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It's 7 a.m. and Still Dark Outside. It's Time to Leave

July – October, 2022

Hello again. Yes, we did have a busy summer. How was yours? Except for about 5 days in Cincinnati, we spent July to mid-October in Traverse City, Michigan. This is such a lovely location in the summer, it’s hard to pull ourselves away.

As usual July has us surrounded by family. Ann and her whole clan (“Team Kaplan”) were here when we arrived at the end of June, as were our “adopted son” Andrew and his partner Chris. Ren* and her family arrived the next day. The house was full – 14 people – and the fun and games began. Charades, Celebrity, Ticket to Ride, Catan, Spite and Malice, and of course Dominos. Next came a whole bunch more friends and family to help us enjoy the summer. Just as Andrew and Chris left, one of Ann and Mike’s Denver friends came with family and then River’s girlfriend arrived. She flew into Grand Rapids which coincided with the unfortunate death of the mother of one of our Grand Rapids friends, so we were able to bring her from Grand Rapids to River’s waiting arms. Nothing like an awkward 2 ½ hour drive with your boyfriend’s grandparents to kick off your visit. We did all our usual activities – canoeing, picnicking and "hiking" on the island, berry and cherry picking, and we added a new outing; curling.

Yes, sliding those 44-pound rocks down the ice toward the three circles at the other end. Let me tell you folks, it’s not as easy as it looks. Getting down in that crouch isn’t bad, but keeping your balance on that one slippery foot takes a lot of practice. Family summer ended when Ren and family returned to Cincinnati and Gigi went to Interlochen Arts Academy Summer Camp. Then Ann took River and Skye back to Denver for their summer camp. Unfortunately, the boys’ camp ended abruptly when Ann received a call that they had Covid and must be picked up immediately. Of course, that couldn’t happen, but Michael flew back to Denver the next day and retrieved the boys. Three days later they shut down the whole camp because of Covid. Evidently it wasn’t just the Kaplan kids who had it.

Ann had a five day “Girls’ Weekend” planned for the end of July so Mark and I went to Cincinnati to revisit with Ren and her family. There are always fun things to do at their house and we love spending time with the family.

Back to Traverse City; a very quiet house and the raft of doctor visits. Now it was up to us to keep ourselves busy. I think we did a great job of it! We are friends with two other couples and have great neighbors who we hang out with. Dominos, dinner out, campfires, wine tours. There is always something to do here. I have a regular Tuesday Mah Jongg game that is fun and Mark is always working on some project around the house or out sailing; he got the Tornado in the water again – for the first time in two years – and so enjoys playing on it.

And we had our friends come visit. Cat and Jim Finney came up from Grand Rapids as did Judy and Kurt Overmyer both for lake time and easy living. Cruising friends Meryl and Jim Felds came from Florida and, among other things, we went on one of the day-cruises in Lake Michigan. We’d not done that before but will probably do it again. It was a fun excursion. Joyce and Dan Ward came up from Columbus and we went touring north for some tourist-focused shopping and a bit of wine tasting. At the 11th hour we had a sweet, unexpected visit from Nancy West and her daughter Daisy with Daisy’s boyfriend. Our TC summer will wind up with the annual visit from Karl and Katherine and fun wanderings with them. Meanwhile, there are stores in downtown Traverse City that I have to stop going into – they have such lovely fun things that I always come out with pricey little things that I “need” but somehow have managed to live without.

Then came the end of September and the sad task of taking toys out of the lake. This year the weather has been pretty reasonable. We had one spell of 5 days with constant rain, and a couple of days with really low over-night temperatures, but for the most-part it has gotten to 60 degrees or more. Don’t get me wrong – 40 overnight is still too cold, but I know it will get colder. So Mark drove the fishing boat to the boat ramp, dragging the Rebel (a.k.a. “free boat”) and I drove the Sea-Doo. Neighbor Extraordinaire Doug met us three times with a different one of our trailers attached to his truck each time. Mark keeps telling me we need a car with a trailer hitch, but I say “Who needs a hitch when we have a Doug?”

We will fly to Trinidad on October 13 (arriving on the 14) and begin the 2022-23 season. We are looking forward to seeing great friends again and to getting back to Roxy.

*Daughter Karen has shortened her name to Ren. Cute like she is.

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