It wasn't the endless summer, but it sure felt like it. Back in May we decided that a new car was in order, a new used car, or in Yooper terminology, a "Nuesd" car. Luckily a relative had a 2005 Neon for us that miraculously only had 24,000 miles on it.
In May we took a husband and wife vacation to Mackinaw City, Birch Run, East Lansing, back to Mackinaw City (there's a bed and breakfast there that we like), and then off to Cooks to visit my father-in-law.
Sometime in May, I believe, we went to Rapid River for a parade where Danielle got to dance and march for the first time. In June, we headed off to Mackinac Island for the annual Lilac Festival.
Danielle had the fun of highland dancing down the street dodging horse droppings and pools of horse pee while I looked on from the window of a pub where I was enjoying a very large order of hot wings. The 4th of July had us out of town for parades again in first Ishpeming and then Munising. For the Ishpeming parade I took along an "Auto Trader" magazine, a magazine that allows the male species to gaze at pictures of automobiles that have no practical purpose for the family man and are mostly geared towards the mid-life crisis that I hope to avoid.
We zipped from that parade over to Munising where, by the time I found a parking place, it was pointless to try to watch the parade. I went down to the waterfront and tried two new things; a whitefish sandwich and chicken bingo. The sandwich was good with the fishy fries that came with it but the true highlight was the chicken bingo.
For this game, a young bird too small to flutter off yet, is set loose on a board full of numbers (I tried to pick the number two for an ironic gesture of luck but wasn't able to). Once the chick was set loose, it wandered, spun and dropped its prize on the winning number; and the crowd went wild. I stood around for a bit and watched as the crowd grew and became more and more excited at each passing of the winning excrement.
More parades followed, but with some luck on my part I was off to Minneapolis to expand my mind and empty my wallet at a conference. The Ishpeming Renaissance fair was next (always held the first Saturday in August), there were plenty of vendors and re-enactments. By now, as you may have guessed, I was beat but upbeat that one more vacation spot was on the horizon: Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells. I hadn't been there since I was 7 years old so my memories were of the Duck Boats and of mining for gold at the Prospectors Paradise.
I had good intentions of doing both of those activities with my girls but decided that those memories would remain mine as it was the last real vacation prior to my father's death that I remembered. So instead, I did what every 42-year-old man should do, and went on death defying water rides in the rain (at one point I cracked up when it started to rain very hard and I made the kids take cover; we were already soaked). I left there hoping to never go back. It was on the way home that I passed the 34,000 mile mark on the car. Ten thousand miles, a thousand memories, now it's off to the Houghton County Fair and then the Highland Games. Fall, are you out there?
Brian can be reached at email@example.com.