Saturday, September 12, 2009

Michigan Sunsets

I betrayed the Motel 6 chain, but really, they betrayed me – the hotel I wanted to stay in was poorly run, smelly and dirty. So I’m at another number – Super 8. Good enough for a night in Wisconsin. It smells like cows here. But not so happy cows – Happy Cows come from California.
After a week at Eileen’s I’m exhausted. She lives a life that I would not have the energy to live. She’s a single mom with three kids, a business, a busy personal life and an extended family. She handles it all well, with grace and 95% of the time, with a great big smile.  Not so sure I could pull that off. But we do what we must at the end of the day, don’t we?I arrived on Thursday evening, tried to get here for the sunset, but wasn’t too heartbroken when I missed it – I’d been traveling west for two days and had been staring at the sun plenty long enough. Friday got my hair cut and highlighted. Everyone on Facebook has seen it and yes, it looks great! Thanks for the compliments! After we dropped the kids off at their dad’s, we took a bike ride around town and watched the sun set over the lake. Eileen lives in the western most part of the eastern time zone, and on the east coast of Lake Michigan, the sun sets over the water very, very late in the day. We enjoyed a couple of beers on the beach and then had an outstanding dinner in town.
Over the next few days we helped Eileen’s mom (she’s still Mrs. Dwyer to me) finish up and prepare to go. After something like 26 years, she is moving to Florida to get out of the northern winters. She’s amazing – she sold her house, gave away most of the contents and sold off the rest, and Eileen’s brother Edward is going to drive down only a carload of clothes and mementos. Pretty brave for a 79 year old!!! We helped pack up the last of the stuff, join her for church, and did other chores before Mrs. Dwyer went to the airport. I was so happy to get to see her and help out.

Saturday afternoon we went to the catholic church; Sunday we went to Eileen’s alternative church – it’s spiritual but not religious – and it was an interesting study in contrasts. Saturday was full of mostly senior citizens and we did the usual “sit down, stand up, kneel down” routine, and I have to say, there were very few people smiling. The sermon was not so memorable, they talked about Ted Kennedy’s funeral, and that’s about all I can remember. At the second church, it was bless the pets day, and it was pandemonium – dogs barking, kids laughing, they even brought kids up to the altar for a little talk. I guess that’s typical. It was happy, funny and joyful – in my opinion, a wonderful alternative – but hey – different strokes.

We got to go sailing on the lake on Monday. So this summer, I’ve been boating in the Pacific, the gulf, the Atlantic and now on the Great Lakes – how cool is that?

Eileen’s kids are wonderful. They are sharp, independent and funny. They had their first day of school on Tuesday and I got to take their picture before they boarded the bus. Well, actually Joseph and Audrey boarded the bus – James goes to another school so he was driven.

A kid that James knows was killed in a boating accident over the weekend. It shook up the town and made everyone realize how precious their kids are – the sorrow could be felt for days – life is short – you just never know!!!

And on that note…..sending love to all.

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