Monday, July 20, 2009

"Vacation, all I ever wanted..."

On Friday night we returned from our wonderful week in Michigan. Going back to the region of my birth (we didn't make it to the actual place of my birth, Ann Arbor) was good for my soul. How good it was to see familiar (simple) things like the road sign for I-94. No, not I-95, which is here in Providence. I-94, the interstate that goes from Detroit to Chicago and passes by Ann Arbor. How wonderful it was to go to a midwest-style farmer's market with Amish farmers selling their local produce and fresh baked goods. How spectacular to savor the perfection of a hugely plump Michigan blueberry (and of course, think of Natalie, my blueberry girl). How fun to hear real Michigan accents. How nice it was to be Home.

Our travels took us from O'Hare, one of the busiest airports in the U.S. to little Hickory Corners, Michigan. We took the Chicago subway downtown and walked a few blocks to the train station, where we picked up the northern Indian commuter rail, which took us to South Bend, Indiana. There, we were greeted by our friend, Michael, who drove us to our final destination, Gull Lake. Becky was there waiting to give us all big hugs.

For the next five days, we slept until we were ready to get up, went swimming whenever we wanted in the crystal clear, warm(ish) waters of Gull Lake, and visited with our dear, old friends. Between Becky and her sister, Jen, there are five kids at the house so Roslyn always had someone to play with. It was utterly relaxing and wonderful to know she was always having fun and safe at all times. The last night of our visit, our old friend Judy drove from Ann Arbor to visit us for dinner, and we were also joined by Becky's mom and dad. Although we are all older now, it was like old times when me, Judy, and Becky (and sometimes Phoebe and Kim) would spend part of our summer at Gull Lake.

It was also an opportunity for me to share my dear little Natalie with my friends. Jen and Judy hadn't seen many pictures of her and it was very special for me to share Natalie with them and have a good cry. I was filled with a sense of true friendship and caring that goes back to when we were all 4 and 5 years old. How amazing to still be friends after all these years.

As Michael drove us to the Amtrak station in Kalamazoo (also an old, familiar place) to catch our train back to Chicago, we passed a Big Boy restaurant, a Michigan institution. I lamented that I didn't even think to ask if there was a Big Boy nearby, and I missed this chance to go for my all-time favorite burger, the "Swiss Miss." I guess we'll just have to put that on the list for next time.

1 comment:

Phoebe said...

It's a magic place, Beth. I'm so glad you were able to spend time at GL with the gang. There are lots of Barlows, but I wish there were a lot more a lot closer. Christopher and Roslyn look right at home on the jetski. Don't you wish you knew him when Beck and Michael got married? He would have been a great addition to the weekend.