We did ten hours on the road today. Every person with an RV and/or bike or canoe or jet ski living in Chicagoland went to the Wisconsin Dells this weekend. Trust me. And they were all on I-94 at the same time as me going home. And the sun shined hard.
But what a 10-day event this has been. Not quite a “vacation” since vacation implies relaxation of some kind, and that came in fits and starts during individual visits with friends, my former choir teacher, Bruce’s second grade teacher, and a few members of my family.
I went to Luverne and Jasper first. I saw and did things I’ll elaborate on in future blogs, but for now, here are a few photos of the people I saw.
After arriving at Bruce’s mother’s apartment last Sunday and finding a room full of Bouwmans that we weren’t expecting and visiting with them for a few hours (they were fun Bouwmans so it was cool), Carlene and I drank wine on her grandma’s porch. Totally an illegal move (Grandma is not a fan of alcohol), but we didn’t care. Grandma was in bed. We love her, but what she didn’t know didn’t hurt her.
Here’s a photo of me and my nephew (Bruce’s nephew) Wendell, who is a month older than me. Before going on this trip I’d found a photo from 1981 of he and I with Bruce and Wendell’s girlfriend, Monique. Monique died a few years after Bruce and so I wanted a photo of the two of us, the remaining members of that sweet group of people.
OK, on to Jasper. Lisa was my maid of honor (her husband was Bruce’s best friend and best man and they have five children) and Dean is my friend (we are a month apart in age) and second cousin (he and my father are cousins).
Wednesday I met up with Pam and her son Jack. Jack is a very funny, very cool kid. Instead of telling his mother he had to go to the bathroom when we were eating lunch at a local restaurant, he said, “I wonder if they have a bathroom in this place?”
I met up that night with my friend Val and some of her family. I’ve known her husband all my life (his mother and my mother are friends from way back). It’s amazing the relationships we can forge with words. She wrote to me earlier this year to tell me she was reading my blog and felt like she was spying on me by not telling me she was out there reading it. A million emails later, we finally met up again after at least 25 years.
I met Val because she was the sister of my 9th grade science partner, Pam. Pam is one of those friends I might not see in years and yet when we see each other we pick up where we left off. I had breakfast with Pam on Thursday and dammmmit, I didn’t get a photo. But oh my god, the girl doesn’t age! She looks exactly the same as when we graduated. If I can steal one from Val’s Snapfish photos I’ll post it.
Thursday night was my mother’s birthday bash. It was an emotional and complicated night, but it worked itself out. Here’s a photo of me and my older brother Marty, the one who writes essays that I post under My Brother’s Writing Page.
Friday we went up north to Breezy Point and we met up with my dad’s brother’s family. Again, very complicated and fun. My stepsons and Larry flew out, Andy caught a walleye, everyone spent time in the water, some golfed, and we went to see an Elvis impersonator.
My head is swimming tonight. Partly it’s road buzz, but mostly it’s family buzz. I’ll get more specific later, but right now here are a few words and photos. It’s the best I can do at almost 10 p.m. body time, 11 p.m. local time. Good night, my friends. I’ll write more after I collect my thoughts at home.