Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Beach therapy and time away

Love ya Lake Michigan.
EVERYBODY NEEDS A place to escape. In our case, it's a Lake Michigan beach full of family and memories.

We packed up early Friday morning and headed to my uncle's place near Holland, MI. Traffic wasn't bad, remarkably, for a holiday weekend. If you ever have to head around Chicago take I-72 east all the way to Champaign, head north on I-57 to Kankakee, take about 20 miles of two lane east to I-65, and you'll avoid much of the mess on I-80/94.

It was nice to see my sister, Charys, and her husband David on the beach when we got there. They live in Denver and had just dropped off their son to Calvin College in Grand Rapids. The craft beer was strong and the sun was bright on the beach, and it was a good start to the weekend.

Saturday morning we ventured into Holland and ate at the AlpenRose restaurant downtown, hit the cigar store across the street and then headed to a massive farmer's market. It's about two blocks long and packed with vendors and people. It's also right by the Holland Civic Center, which gives it an anchor building and indoor bathrooms. Sheryl found some excellent cheese and two succulents to add to her collection. The street musicians added a nice touch, from the banjo player to the violinist to the guy and girl singing with an acoustic guitar. Nobody plugs in, they just stand in the middle of the street, and judging from the tips in the cases they seemed to be doing alright.

We had another fine day on the beach and a righteous family jam session by the fire that night. Ahhhhhhhh .... you can feel the air coming out of the balloon. I'm pretty tightly wound and it's a wonderful feeling to let it all go, and to not have any sense of time or commitment.

Charys and I walked up the massive hill behind my uncle's house, dubbed Peter's Hill. It's technically a sand dune but it's covered in bushes, grass and trees. Nearly 17 years ago we scattered my brother Greg's ashes up there in a short ceremony, and we did the same thing for my mom in 2005. It's a special and holy place for us, and it was very peaceful and serene. Some of the trees have fallen and the landscape has shifted a bit, but it's still a familiar and powerful place for us.

It's really hard to get up Sunday morning and leave, but it was gray and cooler on the beach so we picked a good day to head home. I wanted to stay another day, but we had a person watching the dogs and Sheryl wanted Monday to recover before starting another busy work week, and it turned out to be a wise decision. We had no traffic issues save for construction in a few places.

The dogs were happy we were home and we took them on a long walk in the cemetery. Tucker has been wheezing worse lately and we messaged his vet for a consult later in the week. He is struggling and needs our prayers. We had a good Labor Day recovering and getting stuff done.

Back to reality today, with memories of a Lake Michigan beach to get us through another year!

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