Memorial Day weekend for me now, is the equivalent of what Spring Break was in college. It feels like the first steps out of a 100-mile tunnel. We hauled ass outta here Thursday afternoon with our popup Emma, and made the trek to a KOA in Allendale, Michigan. Our reservation was a last-minute call since we only recently became camper folk, and the kind new owners gave us a spot on the lawn overlooking the pond. Very quaint.
Friday morning, while Hank tore Emma apart trying to hook up a water tank, and in an effort to quiet my screaming anxiety (Sidebar: If we’re going to be friends, you must know that I am a complete, intolerable psycho when it comes to organization. I need a system. I need things put away. I need to know where the GD ziplocks are, man. It’s gross and I’m not proud, but it’s my bag of clipped toenails in the closet. The secret side of me that torments my inner circle. So when I saw Emma in shambles, I got the shakes.) I took the girls over to feed the ducks. Only, these were not ducks. I’m pretty sure you could ride them. And they were super domesticated and entitled. A few scraps of enriched flour and these mugs came into our personal space. They were fighting and doing stuff to each other and it all got really uncomfortable really fast.
So, they chased them.
We hopped in the car and went to explore Holland, Michigan, just a few weeks too late for the Tulip Festival. We buzzed through the Hope College campus and landed at a restaurant on the water, Boatwerks. The food was decent and the backdrop was beautiful (Spike saw the most “indorable” baby geese) but the highlight was hands-down the beer. My mission is now to drink all of the Ciderboys Peach County cider, which will be difficult, because they don’t distribute here, as Hank predicted. Like biting into a juicy, drunk peach …
Now, the cool thing about camping is that you have a group of folks all connecting with their need to disconnect – sitting around mesmerizing, flickering flames and eating things cooked on sticks. The weird thing about camping, I’m finding, is kind of everything else. Like, I love it and I’m all in, but as we were walking from my folks trailer to Emma on the other side of the pond Friday night, it occurred to me that our present circumstances weren’t much different from that scene from every crime show where they go looking for the homeless man who “might have seen something”. We passed site after site with small groups hovering over their modest fires, warming their hands. The conversations were low and muffled … the cracks of what we hoped were fireworks in the background. As we climbed onto our firm mattress, I honestly chuckled at the thought that we were sleeping in an open field, surrounded by strangers with, essentially, a screen door between us. It’s kind of crazy, right? Like good crazy, but crazy.
But I love Emma. I also find that she satisfies that fine line between camping and glamping, or, as I refer to my parents’ unit, “an apartment on wheels”. We keep our street cred with the tent folk, but need only trot over to Mom and Dad’s for TV and a microwave. Boom! Best of both worlds.
Saturday brought official business. We were in the area for a very special wedding for a very special girl. My sister-in-law got remarried. That’s just how our crew rolls; legal unions might be dissolved, but the family one never will. It’s like the Soprano’s, only I’m pretty sure we’re German, and we shoot around sarcasm and digs rather than bullets. So we put on our sundresses and went to the beach in Grand Haven to see her start a new chapter.
Kids were welcome, and in abundance, and as is often the case with beaches, this one was full of sand. You guys, it was like being at an underground feline rave the moment they bring out the catnip. Khakis and dresses be damned. Kids were rolling down dunes and spreading grains like Sparky’s ashes. Beautiful vows were exchanged among a sea of sand monsters. The moment they sealed the deal with a kiss, the gates opened at the Kentucky Derby and the fillies fled to the waterfront with nervous parents trailing, just trying to get that Instagram-worthy family shot. Here’s ours (notice Spike’s wet dress):
Her dress was wet because …
But it was a lovely occasion with lovely company, as could be said for the entire weekend.
Trip High: When a butterfly landed on Spikey, twice! (The Ciderboys would have had it if I’d grabbed a few cases on my way out of the state.)
Trip Low: Saturday morning we got all geeked up to go for a hike. I put on my Cheryl boots and killer hiking socks from Costco, the girls tied sweatshirts around their shoulders (backpacks, they claimed) and Sloppy Joan was strapped into her carrier. The walk, it turned out, led to a swamp, and lasted a sweaty 5 minutes. The asshole mosquitos and standing water abruptly shat on our adventure.