We’re back from a trip to Michigan. Mom had heart surgery in Grand Rapids at the heart center, and she did so well she was out of the hospital in 48 hours! So we were able to bring her back to Kalamazoo and get her set up at home. This was really a medical miracle because she had a 6th stent put in and a new heart valve without having to undergo open heart surgery. I am not impressed easily by modern medicine (though I probably should be), but this knocked my socks off.
While she was in the hospital, the gardener and I went for a drive one day and visited both Saugatuck and Holland. We really wanted to stare at Lake Michigan, so when we saw the sign in Saugatuck we started walking.
Walking without asking. Now, mind you, I have a reconstructed foot. This was a rare surgery done because of damage by a rare tumor. So even though I almost always wear my orthotic-adorned New Balances, I never know when the foot will start to hurt like crazy and I will have to stop walking.
Before we had gone too far I asked a woman who was passing by how long the trail was. “About a half mile,” she said. “But it’s very hilly.”
Yes, ma’am, it was very hilly. But it warn’t no half mile.
I looked it up afterward. 2.5 miles each way. HEH
I was lucky that my foot didn’t seem to mind and see where we ended up.
Worth it? MUCH.
A beach and a view with very few people.
After that we drove to Holland because the gardener had an antique store to check out, and I wanted to visit Windmill Island as I had as a kid.
Back to my Dutch roots ;).
These shoes would need some magical orthotics for me to wear them haha.
We found a restaurant the gardener could eat in without worry. Celiacs note: Persian restaurants are the next best thing to completely gluten free restaurants! Usually, only the bread, desserts, and a few appetizers have gluten.
Chicken koobideh and a rice dish with barberries.
My mother looked great after her surgery, and the only real hitch was when the discharge nurse told mom she can’t drive for a certain period of time. That made her really unhappy. Next day, she said she wanted blueberries from the blueberry farm. Which, of course, was way out in the country. And we had lots of errands and chores to get her settled in. She even pouted/whined a bit. “I can’t drive myself there.” Sniff sniff.
So we took her. When I walked inside, the smell of blueberries was overpowering. She bought 5 pounds and gave my brother and sister-in-law some of them.
The blueberries seem blurry, and I don’t know why. But we also walked around the farm a bit to give mom some exercise.
Yup, that’s me driving the tractor.
Last year we had Mom’s retirement community plant a plum tree in my father’s memory. We used to have a plum tree in our backyard growing up and Dad would take a pic every so often–as it grew and as we grew. So a plum tree seemed right.
The tree is on the outskirts of a woods that abuts the retirement community. The gardener drove us in Mom’s golf cart through the woods.
When we came out of the woods we saw the beautiful gardens planted by the residents of the community. Flowers and vegetables–so lovely.
It was also my birthday on the day we took my mother home from the hospital. My uncle, my dad’s twin, did what he did last year: called to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. That’s what my father used to do every year we were apart. I love that my uncle is carrying on the tradition.
The gardener and I checked out a few of our old houses, visited his parents’ graves (Dad’s is not in town and there wasn’t time), and appreciated the wild flowers (Queen Anne’s Lace, Chicory, Day Lilies, Ironweed). We left Kalamazoo 27 years ago, and at our last house, we noticed that they still have the same drapes in the living room. That was astonishing because those drapes were actually hung 32 years ago, and they are made of massive amounts of off-white sheers. I can’t imagine them lasting this long. But what I do remember is how much work I put into designing them and finding someone to make them–and how much I loved them! I wrote a poem about them and put it in the portfolio of poems I submitted to Western Michigan University for my application to the MFA program. The last stanza goes like this:
Through shadowed glass,
with guarded eyes,
my neighbors wait
for me to swoop my fingers
through the sheer
and clutch the volume
to my chest.
The poem is called “New Drapes,” though these are far from new, and none of the neighbors could still live there any more. Just one of the many time warp experiences I had.
And so it goes.