the rest of the east coast vacation

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!” That is how I feel about our wonderful, trusted family doctor leaving town.

“YES.” That is how I feel after reading someone’s random comment (ok. Her name was Amy Showalter.) on a conversation about Instagram and the whole social media/staging things to look good issue we face in this great age we live in. This was the comment: “Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to die to self when you’re so busy promoting it?” That’s very pertinent to me, because I LOVE to share my life and thoughts and photos and I don’t know how to keep it all in check and stay humble and unobtrusive and unconcerned about comments and likes and all those Very Important Things.

Heart-achish: How I feel when we sit down for a meal and Alec is not there. I’m so glad he’s at camp in Idaho. I pray for him all the time. He’s sometimes SUCH a teenager that I am ready to pull my hair right out. But we miss him a lot. And somehow this feels like the beginning of letting go, him off alone, driving the 13 hours southwest in his own white GMC, crossing the border, seeing himself off with his big pack and fancy water bottle for two weeks in the mountains. It cuts kind of deep, more than I knew it would.

Like sitting in a corner and reading LM Montgomery’s journals and not doing a thing. That is how I feel since we got home from our vacation. Don’t worry. I haven’t indulged in it very often.

Like I don’t want to, but I must. How I feel about posting pictures and finishing up this trip of ours business. Not that you’re waiting anxiously for the next edition. But it’s unfinished business and I am ready to move on.

I left you in Washingon D.C.

My sister Carol lives in Virginia and works at Christian Light Education in Harrisonburg. We had a Sunday with her that was so refreshing. The Shenandoah Valley is beautiful. We got to spend time with cousins of Dan’s as well. Dan preached a sermon at a little VA church. We ate black raspberry icecream. We got to spend time with Carol’s daughter Jessica and her two little lovelies, Lori and Lyla. Carol is my revered older sister, a person who has become more mellow and flexible with time and pain and hardship. A memo in my diary reminds me to remember hearing a Virginia preacher saying, “We need to keep our eyes on the prize.” (If you do not know the VA accent, just put a short “a” sound where the long “i” is. )

PA on Monday, June 30th: Two stops-Monroeville and Meadville. Hugged my old friend Heidi (Denlinger) Stoltzfoos, drank some great iced tea with her family, ate ice cream, talked a mile a minute. Met two friends, Joanna Yoder and Shari Zook, that I mostly know through blogging….though I knew Shari when she was 10 or 12 or something from Maranatha Bible School days in Minnesota. FUN. Their delightful children were shyly polite. The lemon bars and white chocolate dipped strawberries and iced coffees were great too. Moral of the story: Look up old friends. If possible, meet in real life those people you’ve grown to love online.

Niagara Falls was next. Niagara Falls is amazing. And busy.

We saw Toronto Zoo on Canada Day. It was in all its hot, muggy fineness. Met friends there who drove a long way to spend the day with us–and paid our admission! They spent a few months up here at BayTree a few winters ago and are one of the nicest things we know about Ontario. At the zoo we saw the giant pandas, on loan from China to Canada for 10 years. Toronto has them for 5 years, Calgary for the next 5. Says the Huffington Post: “Transportation, the $1 million annual conservation fee, the bamboo (Toronto Zoo is paying $560,000 a year for the feed, including transportation costs), the extra staff and any new enclosures will drive up the cost…..” (of this endeavor). We decided that when the giant pandas come to Calgary, we can say, “No biggy–we saw them years ago in Toronto.” On July 1st we also saw Toronto skyline and watched fireworks.

Southern Ontario is another great place with great people. Our hosts, an older couple who had visited us last summer on their way to Alaska, really knew how to make people feel special. Their home was huge, inviting, and a child’s paradise. And Martha’s flowers!!! Oh me. A favorite part of our 2nd time in Ontario for me was this: Meeting up with old friends. Remember, that is the moral of this story. Connie and Sharon were great study pals at Maranatha and we connected there because we were Canadians. Picture us 20 years later with families and education and experience going on. Picture also scones and fruit and cheese and coffee. Dan took the boys and toured the great Martin apple farms outside of Kitchener Waterloo while we enjoyed Sharon’s hospitality. (Sorry Sharon–I don’t know the official name of your family’s farm.)

Indiana was a whirl of meeting cousins and aunts and uncles of Dan’s, a sweet visit with his Grandma, who is 94, and buying cheese and fabric at knock-us-over prices. (Thanks, Glenda, Stephanie, Aunt Ida and Barb, etc., etc.)

We saw the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan on a busy July 4th day. Chicago was clear and the skyline was fabulous. And we drove into Wisconsin as fireworks were going off all over the little towns on the lakes. Lakes are so, so wonderful. I love my home in inland Alberta, but I’ll take a lake outside the back door and a mountain in the distance and the big trees of Massachusetts yet, please. Oh. And Indiana’s Mennonite store chicken breast prices.

Wisconsin is always a good place. Family, old friends, lakes (had I mentioned lakes?), swimming, fishing, great Martin food, singing, and shopping. And cheese, of course. No where else do we feel so loved. I could say much more, but I’d be gushing. And this post is long enough.
After a week of being loved on, we headed home. I write in my diary: “The west is wild, hick-ish, and freeing.” We joked about taking a picture of Saskatchewan grain elevators and sending it to our NYC friends–“Saskatchewan skyline”.
For photos, go here.

It is good to be home.  The canola is in bloom and it is my favorite time of year.


-The End-



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