Day 63: The sign said “Cook out – 6:30”

Today was the day – Olivia was supposed to get her stitches out.  From that perspective, it could have been a disappointing day but as it turned out it was possibly the best day ever.

It all started Thursday, when I arrived at the beach with Ely boat. Beth and Anna were talking about the guard camp and I remembered reading in the Crawford County Avalanche that Friday was the annual Michigan National Guard Review at Camp Grayling and the public was invited. I mentioned this because Anna’s boys, Nick and Kris, love to play army with William and Olivia. In fact, this is what they were doing when Olivia injured herself last week. Usually, the camp is closed to civilians, before 9/11, we could drive all over the camp, but the terrorists changed everything. Anna and Beth were interested and Beth checked the Avalanche’s website for the article but could not find it. Friday morning I decided to call the camp; I called and was referred by the electronic operator – press one for this, press two for that and so on. I ended up talking to the PX, who did not know, but referred me to the front gate. I called and got my answer. Yes, the base would be open to the public for the Review of Troops and Memorial Service. I woke Beth, who called Anna, and they made plans to go to attend. Meanwhile, Olivia’s stitches needed to be addressed and we decided to divide and conquer. I would take Olivia to the hospital to have her stitches removed, Beth would take William to Camp Grayling, and I would meet them at the camp when we were done.

It sounded like a good plan, except for the part about removing the stitches. Olivia and I went to the hospital and waited, and waited, and waited. There were a couple of emergencies, which took priority over stitches removal. The nurse checked in on us and told us to be patient, and we were.  Finally, the doctor came in and checked Olivia’s stitches and relayed the bad news. They were not ready to come out and we would need to come back Monday. Olivia took it well, but we needed to have a lunch at Dawson-Stevens to get over it. On our way to lunch, I saw an airplane, a tanker, fly over the camp, I pointed it out to Olivia, but she did not care. Maybe, it was a good thing we were not there. We even ordered a vanilla shake to help the stitches heal faster.  Our lunch came quickly and both of us enjoyed our food, especially the vanilla shake.

We were on our way home when Beth called from the PX – she wanted us to join her. I was not sure if we could get in, but I tried. They could say, no; but they could say, yes. When we got to the guard post, we were questioned, asked for ID, and then allowed on the post. Traffic on the post was heavy and the PX was a bustling place. I found Beth and William and we checked out the Camp Grayling merchandise. William was overwhelmed with all of the military gear: backpacks, knives, and other cool stuff.

When we got home, I finished the post and then helped Beth with our evening party plans. We had invited the Parks and Eberles over for hamburgers and hot dogs. I put together the cucumber and red onion salad, helped with the green beans, and went to town for last minute shopping. I discovered that Pepsi had brought back its Throwback product again. Throwback is Pepsi made with real sugar. It is awesome and Beth prefers it to ‘regular’ Pepsi; she says it is ‘spicier’ and does not have an aftertaste. I agree and when available, I try to stock up on it for her. My trip was quick and I was back to finish final details: making the burger patties, and getting the burger fixings ready before cleaning up and getting myself ready. The kids had been playing with the other kids and I know Olivia was excited. She even made a sign, it read, “Cook out – 6:30!” and placed it in front of the cottage along the street.

  We had invited the lane’s two permanent residents, Mr. Bill, as he is known, and Sue our next-door neighbor to take part in the fun. We have so much fun with each other with the Parks and Eberles often taking William and Olivia on their boats or playing in their homes. We often have them over to play Wii, watch movies, or simply just run around. The weather was perfect it had cooled down just in time for the evening. Everything turned out well and the evening was a success. The adults talked to each other and the kids played and run around the yard. Classic summer yard games – tag, freeze tag, hide and go seek, and ghost in the graveyard. I know I had fun talking to Tom and Elinore as well as the others. I could see William and Olivia were exhausted after playing and running around. They fell asleep quickly.

 It was a great day and I think for a little while Olivia forgot she still had stitches and would have to wait until Monday to get them out. The forecast for Saturday was for rain and that was okay. We needed to look forward to a day with a slower pace. Tomorrow would be a great day. We would make the day count.

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