I desperately needed my coffee this morning. I am glad I remembered to setup the coffeemaker before I went to bed last night, and even then, it was a challenge to get moving.
I spent the first hour of the morning with my feet up on the hassock sipping a cup of coffee, looking out the front window at the lake, reading the news, sifting through e-mails, and in general allowing the time to slip through my fingers and then, I got busy replying to posted comments and reading blog posts.
Over two hours have passed since I crawled out of bed this morning and I begin to write. My mind is all a jumble of thoughts going every which way. B is awake, I can hear the printer upstairs spitting out a sheet, or two. At first, I thought it was J – B’s sister, or O getting up and coming downstairs. But, the sound changed and I realized it was B printing from her iPad in our room. She woke and came out thirty minutes or so ago and asked me why I had set my alarm for 6 AM, after all, we are on vacation and I relied that I wanted to be up early, before everyone else. Satisfied she had an answer, she went back into the bedroom closing the door behind her. I suppose my alarm woke her up and she hadn’t been able to get back to sleep.
Coffee has never tasted so good, as it did this morning.
My sister-in-law arrived at the cottage bearing a Keurig coffeemaker last Tuesday night. As the my coffee brewed, I snuck a cup from the Keurig, the first cup of the morning is cup is San Francisco Coffee Roasters – French Roast. Thank you, Aunt J. But, as good as that coffee tasted, I prefer a cup of brewed coffee. Black, no sweeteners, just strong and black.
The kids have enjoyed having Aunt J at the cottage. She lives in Houston and we don’t see her often; that’s how B and I met thirty summers ago, but that’s another story. Aunt J doesn’t get up to the cottage as often as we do, or, I’m guessing, as often as she’d like, but she once did and her ideas are all over the cottage. We’ve been seeing a lot of her lately, she and B have put things on hold to care for their sister and dad.
With Aunt J here, life is a bit different – there’s another person to add to the routine. She’s been with us since and she leaves for Houston this later this afternoon. I think she’d prefer to stay, but having to leave makes the cottage that much more special. I always dig in my heals when it’s time to depart.
The time since she arrived has been special.
O took Aunt J for a boat ride Thursday morning and O nailed the landing – an impressive feat. B and her sister took a road trip to Traverse City to look around in the afternoon and left us to enjoy a sunny day, but cool day, by the lake. O went swimming, I went into the lake to play and corral Ivy who was wondering all over the lake on her tether. W went snorkeling along the drop off. It was a warm lazy afternoon.
Wednesday, the day before, O begged me to take her to the Fish Hatchery. The Fish Hatchery is exactly what its name suggests – a fish hatchery, or rather what it once was. Today, it is a tourist attraction in town. It has several concrete raceways which channel the river and they raise trout to re-stock the river. Brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, but no grayling. The hatchery also has a special raceway where kids (and big kids) can ‘catch’ their dinner. It’s no contest – drop the hook in the water and ‘voila’ a poisson (French for fish) appears on the hook. Even though it’s no contest, it is fun. O hooked three trout and she wanted to prepare them for dinner. I had already planned steak for Wednesday night dinner, so trout had to wait for Thursday. I don’t cook fish often, especially freshly caught fish – I am more of a catch and release fisherman, when I fish. Especially, when the fish are the size I’ve been catching lately.
After our trout dinner, Thursday night, O and I set off to fish. I hooked three fish, two were too small to really count and all were too small to think about keeping, but I counted them anyway. O got nibbles, but nothing else. We finished with a campfire and s’mores.
With Aunt J here, I got the nod to take W home Friday morning. B could spend time with her sister and could get W home so he could go with the Boy Scouts to Northern Tier and canoe the Boundary Waters. The troop has been planning the trip for almost a year and he’s excited, though he’d never tell anyone.
W drove the first part of the trip home and I looked for license plates. Lately, it seems, I am obsessed with license plates. I counted the entire way and came up with 22 different plates – the only new additions were Alabama and Alaska. Yes, Alaska. This past weekend was the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon race and paddlers were in town from all over the US. It’s a big event and part of the marathon canoeing triple crown. The Alaska plate belonged to a paddler who was in town for the race, but had to withdraw.
After dropping W off early Saturday morning, I had the oil changed in the Tahoe, then headed back to Michigan. It was a long drive, much longer than the previous day’s drive because I was not the only one with the same idea. Traffic was awful. But, I counted license plates to keep me on my toes. I ended up with 25 total plates and four new states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, and South Dakota. That brings the combined number of plates I’ve seen to 37.
When I finally arrived Saturday evening, B and her sister along with O were making ice cream outside on the deck. I’d stopped at Farmer Ed’s, better known as Dutch Farm Market and had brought fresh peaches and blueberries, all locally picked near South Haven. The ice cream was delicious.
Saturday night was the night of the canoe race and we always go to watch the start – from the same vantage point – Borchers Canoe Livery – with the same folks – it’s a tradition. It begins promptly at 9PM with a starter’s pistol blast. Two person canoe teams and racers running to the river carrying their canoes, then paddling for over fourteen to nineteen hours through the night and into Sunday morning and afternoon.
We watched the paddlers cross our viewing spot, right before the bridge in town before the racers paddled furiously downstream. We watched all eighty-two canoes. Waiting for the final canoe and it’s father and son team. Al Widing Sr. and junior – dad 89 years old and son aged 61. Impressive. We always root for Al, he’s a year older than my father-in-law and both are cut from the same cloth – tough as nails with a purpose, which is how a person lives into the late eighties.
Once Al passed us, we sprinted to our cars to make it to the first viewing point ten miles downstream. We watched until Al passed through and we headed downstream to the third viewing point some eighteen miles downstream.
By the time Al’s canoe passed us at Wakeley Bridge, he and his son had climbed from dead last to 65th place. Impressive. I was done for the night at Wakeley Bridge and drove home. B and O continued on meeting up with Aunt J they followed the race to Mio and waited until Al passed through before heading home. They came home around five Sunday morning.
I was up earlier yesterday morning and wanted to write, but didn’t. I busied myself with other tasks. By the time everyone woke, I was onto something else. I made breakfast, a storm blew through soaking the yard and bringing cooler weather, and then Ivy got loose and ran through the woods before we finally caught up with her. She was coated in mud and needed a bath in the lake. The clouds across the lake looked menacing and a tornado warning was issued – twice. It was an interesting afternoon.
This morning it’s in the upper fifties, or was. B and her sister are up for good and it the cottage is in full bloom. W pushes off on his adventure this morning at BSA’s Northern Tier Base. It’s warmer there than it is here. It’s going to be cool today, hardly feeling like late July. Aunt J leaves this afternoon, and I follow her tomorrow, and if I don’t get moving I am going to be run over, seriously. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one pot of coffee at a time, or one cup, though I prefer a pot of coffee.
How do you take your coffee?