This weekend, we went up to Michigan with my family (the family that raised me). From 1980 - 1985 or so, my grandparents had a home up in Michigan on the Kalamazoo River. In the summers, my Mom would pile my sister and I in the car, and we'd cruise up there for the weekend.
The last time I was in Michigan was in 1993. My sister and I stayed up there for day or so. Since then, I haven't been back.
About a month or so ago, Dit (my sister) emailed me with "We're all going up to Michigan -- EVERYONE! -- Papa wants us all to go up "one last time..." Now, first off, not EVERYONE went to Michigan this time around. What Dit meant was "just the EVERYONE who said "yes" was going."
Secondly, my grandparents are getting up there in years. There are some health issues, but there's nothing "immediate" on the horizon for them.
My initial reaction to this weekend was "NO way." Then I read "one last time..." and felt we should go.
(Can you feel the excitement in my tone already?)
Here's the thing. I'm a jerk, an idiot, and was tense for most of this weekend. I should have focused on something completely different -- like, how much fun the kids had on the beach, and how Nonnie and Papa were having a good time... but, I suck, and I didn't. If I could go back and do it over, I would try a lot harder to relax and have fun and go with the flow.
Up until Friday afternoon, we didn't know if we were still going. The weekend weather forecast included thunderstorms and rain. There wasn't a whole lot to do up there around the town in the rain. We opted to go anyway.
We left bright and early Saturday morning. We were in the car and on our way by 6:15am, ready for our three hour trip up to Michigan.
Somewhere around 7:15am, near the Illinois quarry, we hit traffic. No problem. Just a little traffic, it's to be expected.
Little did we know there was a flaming lettuce truck parked on a bridge a ways up the road. I had no idea lettuce could be so flammable. (We're speculating that the brakes caught fire somehow. The tires were melted right off the truck, and a crane had to be called in to remove the truck from the two lane bridge it was on.)
Calls were made between cars; "Ok, where are you now?... Oh man, you're kidding!"
It took FOUR HOURS to go 100 miles. An hour past when we should have been at our destination in Michigan, traffic began moving again, and we were able to continue our journey. (and thank GOD for vehicles DVD players!)
When we arrived in town, we Walked around and looked at the boats for a while before we met up with everyone.
The kids had fun running around, riding the quarter rides outside a restaurant, and giving my Mom a great big hug when they saw her.
We all piled back into our vehicles and headed to the beach. Why the beach? Well, because that is what we all used to do when we visited there. We went to Oval Beach! Besides, it was a chilly 65 degrees and threatened rain... doesn't that sound like beach weather to you? (hee)
In our convoy was my aunt and uncle, their two daughters and their husbands and one young son, My Mom and sister, my grandparents, and the five of us in the circus.
We all piled out at the beach and made our way down to the water. The kids ran around, not quite all the way into the water, but they definitely got their feet wet, and they dug around in the sand and had fun. About six of the 12 adults on this excursion were out there with cameras snapping pictures and/or recording the moment for posterity with the video camera. Too funny.
When the kids' lips started turning blue, and Nonnie and Papa had had enough, we all piled back into our vehicles and descended on the hotel.
After getting all cleaned up and hanging out and talking and laughing in one of the hotel rooms for a bit, we caravaned over to a restaurant. During dinner, we told stories about what we all remember about days/weekends gone by in Michigan. We heard the stories about how Nonnie and Papa met and got engaged. There was laughter and some tears, and I got the feeling there was a sense of 'closure' for us about the place. Maybe it was just me, who felt that way.
The hour got late, and we all piled back into our caravan and made the trek back to the hotel.
Sunday morning arrived, and we gathered our things together, checked out of the hotel and headed down for breakfast. Everyone else was getting ready to go into town. After two road trips in two weekends, we wanted to get home early to get some things done. We all said our goodbyes. Then, after breakfast, we made the return trip home (without any flaming lettuce trucks in our way).