Journeying to Minnesota and Wisconsin a week ago, I once again experienced that sense in the depth of my being that we all crave...that of being deeply loved. I drove up the winding driveway through the trees to the door of my aunt and uncle's home on Red Cedar Lake on that Thursday evening and my aunt Connie and several cousins came running out the door to greet me. What a welcome! I was able to visit another of my mom's siters, Ruth, in Rhinelander, WI a few days later and finally mom's sister, Essie and uncle Bob, in St. Paul, MN on my last day. What a joy to see and visit with these dear family members!
You see, after you lose your parents, there is a loneliness...knowing that the people who knew you from the day you were born and loved you and welcomed you into this world are gone. They knew your story...all of it...and still loved you anyway. And though no one can take their place, my aunts and uncles on both sides of my extended family have been so incredibly generous with their love and care. I so cherish the time I get to spend with them.
My trip was motivated by several factors. One of my cousin's had contacted me, wondering if I had any plans to come for a visit this summer. She and her husband had just purchased an old resort on Red Cedar Lake, and she wanted some input regarding things that should be salvaged from the old cabins that would be taken down, or possibly even used, in the new home they planned to build on the property.
I had also just received the invitation from my old high school class in Amery, WI for a reunion...40 years! Hard to grasp that so many years have passed...seriously, are we that old?!!! So, the timing worked out for me to be able to connect with my cousin to tour their new property and attend the reunion, just an hour's drive away. Getting to visit all my aunts and uncles was just a wonderful bonus!
The night I arrived we rushed right over to tour the old Red Cedar Resort, with the main house and 4 old cabins, dating back from the 50's, I believe. The cabins were rustic, with old wood multi pane windows, several cool rustic doors, and vintage porcelain kitchen sinks with drain boards...in remarkably good condition. Those were things definitely worth salvaging that had some value. There were also a few good pieces of furniture left behind that could be spiffed up and used again, like a rustic farm table, iron bed frames, and several chairs just in need of new cushions. (I should have taken photos...just got caught up in the moment and forgot to bring my camera!).
Enjoyed several days of swimming and floating in the lake, eating way too much good food, including a fish fry, with fish caught on Red Cedar Lake!
The reunion was fun...so enjoyed catching up with some old friends! Missed a few friends that were not able to attend.
On my way back to St. Paul/Minneapolis, I stopped in one of my favorite towns...Stillwater, MN, built on the bluff above the St. Croix River. Stillwater has beautiful Victorian mansions on the hilly streets and a charming downtown, filled with great restaurants and shops. I love to stop, even for an hour, and browse my way through town, after grabbing a coffee, of course!
There's just something wonderful and warm about spending time with your people...who share some of your history and your roots and your faith. The generational faith and love of my grandparents lives on and I am so deeply thankful for their legacy.
Hope summer is giving you some time to rest, relax, and enjoy the sun kissed days. Warmly, Gracia