Traditions Renew

I think a lot of us that believe everything happens for a reason have been struggling with why the events over the past 4 months have happened. I wish I could provide the answer to that, but I can’t. Of course, sometimes the answer is not singular in nature, sometimes it is plural. Sometime if we do not look hard enough or have our hearts and minds open enough, we miss those answers the first time they come around. I also believe that the coverage of all that has happened has been so narrowly focused on the negative, that it is not even our own fault for missing the positive.

I have said it several times already, but will say it again. My family and I have been blessed to not be too negatively impacted by the virus and have not had to deal with any kind of fear of the violence being conducted by a few bad apples. None the less, there have been some changes and sacrifices we have had to make and those were probably hardest on Grace. She has championed through most of it very well, but struggled with the premature dismissal of school and the opportunity to be with all of her classmates.

The staying at home has strengthened our family bonds though. As soon as Nora and I noticed Grace feeling depressed about things, we both immediately went into action to provide her with fun things to do with one or both of us and it reversed her attitude dramatically. It also helped to be able to get together with her two friends that live in Jacobsville and further help came when family came up to visit for the past week.

Nora really has a deep rooted love for Jacobsville and all the neat things that the community used to do. Many of the members of that community have since passed, but a few still remain. There are quite a few new folks living in the area, including us, and many of them know nothing of the past activities, but seem to long for an even stronger sense of community. So Nora has taken it upon herself to get a re-birth of some of the old traditions going and create a few that a new.

An Independence Day tradition for us the past 9-10 years has been to attend the kids bike parade and picnic in Mohawk. It was always a lot of fun, but we now live over 30 minutes from there and I am not even sure that event was held this year, due to the virus. So she decided we would have our own Jacobsville bike parade, followed by a picnic at our house. So yesterday at 11 am, Grace, her friends, cousin and some others that are visiting Jacobsville for the holiday weekend got on their decorated bikes and prepared to head up the street. The grand marshal, Bill, lead the parade in his golf cart and was followed by the parade of decorated bikes and some that braved the heat to follow behind on foot.

All told, the parade traveled about 1/4 mile up our road and back. It was not the biggest or most grand. There were no marching bands, no emergency vehicles and thank goodness, no politicians. But I can say without a doubt that it was the most heartwarming and beautiful parade I have ever witnessed. The joy on everyone’s faces, in and watching the parade, was simply joyous. It became one of those hidden positives for the events of the past 4 months. Had it not been for the virus and the restrictions it has brought about, we might not have had it.

No sooner did the parade participants return and everyone was already talking about next year! The picnic was a ton of fun too. Very simple, with hot dogs, some salads, cold watermelon and a couple of deserts, but sometime the simple things are the best. A boccie ball game was played and the rest of us relaxed in the shade, as the temps topped out in the upper 80’s and it was also humid. The ideas for next year are nothing that will make the event much larger, but will make it even more fun. Within an hour of when folks headed back home, Nora’s phone was buzzing with text messages all saying what a fun time everyone had. 

The day did not end with the picnic. In the early evening, there was a mini gathering for a bonfire and to let the kids play with some sparklers. A pair of grandparents in their 90’s were up and staying in Bill’s house, so the girls headed there and lit up their sparklers to put on an impromptu show for them.  

A bit after that, the show went on down by the lakeshore. We were invited to watch a fireworks show. While we waited for it to get dark enough for the main even to take place, the kids got to take turns lighting off some smaller displays for us. Watching them light the fuse and then run away to safely watch the fireworks go off sure reminded me of my childhood when we would light off fireworks on the dock at the lake. There was still a bit of time before it got dark enough to have the main display, but the full moon rising over the lake provided the needed entertainment.

The main show was excellent. The shells were not as large as the ones shot off at the community fireworks, that would actually be illegal. However, they were no slackers either and the fact that the did not go as high into the night sky and also that we were sitting directly underneath them made is just as good. Hopefully that will become a tradition for years to come too!

On the topic of the weather, it has been hot and humid. Just as hot and humid as it has been in many areas of the Midwest to the south of us. I have not been keeping track of the number of consecutive days with highs in the upper 80’s to low 90’s, but know for sure it has been at least 8. It looks like we have at least another 5 more in the week ahead and perhaps even longer. The surface of the big lake has really responded to the hot weather and now has a lake wide average temp of 61 degrees. There are areas along the north shore where the temps are only in the 50’s, but there are also areas along the south shore where the temps are in the 70’s. These are temps seen in late August, which is the typical peak for surface temps on the big lake. If we continue the summer like we have been so far, it is likely that the big lake will set all time records for warmth. Grace spent a lot of time in it this past week and I managed to wade up past my knees! The lake fluctuates a bit on a daily basis along the shoreline locations and when I was in it, it was a colder day. However, I feel very confident that I will be taking the full plunge this summer. Probably more than once!

Not much else is going on. There was a definite spike in visitors to the area for this weekend, although I don’t think it was as large as it typically is. We have not seen a lot of rain and the mosquito population has finally taken a solid hit. You can still get yourself into trouble if you go into the deep woods, especially where there is still wet areas, but you no longer have to worry in the open areas. The other flying insects like the deer and horse flies are out, but are fairly tolerable. I am really looking forward to things in a few weeks when most of the flying nasties have gone through their life cycle and we are in the low bug, but beautiful part of summer. Until then, I’ll be on my best guard!

Good Night from the Keweenaw..