The weather this week has been great. Temperatures have been warmer than in such a long time and expected to be better this weekend. The sun shining and warm breeze makes me think of those up north vacations. I can’t wait to spend time north.
Over the summer on our trip north we visited a couple touristy locations where gift shops sell cheap souvenirs mostly marketed to kids. For the most part I was able to avoid these stores but this time there was no escaping the glitter. You had to enter the store to buy a ticked for the dune ride then wait twenty minutes or so. We browsed the shelves for a while. Interesting how the shelves in this particular store were no more than four feet tall full of plastic toys and shiny rocks. I couldn’t blame my kids for going crazy, kids like sparkle.
After a little begging I agreed to let each kid buy one thing. My youngest picked a mood ring. While on the dune ride she held up her hand and said, “look dad, I’m happy!” That made me happy. I didn’t tell her green was the default color because it didn’t matter. This little girl is happy by default.
I take photographs of things because I want to capture that moment forever. Something catches my eye and I want to enjoy it again later, that’s the beauty of photography. My guess is that’s the case with most people who like taking pictures. You take the picture and later on you look at it and remember. It could be a landscape, objects like a new television or car, or family members. It’s the family pictures I’ve come to value the most over the years. While I enjoy a good view of nature I really love the family pictures. Over the years I’ve taken plenty of family pictures most of them while on vacation.
Looking at the pictures I am reminded of the time it was taken. My memory is poor but when I look at a photograph I can remember details about that moment and what life was like for me during that time. Not all memories are good ones.
Yesterday I visited my mother and she showed me a picture. It must have been from the late 80’s because I was wearing a B.U.M. Equipment hoodie, remember that brand from back in the day? I was standing in the doorway of a friend’s house with my Miami Dolphins hat tilted forward and my hand displaying the middle finger. What is it about flipping off the person taking the picture? It seemed like the thing to do back then. What a punk.
I remember my life during that time. I was 17 or 18 years old, recently left home, and was staying with a friend. There were no rules and each day our task was to party and hook up with chicks. We thought it was a blast and if I’m honest with myself it was. But I was a punk, I remember that too. My mother asked me if I wanted to borrow the picture to show my kids, I declined but it’s very likely she already showed them. Mom has no boundaries like that.
Then there’s the picture below. It was taken around 2003 at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes less than a year after our last child was born. As a kid my dad would take me and my brother north almost every summer and that was one of our stops. Man those were some of the best times of my childhood. Of course it wasn’t always fun and games as there were lessons to be learned but for the most part it was a fantastic time. Naturally I wanted to share some of the places with my own family. When we were expecting our first child in 1997 we went north to Ludington and from there drove further north to Petosky and Charlevoix. It was the first time I visited those areas since I was a kid.
I remember what my life was like then. It wasn’t perfect, needed improvement but that’s life too right? I know I felt like the world was mine. There was nothing that could take away my joy and I didn’t imagine it could change. It’s when this image was taken that I wish I could go back to.
Otis hanging out with me while on vacation up in Good Hart Michigan. What a great spot to relax and have a cold one. Otis is asking for an invitation to join me on the hammock but hammocks are not for dogs, his little legs would just fall into the openings and he’d be suspended there. I did however give my boy a little sip of beer. What a good dog you are Otis.
The photo was from around five years ago I think or perhaps closer to 8 during our first vacation in Tennessee. I remember the cabin we stayed in had a splash pool in it and when we arrived our dog jumped right in but he was so young I don’t think he knew what he was doing. One of the kids pulled him out. I had a great time on this vacation and wish I could rewind to it.
We went back a couple years ago for a vacation with her family, there were 12-14 of us who stayed in a large cabin in the hills. It was a great and we saw more than we did on the first trip.
I have a friend who lives in the Memphis area so there’s a good chance I will see Tennessee again.
The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a scenic route within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Over the summer, actually late summer, I took my girls here while on vacation in NW Michigan. This was one of many stops on our adventure. I’ve been here a couple of times over the years with my wife and kids but this time it was just me and the girls. It was windy and being late in the summer we didn’t get to swim but it was still a great time. Despite the changes taking place in my life the summer of 2013 was one of the best in terms of vacations and spending time with my family. I wish there was a rewind button.
It’s the things we do on a whim that create the best memories. A few months ago it was warm enough to walk around in shorts, swim and rent a canoe. This canoe trip was not planned but ended up being one of my best memories of the trip I took with my boys.
The crystal clear waters of Lake Michigan