Mine travels the world, takes pictures, and writes books. He likes to sail. When I was older than my son is now, but not quite my daughter's age, we capsized a Sunfish. A Sunfish is a small, personal sailboat. I remember being under the boat, the sounds of chaos dulled by the rush of water. It was probably only a few moments that I was under, but it felt longer. My father's strong arm pulled me up, and he was smiling. "We are a couple of crazy kids, aren't we?"
When I was in high school, we used to take out the Catalina 320 and listen to Buena Vista Social Club CDs. I got really sick one time, out on Lake Michigan. I pretended to be fine, because I didn't want to tell my dad I had motion sickness. I loved being on the boat.
His mom, my grandma, came from northern Michigan. She was valedictorian of her senior class, of which there were ten students.
Tangible pieces of history excite me. I like to visit original forts and outposts, examine authentic documents, stand in the places where famous events occurred. I like to pore over old photos at my mom's house or pester my older relatives to tell me stories of their pasts. These acts give me the illusion of holding time, of preserving something precious. Since my diagnosis, the urge to preserve and memorialize has increased tenfold.
Today I dragged my family on an exploration of Walloon Lake. I was determined to track down some of the Hemingway landmarks in the area. I have already been to the Hemingway houses in Key West and Oak Park. The northern Michigan Hemingway landmarks hold special significance to me not only because of the era during which he was there (and the corresponding short stories he wrote based upon these locations), but also because of my own ties to Michigan. Walloon Lake holds mythical stature in my mind.
I have been coming up here all my life and had never happened upon the somewhat hidden Hemingway haunts (alliteration unintentional). Finally, with my family in tow, we spent the better part of the day orienteering, sleuthing, finding clues, and tracing steps. I am sure I made it more mysterious than it needed to be, but isn't that part of the adventure?
My kids might not understand the significance of what they saw today, at least not now. But one day, I hope they have memories of driving down seasonal fire trails, knocking on the door of an old general store, stopping to let wild turkeys cross the road, and dipping their toes into the crystal clear lake of Hemingway's formative years.
"We are a couple of crazy kids, aren't we?"