I started this blog a year ago and sort of kept it up. I feel accomplished that I didn’t abandon it, especially on days I was languishing. After all, even Ross Gay didn’t list a delight every day in The Book of Delights.
I think the blog has helped me become more aware of the delights in my life and I won’t abandon looking for them and even writing about them sometimes — most likely on Clutch Cargo Lips.
We left the lodge around noon and drove to Madison where we were paying Alexandria and Peter a brief visit to check out their new home. It was utterly delightful. I stopped and bought some Minocqua Brewing Company‘s beer and Alexandria and Peter gave us more. (Minocqua Brewing Company used to have a restaurant/Brewery in Minocqua but after they displayed a Biden/Harris sign outside their restaurant they were no longer welcome there and the restaurant is now a pizza place. They still brew beer in Madison though.)
After the visit with Alexandria and Peter we headed back to Bethesda, stopping at a hotel in Indiana for the night.
Dean’s family always rent a vacation home near where my brother now lives (my family’s lake house) and we often would visit the lake house the same week as the in-laws visited their rental property. This year the “first week of the month” turned out to be the “second week of the month” so, while Andrew and Alex were planning on going, they were not able to because Alex had to be back in her classroom that week.
So it was just Dean and me and thankfully we chose to only stay a few days. Don’t get me wrong, the lake is delightfully lovely and the place the in-laws rent is delightfully rustic. It’s an old resort with a main lodge (in part of which the owners live) and several rentable cabins. According to their website the lodge is over 100 years old and was built to house loggers. It has nine bedrooms and sleeps up to 18. Dean and I slept in a bedroom called Ducks something. (Ahoy maybe?) It was comfortable enough. Luckily there were two beds because one was only a full.
They always rent a pontoon boat and there are canoes, kayaks and a paddleboat the renters can use. I went out on the pontoon boat the day we arrived and had a delightful chat with Leanne, Dean’s brother’s daughter. (she was my flower girl and we have a special relationship. Leanne is in a relationship with Paul, a delightful fellow (and the one I wanted her to marry many years ago when they were roommates).
Nights around the fire were also delightful, for the most part. Chatting with my sister-in-law’s niece and her wife was delightful. Sharing Aperol Spritzes with Leanne, Carol and Sue was also delightful.
One night we ate out — not a supper club, but I did divulge in a delightful old-fashioned.
It could have been the fact that I’d had enough of the Midwest or was missing being home, but the overall stay at the Lodge was not as delightful as it could have been. I felt as if I were intruding on someone else’s vacation. Also the fact that while the men relaxed, the women did all the work — cooking and washing up afterwards — was (and always has been) unfair. This time there was more grumbling than other times about this. I was delighted to hear it.
Sleep was difficult, at least sleeping-in. Dean arose at 5:00 am or earlier and noisily searched for his phone or computer. If I fell back asleep, I was always awakened again around 6:30 am when the TV (just below our room) was turned on, volume very high. Then my twin brothers-in-law would debate whatever was on the TV at the time, also on high volume.
Finally, there were the trumpets and science deniers and Fauci-haters. Granted this was only two people — a couple — it was uncomfortable for me to be around them. I tried to get to know them better, but I don’t know that they cared. One night when Dr. Fauci was on television this couple screamed profanities at the television. Then the morning we left there was a Covid scare. One sister-in-law had some classic Covid symptoms and several of us suggested she get a Covid test. Her daughter (one of the trumpets) became livid, shouting profanities at those of us who suggested that her mother be tested.
We drove the 5 hours to Hazelhurst this morning and arrived around 3 pm. At 4:30 we went to a supper club in Minocqua — not the most delightful supper club I’ve gone to, but not the least. Dean and I masked up to go in.
Some delights included**
Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks I saw on the feeders at the cabin house (including one male)
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds by the dozen
Pileated Woodpeckers in the trees and at the feeders
**I know this is supposed to be a blog of delights, but the first words out of my brother’s mouth were unkind, and later he said something else unkind (both times pointing out visible ways that I’d aged). I didn’t point out his beer belly or his lack of helping us with our luggage. In addition, later that night we discovered that neither he nor my nephew were vaccinated.
I woke up excited about having lunch with Beth and Pam, two cousins (actually Beth was my mom’s cousin) I spent a lot of time with when we were growing up. Andrew and Alex invited me to join them at the pond at the Jones’ farm so I took a delightful walk there and sat with Alex where we talked and watched the water.
Lunch with the cousins was delightful at first. Beth’s house is amazing (it even has a bomb shelter). Lunch itself was delightful. We ate at a favorite of mine, Elgin Public House. Alas, we forgot to take a group photo! The not delightful part was the feelings I was sensing from Pam when the subjects of vaccination and covid came up. She would either walk away or change the subject*.
That afternoon (farmers eat early!) we went to Sue and Dennis’ for dinner and took a delightful walk around their farm later that evening. Tracey, Shane and Will stopped by later and chatted with Andrew and Alex. At that point all Dean’s relatives had met Alex.
*Days later I found out that she follows Mike Lindell, the My Pillow guy when she sent us a link to sign up for his seminar. When Beth said she wasn’t interested, Pam responded with “What is going on is a spiritual battle of good and evil, not republicans and democrates [sic]or black and white, or whatever else they are trying to cause divisions with. I think what Mike Lindell is doing is worth listening to. How can you call what he is saying a conspiracy if you don’t listen to him for yourself and not from the media. Please give him an honest listen for yourself.”
We cannot go to Illinois without stopping by Rivendell Alpacas and visiting with Jill and Gordon. Jill was a longtime friend of my mom and, in a way, a second mother to me. Gordon is an all-round wonderful person. So after exploring the farm at Danny and Carol’s, showing Andrew and Alex our old haunts (Kitty Farm, Elgin, Heine Street) and having lunch at Culvers, we met Marissa and her niece at Rivendell Alpacas.
Jill and Gordon gave us a full tour. They are as amusing as always. We started in the house and had a sort of impromptu memorial service for my mom while we stood around the “rug” she painted on their upstairs bathroom floor. Then we visited the alpacas, walked in the “wilderness”, petted Freya and had a delightful conversation with Gordon and Jill.
After spending the afternoon with Jill and Gordon we drove back to Carol and Danny’s where a party was just beginning. Carol brought together her family so they could all meet Alex. What a delightful and kind thing to do! Seeing Leanne was as delightful as always and we had a couple good belly laughs. Oddly no photos were taken at the party, but I did take several of the sunset.