We spent all of the 4th of July week (and both weekends) up at my folks house. It was quite the event. Small resort towns around the Brainerd Area do big celebrations. We didn’t watch any fireworks, but we could hear them. Every evening!
Because we came up, Dad got to get several things checked off his “to do” list. He went to a meeting, got his snow blower tuned up, and put new tires on the car. He also had his buddy Orion along for 3 parades and a trip up to International Day at Concordia Language Villages
Orion attended Waldsee, the German village, with his Opa as his aid for 10 years starting 20 years ago. It was fun for the two of them to return to their old stomping grounds. There were even several people there who remembered them from years gone by. The old Dean, Karl, noticed them across the way and stopped what he was doing so he and his wife could catch up with Jager and Opa.
I kept Mom occupied while the boys were out and about. Ordinarily we’d be taking things easy at home, but the air conditioning died the day I arrived. So we had our own “out and about” adventures. We decided it was too hot to be home and went out for a drive and pizza.
We collected my sister, Andrea, and ran errands in Brainerd. (That really meant lunch at Prairie Bay and Mom sitting in the air conditioned car while one or the other of us ran into the store.)
We ate pretty well at home too. When I’m there I do a lot of the cooking, or at least the meal planning. When I can stand it, I’ll enlist Dad’s help.
That’s especially true for grilling. I’m more than happy to let him set up the coals and carry things back and forth, at least most of the time. We’re still in mourning about that beautifully cooked salmon.
Dad did have a chance to redeem himself. At my request he made mussels and a fresh focaccia to go with them. Even Orion thought they were really tasty!
It was a great trip. We had a great time. It was also pretty physically demanding. The drive took at least an hour longer than usual – in both directions. The heat and humidity was draining, and it wasn’t always easy to breathe. General household chores (which I do more of up there than at home) take their toll, as do extra transfers with Orion and massage work on Mom.
Now I’m glad to be home, laying on my back on an ice pack.
Sorry about not being able to get the photos aligned properly.
It’s easy to idealize the simple small town life most of us only know from books and old TV shows. 4th of July in Mayberry RFD, or with the Gilmore Girls isn’t really a fair expectation. Still, this year visiting “up north” with my parents it seemed very much like that kind of holiday.
My parents don’t have an internet connection, which limits the amount of media available. We still have the smart phones, and Orion listens to his playlist on his computer, but it’s less appealing to be plugged in. They’ve lived up here in these small towns for almost 20 years and so everywhere they go someone stops to say hi! There are things to do and people to meet that also discourage electronic connection.
The complaints of the weekend have been, “The ice cream cone was too big.” “The fish (fresh out of the fryer) is too hot.” “There’s too much sunshine and fresh air.” We found ourselves taking daily naps, not typical for me, just because the weather was so perfect.
We did all the things, but it never felt like we packed too much into a day. We went to one of the small town parades. Homemade floats and the high school marching band had all the nostalgia of one of those TV shows. We went to see fireworks in the “big city”, Brainerd. They do a fabulous job and the location is set up so you feel like you are surrounded by the lights and they are right there in front of you.
We also took an afternoon to go down to the lake. We all got into canoes – even Orion. It’s been years since I’ve done that, but the muscle memory is still there. Karina and I took Minnie out with us. The dog was not sure about that and her roaming around in the canoe was a little unsettling but eventually we worked it out. The lake was calm, the breeze was cool, another perfect day.
We went swimming in the lake. Karina and my Dad caught the fish that came out of the fryer “too hot”. The ice cream cones may have been too big, but that didn’t stop us from going back another day. There is a haze up here from the Canadian wildfires. It makes the sunset bloody and the moon rise red. I may have taken more regular hits off my inhaler than I would have at home, but with the air moving even that wasn’t problematic.
It’s definitely time to be back home, back in the normal routine. There can be too much of a good thing. With a little distance and a little nostalgia of my own I’ll appreciate having this weekend vacation even more.