across the road and beach glass hunts.

Yesterday we went for a walk into town. Oddly enough I prefer making the walk in shoes down the road rather than in the sand down the beach. (Dare I say it’s easier on my knees! That is the most aging sentence I think I have ever written!!) Don and I and our two youngest children walked into town for lunch and a visit to the surf shop. I passed the home of a college friend’s family and said “hi” to her sister-in-law and caught a glimpse of the float the children are making for the town parade on Saturday. We loaded up on bathing suits for growing kids and walked home by Aunt Alice’s house for a peek in her art studio and to pet a cousin’s dog.

Son Willie joined us this evening. Two more boys arrive later in the week.

Walking to town for lunch. Slow poke mom with her camera is always bringing up the rear.

Walking to town for lunch. Slow poke mom with her camera is always bringing up the rear.

My great love of milkweed started in second grade when my second grade teacher brought it from Block Island to school where we watched Monarch butterflies transform!

My great love of milkweed started in second grade when my second grade teacher brought it from Block Island to school where we watched Monarch butterflies transform!

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Donald on his sunset paddle.

Donald on his sunset paddle.

Brother laughs!

Brother laughs!

First night beach fire.

First night beach fire.

Tricia HeatonComment