Summer Reflections — 4th of July 2015 Weekend, Canada Day, Family Reunion

(In a continued break from my regular writing posts, here is another Summer Reflections post — with things tucked away for some future novel scene or ten.)

2011 hot air balloon by our flag

We lived ten years in Buffalo, NY, a mere fifteen minutes across the Niagara River and into Ontario, Canada. Canada Day is July 1st. American Independence Day is July 4th. Each year the Friendship Festival lasted about a week with numerous activities on both sides of the border and huge fireworks at various locations every night. You really had to pick and choose your activities. The food, the people, the events, all were amazing. I miss my Canadian face-to-face contacts, but always belt out, “Oh, Canada!” on each July first.

Twenty years out from that time, here in Battle Creek, Michigan, each 4th weekend is a Field of Flight. There are hot-air balloons going up each morning and evening (weather permitting), and air shows from 1:30-5 pm for three days. We live two miles from the private airport where the events are held, and often have balloons (with a “fffffft”) or planes flying (with a “zzroommm”) low overhead. Until recently, the U.S. Thunderbirds and/or Canadian Snowbirds (“Oh, Canada!”) would absolutely thrill with their maneuvers and noise. This year we had an amazing, turn-on-a-dime, Raptor-22 fly close overhead. There is much more to see and do during this time, including the orange street signs all over indicating “Balloon Traffic” or “Balloon Parking.”

2011 July 4 Goguac Touchdown Thunderbirds 08 02 DSC01639

Twenty years out from that time to this year, our little family of eight (two sons, a daughter-in-law, three grandkids, husband and me) had a 4th of July family reunion for three days and three nights. We went boating, swimming, made sand castles on a beach, watched balloons and planes and fireflies from our front yard, set off sparkly fireworks in our backyard each night, BBQed, ate and laughed, and laughed and ate. The only thing we didn’t get to was make smores, which causes me to wonder what I’m going to do with all those marshmallows and chocolate! Hmm. When the little ones left for their home, the remaining adults spent a day visiting some of Michigan’s fabulous, friendly, and very tasty wineries, and playing Dungeons and Dragons into the night. All that’s left is loads of laundry, putting away toys, taking out and storing table leaves, returning loaned baby equipment to neighbors, and a longing heart for more family time together.


IMG_3529 AA Beach   Balloon Parking 01

George Plimton, Bucket Lists, and Life

 Literature Blogs

Yesterday, my husband called me “a George Plimton.” How cool is that!

When Plimpton wanted to do research for a book, he’d participate in the activity about which he was writing. For instance, while writing books about the National Football League and the National Hockey League, he joined professional teams. He did the same with golf and the GPA. He was a high-wire circus performer and stand up comedian – all for the sake of writing about them.

So, what brought on my husband’s most recent comment?

I’m looking into volunteering to observe or crew for the World Hot Air Balloon Championships here in Michigan in 2012. Preparation is already going on for it, of course. That alone is not really such a big thing. (I mean, yes, it is. Really. Hot air balloons? Are you kidding me?) But this month, I’ve also been cleaning oil off of animals at the Wildlife Rehab Center from our very own and personal oil spill. While in Western South Dakota, I went to buffalo round ups, pow-wows and rodeos, and participated in cattle round-ups and branding days, and got to know quite a few rattle snakes face-to-face. In Wisconsin, I hand-milked goats, and canoed the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. I didn’t get to “walk the beans” while in Iowa, but did spend a lot of time watching corn grow from our backyard.

These are all intentional local events I participate in for the sake of writing about them. The unintentional things which happen are much, much longer. There was the time I yanked my young son off of the icy rail at Niagara Falls. He was going to retrieve my mitten which he’d accidentally dropped over the edge. Or the wild boar attack in Arkansas. How about outrunning a wildfire in Utah on our honeymoon? Isn’t this a great and varied country?

And then there is the people element. Often, I walk through life with my mouth open, wondering at the peculiar people I see or meet or know, and the unique and unusual (might I say bizarre?) things they do.

Who needs bucket lists when every day of life is an adventure… or involves people? What a world to write about.

Carpe diam!