Summer is magic

Last night it rained.  A lot.  Six inches in some areas, and enough to supply a steady rumble of rain on the roof.  But it wasn’t the rain that woke me up: it was an insistent tapping on my arm.

“Daddy.  Daddy. DAADDDDY! I’m scared Daddy.”

The rain came with thunder, and the thunder was loud enough to wake my little kiddo.  She does not like thunder.  At all.

“Grumph hrmph,” I said, gesturing her into the bed.

When my wife was in the hospital, PalKid slept in my bed as often as not (OK, every night), but to have all three of us in one bed, comfortable and without IV lines was worth the lost sleep.  We lost a lot of family time time this spring.

But August is our month for family.  I don’t generally take much time off, and having recently joined a new practice I’m ambivalent about leaving town.  But August is mine.  I spend two weeks away, each in one of my favorite places.

The first is here:

A misty morning

Me, PalKid, and EldestSis will get in the car before sunrise and drive until the road ends.  Once there, I can take out splinters, hug homesick kids, swim in deep, cool waters, and turn off my pager.  And of course, paddle.

That's my paddle and I made it.

A month is what I want; a week is what I’ll get, and I’ll be thankful for it.  It’s a working vacation, but one with a nice cabin, good food, friends…but I’m bringing my own coffee.  I’ll drink any coffee, but if I can avoid camp’s pishechtz, I’ll be much happier (and so will the nurses I’ll share it with).

(For those ignorati who think my canoe is tipping over, go study your Omer Stringer and Bill Mason, then get back to me.)

Anyway, despite the pile of work that will await my return, it’ll be well worth it.  There is nothing like reaching for your belt and realizing that your pager isn’t there and you don’t need it.  After a presumably joy-filled reunion of Pal, PalKid, and MrsPal, and a few late nights at the office, we’ll head up to Favorite Place #2, my family’s summer retreat for many, many decades (I’m fairly certain my dad first went up there sometime in the 1930’s and we’ve rarely missed a summer).

This is the real-deal Up North summer vacation, with bikes, beaches, fudge, and family. The cast changes from year to year, but the setting does not (although, like every other idyllic place, people always complain that “it’s not the same anymore”).  Maybe we’ll drive down to Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Maybe we’ll take a ferry to Mackinac Island.  Maybe we’ll just sit on the porch reading and watching the sun cross the sky.

For me, summer ends when I cross the 45th parallel heading south.  The trees are still green, the heat is still there, but the air feels heavy and the fun has gone out of it.

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10 Comments

  1. fusilier

     /  July 29, 2011

    Chestnut Prospector?

    I’m envious.

    fusilier, working on a CLC Peace Canoe in the gara^a^a^shop
    James 2:24

    • Looks like an old Chestnut but we lost most of the chestnuts in a roof collapse about 20 yrs ago. It’s a Beaver Canoe.

  2. becca

     /  July 29, 2011

    Summer always makes me placesick for Michigan. *sigh*

  3. Mig

     /  July 30, 2011

    I’m in Colorado, but I’m staring at an empty package of Joann’s fudge…. Could you get me a box or 20? Thanks!!

  4. suz

     /  July 31, 2011

    you describe home beautifully … living in the soo is great in the summertime … enjoy … it’s gonna be a great week up here!

  5. @MIG: Colorado’s not so bad. We just moved here and I stumbled across Pablo’s Danger Monkey. Very. Good. Beans.

    We just got back from an extended weekend with extended family who gathered near our ancestral Utah homestead to bury my dad and eat too much at the annual reunion. Lovely family, nice service, but no coffee. Well, truck stop coffee on the interstate, but that’s not actually drinkable. There’s a religious prohibition, and it’s a coffee-free desert west of about Grand Junction, CO. Moab has good coffee, and is one of my most favorite places ever, but it was out of the way for this trip.

    Anyway… I’m resolved to bring my press and camping stove next time I visit. The funeral itself was suffering enough, and to do so coffee-less piled on the misery.

  6. Paddling like that destroys the fuck out of my knees.

  7. Lisa

     /  August 14, 2011

    Crazy! I just stumbled upon your blog (looking for insight as I jump into the med. school application process) and scrolled down the page and recognized your photos!
    I grew up in Petoskey, MI and my parents owned a restaurant in Charlevoix.
    I moved to the west coast a couple years and lately I have been seriously missing those northern Michigan summers.
    Thanks for the memories and letting me live vicariously through your photos.
    It really is a small world.

    • PalMD

       /  August 15, 2011

      Nothing like being up here with nothing to do!

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