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“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”

by kristenwheeler

August 23, 2017

As I have gotten older I have learned to appreciate and covet time with my family in Michigan. It is a beautiful state to visit in the summer time. It was 75-80 degrees during the day, and in the 60s at night….perfect. Especially since the heat index in Louisiana was 102 when we left, this made for a nice break.

We got to enjoy a long road trip together where we sang songs and laughed and listened to an audio book called “As You Wish” (about the making of The Princess Bride and it is read by a lot of the cast!). We stayed at our friends house in Sewanee, Tennessee on our long trek to and from Michigan. Shane played “Chatanooga choo-choo” for me as we were going through my favorite part of Tennessee with the rolling mountains and bright blue skies. We got to my parents house on the lake late on a Monday night and we stayed up catching up and watching Jimmy Fallon together. We slept in most days and when we did have to get up early, we saw the fog rising from the lake with all of its sunset colors and stillness and frosty dew on the grass. We went to the coffee shop in my hometown and ate Plainwell ice cream (it’s the best). We ate out more than we should have, shared meals, and ate off each others forks. We went to museums, we ate donuts from Sweetwaters two days in a row! We shopped at local antique stores and thrift shoppes. We went to our favorite nostalgia store in Saugatuck and listened to the owner singing California surf tunes. We walked on the boardwalk eyeing the yachts and houseboats and claiming which ones we would own someday and what we would name them. We saw my 99 year-old grandmother and hugged her tight and shared stories with my Aunt who was visiting from Texas. We went to the Millers Museum together in the town where my Mom grew up to see my Grandfather’s old printing equipment and the house where my Grandmother worked and lived. We woke up early and stayed out all day in the sun to watch our nephew in a tennis tournament. We took naps under the tent. We ate food from the grill, we ate my Mom’s homemade baked beans, and we stopped at the local farm to get fresh sweet corn. We drew pictures on the paper tablecloth at one of our favorite restaurants and then watched the waiter cleanup the table and throw it all away. We went to the airplane museum and I watched Shane get excited like a little kid when he saw all of the WWII planes. We laughed a lot. we told jokes, we made my parents laugh. We went through all of our old family pictures and I helped catalog everything for my parents so we didn’t push it off any further because time is precious and fleeting. We cried for my Dad when he got his beloved cat’s ashes back and he put them on the mantle, I swear I saw her sitting in her wicker chair where she always laid when I came over. We roasted marshmallows, made smores with Lindt chocolate (my niece worked at the Lindt store this summer) and made peanut butter and chocolate hobo pies with my brother, niece, and nephew in the campfire by the lake. We took boat rides and saw swans, beavers, and lilypads. Shane even got to drive the boat for the first time! We breathed in fresh air, we took walks to the field, we saw purple wildflowers and hummingbirds (those were my grandmother’s favorite). We picked green beans from the garden, I found painted rocks left around town, we visited local artist galleries and markets. We stayed up late with our friend in Tennessee on our way home so we could talk and she could show us the secret bar in their shed where we almost ran into a huge spiderweb. We watched the light change to eery shades of sunset when the eclipse came through southern Tennessee in the mountains. We had the best time. It was a vacation we desperately needed and we can’t wait to do it again.



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