Way too much fun in Grand Rapids

Erika and a friend

We visited Tucson friends Dick and Helen Kelly at their Grand Rapids, Michigan home for three, not surprisingly, busy busy days. Dick and Helen enlisted their granddaughters, Annie and Erika in the endeavor to exhaust us. The girls began with a tour of the flora and fauna of the nearby woods, including some particularly satisfying rock chucking into a suitably mysterious pond. It was all downhill from there. They similarly enlivened a wild dune buggy ride, a trip to the beach, complete with a downhill sand dune race, and a visit to beautiful Meijer Gardens, where Erica convinced me to roll down a steep grassy hill (or was that my idea?).

It’s been about 50 years, but I can still roll straight; and grass still itches!

Erika kissing a mouse
Annie, friend Natalie, Erika and Dick riding the dunes

Lake Michigan is cold, even in July, right Erika?
As usual in the Kelly household, the food was wonderful, the wine well chosen and the conversation wide ranging. Daughter Kim and son-in-law, Jon joined us for two dinners; it was good to see them again. Keep up the great work with those girls!
Dick is hard at work promoting his book Growing Up In Mama’s Club, about his childhood in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He will have a web site up soon and I will post it here. It is very interesting reading for anyone who ever opened their door to the tract promoting sect, or knocked on doors for them. It is only a matter of time before he has a very successful book on his hands, and well deserved.
Helen keeps things running swimmingly, and seems to me to be getting younger, as this next picture will prove:

You go Girl!

We are looking forward to seeing Dick and Helen again next April in Tucson. By the time we see Erica and Annie again they will be all grown up, and Kim will have her new braces off! (an inside joke).

Upper Penninsula of Michigan

A hike at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


lakeshore from cliff

marsh iris

Turtle bush camp on Clear Lake (don’t try and find it, there are thousands of Clear Lakes in the North Country).

sunset and rushes on Clear Lake

Mighty Mac

Frosty and his bridge. We just missed seeing the 100 foot long Erector Set model of Mighty Mac, in one piece.

lighthouse and Mighty Mac

Turtle crossing

Keneweenaw Peninsula

Bringing it home

We were leaving Wal*Mart, paying for our overnight accommodations with purchased staples. I saw her coming, tall blond, attractive, at most 35. She looked ahead blankly. Then I saw the cane, the limp. Jeans covered the damage. It’s not winter, I thought; not a ski injury, soon to heal and have her showing those long legs again by summer. It is summer.

I read her sweatshirt. My vision blurred; something slammed me in the chest, hard.

“Army,” it said.

Outside it was raining. It could have been a long night if I hadn’t gotten that sledgehammer off my chest. Thanks for taking it from me. Pass it on.