All posts by Anna

Talkin’ ‘Bout My G-Generation

Last week, the Day After the Madness in DC, my daughter and I had a conversation. We packed a lot into a few minutes, she and I – and that conversation has stuck with me, because of what she asked and how she asked it.

On the Day After the Madness in DC, she said that each of her classes took some time to let everyone talk about the events of the prior day. What were their thoughts, what were they feeling, what might they do (if anything) about it? The sort of questions you might expect, especially in a high school history class (one of her classes that day).

This is what stuck with my daughter: her teachers reminded her and her fellow students that they are the future and they can make things better. And she wanted to know, appealed to me to know if I am honest, if I was told the same thing when I was her age. It was clear she felt the message was that the onus was on her and her peers to figure out how to fix what we did not. She wanted to know if the same demand was placed on me, because her eyes and her person was telling me it felt like too much in that moment – too much for her and her peers to take on alone, unfair that my generation was asking them to repair and change what we could or would not, and not right that we should deny responsibility for the mess that we made or allowed to happen.

I assured her that yes, we were told the same thing – that we could and should make things better. That yes, with each generation some of the responsibility to make change is passed on. We tried our best, we got some things right and some things we clearly did not. There is work that takes more than a generation to get right, change that was started before I was born that still needs our voices and labor to bring to fruition. I did my best to assure her that it wasn’t all on her and her peers’ shoulders, I and my peers would be standing with them.

In that moment I saw her fear that change wasn’t possible, that hatred and bigotry are more powerful than inclusion and justice. All I could do was assure her that we can still aspire to be better, we have been working for and will continue to work for change. That while we have made progress for equity in some places, in others there is still a lot to do and I will be there along side her as the generation before me stood with me in the work of justice and change. I’m not sure it was enough because I couldn’t tell her that there will be an end to when each new generation is asked to pick up the mantle, that maybe, just maybe, she will see real change in her lifetime. Because in that moment, I wasn’t sure that I had seen it yet in mine. (Yes, with distance, I can see that there has been good change, real change, but in that moment it was hard to see.) The kids have picked up the mantle, of that I am sure, but don’t let them carry it alone. We still have time. We don’t have to take our hand off the baton in this relay just yet. We can still make change.

Have you ever felt like too much was being asked of you? What did the prior generation pass on to you that you weren’t ready for just yet?

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

For the first time in several years I took a vacation that lasted more than three days. I renewed my passport and flew to a country I had never been to before, in a part of the world I had never been to either: Leon, Nicaragua. While still technically in the Northern Hemisphere, it sure felt far South to this Minnesota girl. It was hot. Humid and hot. And wonderful. Would I go back again if given a chance? You bet. I missed the entire Atlantic side of the country. And Leon, the city and state where I spent the bulk of my time, is worth a second trip. There are places I want to revisit and explore more of, history to be absorbed (more on that in another post), and more tasty little mamon chinos that need to be eaten.

There is one part of the trip I do not need to repeat. It was great to have done it once, but once was enough: climbing the volcano.

Nicaragua is divided by a mountain range, which includes a string of active volcanoes. One of the volcanoes has its natural steam harnessed for energy. And one you can climb. If you’re foolish enough. And you have a guide. We had a guide. And I didn’t look at how I had to get down once I was up. So up I went.

Did I mention the guide moved like a bi-pedal Nicaraguan mountain goat?

Cerra Negro (“black hill”) erupted last in the 1990s. It spewed ash and pumice for miles – a bit like Mount St. Helens in Washington. Driving through the countryside to get to the park it was easy to think that the farmland was covered in rich, black dirt – until you realized that wasn’t dirt, that was pumice left behind by Cerra Negro. No humans died when it erupted, but plants and farm animals did. Hundreds of people had to evacuate because the surrounding area wasn’t livable. The fauna is coming back, but Cerra Negro itself remains a big black hill with virtually no trees or vegetation of any sort. The locals advise that you start climbing early – that lack of vegetation means you are clambering up a pile of black rocks in full sun. As you get closer to the top you start to get a nice breeze, but that becomes a steady wind that can blow your hat off (and threaten smaller people with toppling over). Did I mention there isn’t a true path? You just have to keep following the route of your native mountain goat guide over the rocks…Good thing he was willing to take breaks on the way up.

As you climb, and once you are at the top, the views are spectacular. It’s lush green in most every direction. The crater of the volcano has its own rust-colored beauty, but it’s not as photogenic as the next hill over. It’s good to stand at the top and recognize you just climbed a volcano. It makes a person feel accomplished. If you are my daughter, this makes you want to do cartwheels and handstands. If you are me, you fret that your child will go tumbling down the steep side of the volcano as she does handstands and cartwheels.

Then you need to go back down. Down is a different route. Down is down through pebble-y pumice that is a bit like deep sand (except it’s far more likely to scrape you). Down is steep, steep like a ski jump that you don’t see part of until you’re on it. Down means leaning back because if you stay upright or lean forward you will fall headfirst down 2400 feet of pumice covered volcano. The guide advised leaning back and going down at a trot. That worked well for Daughter who has no fear of heights (and actually enjoys them). I was less speedy, less graceful, and far more willing after a near panic attack to forgo dignity – scooting and crab-walking down, allowing all fours and my backside to hug the mountainside.

A fair amount of Cerra Negro arrived at the bottom with me in my pockets and shoes (I found yet more in those shoes weeks later back in Minnesota while walking around at the state fair). Up took just over an hour and a half, down took Darling Daughter about 10 minutes and me, um, more than 10 minutes. But I went up, and now I was down, And I can say I climbed a volcano on my summer vacation.

When have you done something even though you were scared?

Fancy a Game?

I discovered Tom Stoppard when I was in junior high. I was involved in a youth theater program and one of my pals showed up with a copy of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” I was immediately hooked. I was giddy with the word play Mr. Stoppard employs. She and I would spend hours sitting on the steps between rehearsals or during breaks reading that script – she as Guildenstern, me as Rosencrantz. (Decades on, we still address each other with those names and can recite parts of the play from memory.)

The best part of the whole script is the scant few pages that encompass the Questions Game. Rules are simple: keep asking questions. A point is scored if the opponent returns with a statement, repeats a question, hesitates, or uses rhetoric. Check out how Gary Oldman and Tim Roth play the game in the movie version here:

I was reminded of this when my buddy Guildenstern posted a video from the Old Vic with Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire playing a non-scripted version of the game as a promo for their upcoming production. Check out their version here:

An online game of questions quickly ensued with friends from different parts of my life chiming in. A portion of the exchange:

Was it your intent to score?
Did you start the game?
Ooo, can I play?
Is it good if I am already down one point?
Would you prefer it to be good?
Would I be a fool to prefer it so?
Are fools the only ones who can play?
Are you foolish?
Could any answer truly stop us from playing?

I couldn’t help but think to our conversations here that always start with a question.

A brief recap of the rules: only speak in questions. Statements, pauses, repeats or rhetoric will give a point to…someone. How much of the day can we spend only speaking to each other using only the interrogatory?

Would you like to play at Questions?


The Cat Came Back…Not Quite The Very Next Day

Today’s post comes from Anna.

We recently adopted a cat. Or at least we took her into our house and are feeding her and attempting to keep her entertained. She has adopted our daughter, but is not at all sure about the dog and thinks the guinea pig should either be food or a toy (but she can’t get to him, so is frustrated). She will demand affection from the other two humans as well, but Daughter is the clear favorite. Like many kitties, our little tuxedo cat is full of sass. She is as likely to chew on your feet as curl up next to you purring and will chase a laser pointer in circles and up the wall until your finger cramps from holding the pointer.

She is also an escape artist. Young, not-yet-spayed cat + spring time = cat who really wants to be outside. The first time she got out we didn’t even see it happen – we thought we had heard her indoors, but she showed up a couple days later, strolling in from the back yard with the dog as if it were expected that the cat would be outside at 5:30 am. She recently got out again, but this time I saw her mad dash – in fact, I was anticipating the mad dash and still couldn’t prevent it.

addie2Our dog, bless him, is old and blind, so it can take a bit for him to navigate up the back steps and into the house. I knew not to open the door until the last possible moment to let him back in (this sometimes means he runs into the partially open door before figuring out where the opening is) to minimize the cat escape opportunities. Cat had been lying in wait, occasionally going to the door and meowing plaintively, clearly feeling it was unfair that the abhorred canine got to go outside but she did not. As soon as the door opened, even with me attempting to block her route, out she zoomed to freedom. She led me on a fine game of tag around the perimeter of the house and then made off for parts west (across the street) where I lost sight of her. After an overnight in the wilds of South Minneapolis, she is back in the house acting as though it is our fault she is hungry and a bit dirty.

Prior to her walkabouts outside, she had mastered the fine art of hiding in the most out-of-the-way spots in the basement. She also thought that hiding between the dining room curtains and the windows was a fine bit of camouflage, but it was much easier to spot her silhouette there and she always seemed indignant that I had uncovered her coveted lair-on-the-window-ledge.

In fairness, she was a stray before we took her in; a friend-of-a-friend found her hanging around their hobby farm and brought her in from the cold. A move to the big city is not going to immediately tame that touch of wildness, nor dampen her desire to return to the great outdoors (if only temporarily). I can only hope that once we have her spayed that this instinct is at least reduced. (See above comment regarding hawks. And possibly a fox.)

It’s a pity that a Go Pro camera would weigh as much or more than she does – it would be an interesting exercise to strap one on her and see where she goes.

Where do you go when you want to escape daily life?

Celestial Contact

Today’s post comes from Anna.

I have touched the moon.

No really. I touched the moon. Well, part of the moon. Okay, fine, a rock from the moon. A little piece of rock from the moon. For the record, it was very smooth and shiny, not at all like I expected a piece of the moon to be.

My lunar adventure began with a trip to Houston for work. The co-worker I traveled with is a huge NASA fan and has been to a couple other NASA sites. I will not pretend that a trip to Johnson Space Center was not part of the motivation to fly in early to our conference. With a little work from our hotel’s concierge, we were set up with a rental car for the day and off we went, into Houston traffic, after being warned by the clerk at the rental car agency that something like 1 in 4 drivers in Texas does not have a license. Did I mention that Houston traffic is crazy and there were traffic jams by my hotel well into the evening? Yeah. This wasn’t like driving to Duluth.

In the never-never land between Houston and Johnson Space Center (and Not-Quite-Galveston) there isn’t much. Several purveyors of boots. Various and sundry “adult” businesses. More boots. The previously mentioned crazy traffic. Another place to buy boots.


And then, the Space Center. We got there too late in the afternoon to take the tram out to see the building that houses “mission control,” but we did get to climb into the cockpit of a shuttle (decommissioned, sliced off, and all the fun buttons behind plexiglass…so no button pushing for me, dang it). shuttleinteriorA piece of the control console from the Apollo era is also on display with an explanation of the work necessary to change a single button to do task B instead of task A (makes you appreciate how much computing power you likely have in your pocket or purse…computing power you use to play games and check blogs, perhaps more power than was used to get us to and from the moon). There was a progression of space suits and re-creations of the International Space Station – all sorts of good stuff to make a space nerd happy.

And then, yes, tucked back in a corner of the visitor center is the tiny bit of the moon that you can touch, shiny from all the fingers that have grazed it. touchingthemoonI met the man who brought that piece of the moon and he was about as unassuming as the rock he brought back. Harrison Schmitt – the only professional scientist to have gone to the moon and one of the last to stand on its surface (he was on the last Apollo mission). He was in the Twin Cities a couple years ago for an event and apparently didn’t have the patience to wait for his official autograph time at a table, so wandered the floor of the event chatting with folks. I am sure his politics and mine are not at all similar, but he brought back a part of the moon. And I have touched it. And that is a pretty cool thing.

When have you had a brush with the stars?

Baboon Redux – Second Hand Rose

Baboon Redux – a series of guest blog re-posts.  This was originally shared in October, 2010.

A Guest Blog by Anna

Halloween in Minnesota is a dicey affair costume-wise. As a kid you need to be sure
that whatever you decide to wear will be recognizable either under a parka or over a snowsuit. It should also be something that will work on the odd Indian Summer evening in the 60s. As a result, there are a lot of ghosts and witches as the size and voluminous qualities of either costume lend themselves well to layering.

I think it was an act of desperation bred in part by lack of time on my mother’s part, but one year I went as “Second Hand Rose.” Sewing something for me was not an option, nor was Mom a fan of cheap store-bought costumes (the masks were horrid), and we certainly didn’t have a lot of money to throw at the problem. So Mom whipped open the closets and decided that one of her large, colorful dresses lent itself nicely to “Second Hand Rose” as a concept piece (and would fit neatly over a parka if need be). Two things that she had not thought of: the average kid growing up in the 70s doesn’t know “Second Hand Rose” from Attila the Hun. Also, explaining a costume at every trick-or-treat door gets old (apparently a lot of adults in the 70s didn’t know “Second Hand Rose” either, so it was good I had been schooled in the singing of my theme song).

Shortly after that adventure I quit trick or treating, at least until college. I went out sophomore year with some pals. We set the whole thing up with a short skit involving a safari and searching for the elusive Suburbanis Shopperus (“take pictures, these are rare”). Once again, having to explain at every door what we were up to got old (but it still got us candy, a few photo ops, and one offer of beer).

As an adult, Halloween parties were hosted by theater and Renaissance Festival friends. Not the sort of affairs where you can dress as a pirate or a gypsy. At these events I was variously: Elvis (with a friend as Priscilla), an Lutheran Church Basement Lady in search of a hot dish, and a pregnant alien carrying James T. Kirk’s love child. One year I “took myself to prom” in a fabulous pink tulle dress, teased and bee hived my hair to a fare-the-well to match the dress, and perched a bird on top of the whole works (friends who had arrived as a haz-mat team were kind enough to drape me in caution tape). With each of these I found if you have to explain it, it should be short and sweet, but best to have something that explains itself (see above: lessons learned as “Second Hand Rose”).

Now at Halloween I’m on the other side of the door, handing out candy to the neighbor kids. Daughter usually goes out with Daddy (in an easily recognizable costume). Barney the Basset Hound hopes that it isn’t a year he is required to wear fairy wings. And we all hope for warm evenings with nary a chance of frost.

Describe a costume you could make out of what’s in your closet right now.

File Under T for Treasure

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.

My father was a saver of paper and a filer of almost anything that could fit into a manila folder: tax documents, old report cards, receipts for car repairs, meeting minutes for committees that may have disbanded by the time the paper was in a file. I shudder a bit at how much paper I might find when it come times to clean out the house – though the task will be made somewhat easier knowing that each sheet will be in a properly labeled folder and filed alphabetically. Among all of these papers and files, my mother recently found a file that was, I’m sure, labeled “Vacations.” In it there was treasure: handwritten and typed letters from the owners of Castle Creek Camp in South Dakota.


Castle Creek was a former gold mining camp, nestled in the Black Hills outside of Hill City. The “unmodern” cabins (as one letter describes) rented for as little as $7 per day or $40 for the week, linens and dishes included, running water in or nearby the cabins, “modern” shower facilities were separate and there were outhouses for, well, outhousing. At least some of the cabins may well have been original to the place when it was a mining camp and they came with names like “Linger Long” (our cabin of choice) and “Tumble Inn.” The eponymous Castle Creek meandered through the camp and one letter shares that, “panning for gold is a lot of fun and we even find some once in a while” (shoes recommended as there are sharp rocks in the creek).

castlecreek (1)

Our family vacationed at Castle Creek for several summers, going back each year to Linger Long. Along with the creek, where gold might be found, treasure could be had when you heard the whistle of the 1880 Train. Part of the train’s track ran along the far edge of the camp. When the train whistle blew, any kids in camp learned to stop what they were doing and run to the tracks and wait: the man in the caboose kept Tootsie Rolls with him and would throw them out to us by the fistful. A handful of Tootsie Rolls went nicely with an ice cold Orange Crush procured for a nickel from the pop machine that lived by the owner’s house. The machine was one of those red, rounded corner affairs that held a single row of glass bottles behind a tall slim door: open the door, put in your nickel to unlock the options and pull on the neck to free the bright orange, sweet goodness of a Crush.


The other attraction, at least for me, was the resident donkey, Goldie. She had run of the place and roamed more freely than even the owner’s family dog. Goldie would come visit me in the mornings and eat sugar cubes out of my hand while I sat on the porch railing at our cabin. Since I wasn’t quite big enough to keep up with my brother and the owner’s two boys (nor did I have much in common with them – a red, white and blue guitar “just like Buck Owens” was not really a draw for me), Goldie was my friend at Castle Creek; my gentle, big eared companion. I looked forward to seeing her each summer as much as my brother looked forward to adventures with the boys.

Remember that 1880 Train? It did one other thing. It ran into Goldie. The last year we went to Castle Creek we found out that Goldie had been killed, run into by the train, while she was trying to get her foal off the tracks. I befriended the foal as well, but she wasn’t quite Goldie – in it for the sugar, not the companionship. Castle Creek wasn’t quite the same for me without Goldie. The Orange Crush was still cold, the Tootsie Rolls still flew out of the caboose, but I didn’t have Goldie. She was my real treasure at the mining camp. Treasure remembered and rediscovered again with a map provided in a letter saved by my father.

What treasure would you mark with a map?

Neighborhood Art

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.

I am spoiled. I live in a neighborhood where a library, a good grocery store, a decent bottle of wine and hand-roasted coffee are all within a block or two from my house. A little bit of nature is also nearby in the form of Minnehaha Creek. Folks on the block know each other, watch out for each other, and share in each other’s joys and triumphs. Kids sell lemonade to folks walking their dogs. I love my neighborhood, but I miss one thing from my old digs: art.

Or to be more precise, neighborhood art.

Neighborhood art is a wonderful thing. It’s art created by and for the folks who live in a small geographic area. Anyone can enjoy it, but it is created usually with a purpose – more than just having something visually appealing in a public place. It creates community, it brings neighbors together to talk where they might not have otherwise. The resulting work, whether it is a mural or art park or traveling piece, is almost secondary. It’s a potluck and neighborhood night out rolled together with some paint or sculpture. It’s more than public art, which can be anything from a Paul Granlund sculpture on Nicollet Mall to a commissioned mural on the side of a building – those are examples of private art displayed in a public place. True neighborhood art can be harder to find, but when you do find it, it can be awesome.

Fifteen years ago I wrote about the topic in a very earnest masters thesis (which I uncovered recently, which is the only reason I know the timing). Some of the art I wrote about is no longer around – like the mural on a sound wall that separated a now torn-down housing project from the freeway. Some of it has continued – like the fish mural (now slightly faded) on the NSP sub-station in my old neighborhood. The first mural was painted by folks who lived in the housing project along with the guidance and help of professional artists; they worked together to find symbols and imagery that reflected that community and what they hoped it could be. The NSP aquarium fish, well, that was because a couple of folks thought it would be fun to turn the plain, unadorned building into something a little silly, something colorful, something that could be come a rallying point for the neighborhood. An annual fish fry happened in the park kitty-corner from the NSP station – a gathering of the neighborhood with food and music and often a fish parade because a community got together and created something silly and neighborly. And that’s the thing with neighborhood art – some of it “sticks” and some of it doesn’t. Neighborhoods change, so does the art.

Driving from my neighborhood to my daughter’s piano lesson, I drive past some whimsical wraps over traffic light switch boxes. They start and end at the boundaries of a neighborhood and have images that reflect neat stuff happening there (huge onions from the local farmer’s market and a kid riding a trike in the snow are two of my favorites). A bit east of me is a big bronze rabbit that seems to call out for clover necklaces, giant red bows at Christmas and at least once an Easter bonnet. The bunny begs to be climbed on – and climbed on he (she?) is. Neither are in my neighborhood, but I love them. Other neighborhoods’ art, out where I can appreciate it.

My neighborhood doesn’t have much in the way of art. A commissioned mural, some one-off yarn-bombings, but not bring-the-neighbors-together-to-create-it art. I miss that.

What art do you see near you? What might you create?

Preambling Through Time

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.


We never seem to have enough of it and it goes by too quickly. There aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, months in the year. Pick your favorite saw or cliché about time, and insert it .

A few weeks back I found myself doing something I never thought possible – creating time. This year’s election had me fired up enough that I felt I had to put my ideals into actions, time or no time. I knew this would mean giving my precious time as a gift in the hopes that I could defeat my foe. I found an organization working for the same goal and signed up for volunteer shifts. The shifts were three hours each – a large chunk out of anyone’s day, given the pulls and pushes of modern life. After working a few shifts I cajoled the staff into finding tasks I could do from home a little each day instead of going into the office for a scheduled shift. I could find an hour or so each day much more easily than 3 hours at a crack once a week; it became even easier when I found I could break that hour out into 2 or 3 smaller chunks of time in my day.

One evening, as I was doing my volunteer tasks, Husband told me about an article he was reading regarding our investment, as a culture, in being busy. We have created the construct of “not enough time” as a thing oddly valued and being “busy” as a status symbol (both tied to our need to feel “important”). The article went on to talk about ways to break out of the “too busy” trap. Along with just plain-old not over-scheduling or creating “busy-ness,” the article encouraged you to think in smaller increments of time for activities which can be slid into your day more easily.

Well shoot, that’s what I had done all on my own. With a bit of chronological alchemy, I created time.

Having thrown of the Shackles of Busy-ness, I propose the following Declaration of Time Independence:

When in the Course of Human Events, it becomes necessary for One People to dissolve the Chronological Bands which have connected them with another, and to Assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal hours to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s Clock entitle them, a Decent Respect to the Schedules of Mankind requires that they should declare the Time Allowances which impel them to Disengagement.

We hold these chronologies to be time-evident, that all days are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable increments, that among these are Quiescence, Calmness and the pursuit of Laziness.

That to secure these breathers, clocks are ignored among People, deriving their just hours from the consent of the scheduled, That whenever any Form of Time becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Schedules, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its appointments in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Idleness and Happiness. Leisure, indeed, will dictate that Agendas long established should well be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to Schedule, while Calendars are Sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the timetables to which they are accustomed. But when a long day of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Busy-ness evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Over-Schedule-ism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Agenda, and to provide new Calendars for their future tranquility.

What might you declare your independence from, if you could?

Frooty Loops and the Man

Today’s guest post comes from Anna.

I am not a wilderness camper, nor am I a fisherwoman. While I am a fan of the great outdoors, I prefer running water, a flush toilet, a bit of electricity and a lack of fish guts while I am on vacation. Call me a wimp, but there it is. I have been to the BWCA, I have piloted a canoe, I have even shot a rifle (once) – but it just doesn’t suit me. I can take the bugs, it’s the lumpy ground for a mattress I can live without.

Last year, on a bit of a whim, Daughter, Mom and I made use of a Memorial Day weekend deal at one of the Big Resorts in the Brainerd Lakes area. An opportunity to be in the great outdoors, but I could sleep on a real mattress and we could visit with my mom’s sister who lives nearby. We returned this year with the added knowledge that the free breakfast was plentiful, there would likely be baby ducks to feed (25 cents for a bag of corn in the marina), an indoor pool if it rained, and all the wax worms a kid could drown in an effort to land a sunfish from one of the docks (Aunt would take care of removing anything Daughter might catch and throw it back – so no fish guts for me – yay!).

When you choose a resort over camping, you are choosing the amenities: swimming pool, golf course, access to a lake for water-related activities. Our resort also sets up events throughout the weekend including a parade (complete with marching band), carnival games, pontoon and wagon rides, bonfires, even a movie on the beach (weather permitting). Our resort also has a staffer we’ll call Jake (not his real name).

Jake ‘s domain at the Big Resort is the dining room. Every morning over the summer Jake is up at a crazy hour, giving up late nights with his pals, so he can bring coffee to people like me while we over-indulge at the breakfast buffet (I am a “both-and” kinda gal, especially if waffles are involved). He also is the bringer of Frooty Loops (as he calls them), delivering joy to 8-year-old girls in the form of colorful cereal. Last year by morning #2 he had ascertained that Daughter preferred Fruit Loops to anything else on the breakfast buffet. When they were not on the buffet on the third day, he went off in search of the brightly colored Os for my daughter as soon as he saw her dismay at their absence; before we could even ask, he was off to the kitchen.

This year when we saw him at the Friday night welcome dinner (what was he doing working at night?), he stopped to chat, asked how the year had been, and ensured Daughter they still had Frooty Loops on the menu. Jake had a bowl ready for her by the time we were shown to our breakfast table the next morning, even though we were seated in someone else’s section. He brought her Frooty Loops every morning we were there.

We will likely go back again next year. Daughter might catch a sunny or two. We will likely go on a pontoon ride and a wagon ride and rent a pedal boat again. Jake may or may not be there. He graduated from the local community college this spring and there is a chance he will decide to move before next Memorial Day weekend. Daughter is crushed. Who will bring her Frooty Loops?

Someone will, it just may not be Jake.

What makes a vacation ”just right” for you?