Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A Fun Trip

So far, Paul and I have tried to attend all our nieces' and nephews' weddings. 

The most recent nephew-groom was Caleb, Paul's brother Phil's son who worked for us one summer. Phil's family lives in Wisconsin, but Caleb had spent the last couple of years living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and working in the ubiquitous logging industry.
Paul and Phil
That was where he met and courted Sharla, so that's where the wedding was held.

The happy couple.
Four of our family attended, plus Paul's mom, plus a few cousins, all of whom went and returned by various convoluted means. You can read Emily's description of this on her blog.

I was especially eager to go because that community in Michigan is also home to Paul's niece Lisa. In good Menno-connection fashion, she went to Bible school in Washington and met a guy named Kelly from that little isolated church in Michigan. I was kept happily up to date on the courtship as Lisa worked for me every week, and I just might have been a meddling aunt now and then, asking questions and dispensing advice.

I still remember the time Lisa wanted to show me her Christmas gift for Kelly and pulled a t-shirt the size of a baby quilt out of her bag.  Yes, he really is that big, she said. And added, "I always thought I'd buy clothes for my boyfriend at some store like Urban Outfitters, but now I'm actually buying them at Coastal Farms."

So I was also eager to see Lisa's turf, now that she has been married for some time and is expecting her second child.
Lisa is a relaxed mom.
Her little Isaac plays with screwdrivers.
I had to brush up on my geography before we went. Did you know Michigan's Upper Peninsula actually sits on the northeastern edge of Wisconsin? Somehow I always thought it was all on the north side of one of the Great Lakes, and way up north by Canada.

Part of the peninsula sits to the north of Lake Michigan, true, but the rest of it is firmly attached to Wisconsin, which means that it isn't that many hours' drive from my dad's place in Minnesota. All the years I lived in that part of the continent and I never figured that out.

Our destination was east of Duluth, Minnesota, and south of Thunder Bay, Ontario, across Lake Superior.

So Paul and I flew in, visited Dad, drove to the Minneapolis airport, picked up Emily and Paul's mom, Anne, and had a happy little road trip to Pelkie, Michigan. 
Dad doesn't miss a thing.

The columbines were blooming in Minnesota.
Emily and Anne sat in the back seat, ate ice cream, and discussed subjects such as dating.

It was entertaining. Details here.

You know, this was supposed to be a brief summary and not a complete travelogue. Let's see if I can summarize:

Almost all the Smuckers stayed in the house that Kelly and Lisa were about to move into.

It was loud and fun.

Caleb and Sharla got married. It was a different stripe of Mennonite people than I am used to, so even within the culture you can have a cultural experience, and laugh out loud in the service when no one else does.

[Emily again]

Lisa and her family are doing well.

The adorable little house that Caleb fixed up.

Cousins, mostly.
Paul's mom Anne, Phil's wife Anna, and Caleb's wife's sister.
I posted this picture on Facebook and asked why Mennonite women
cross their arms like this.
Some 200 comments ensued. I hadn't realized it was such a
volatile topic.

The scenery was very Northern and reminded me of Northwestern Ontario where we used to live.

Then by one way or another we went home.

And two days later, Amy came with her friend Joy, but that is a story for another day.

I guess I didn't tell you about the epic Boggle game either, the one with parallels to women's figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Calgary. Or about the husband who indulged his wife's love of big ships.

Another day and time for those as well.

Quote of the Day:
"What if he was 15 years younger than you, and spry and handsome?"
--Emily, to her grandma


  1. My grandmother (who was born in 1882) often stood with her arms crossed like your Mennonite relatives and she was definitely not Mennonite! Often when she stood like this she managed to have a cigarette in her left hand! I think she had a bit of a widow's hump and this was a comfortable way for her to stand. She mostly stood like this when she was in her housekeeping clothes, flowered apron and such. You should have seen her blaze through the Saturday washing in her wringer washing machine. During the week she wore suits and makeup and worked at an insurance company. She was a widow with a young baby (my mom) and she lived with her parents until she remarried later in life. Your picture brought back a bunch of memories I didn't know I had!

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