So we just got back from our wild and wonderful Midwest tour. We left home early on a Tuesday morning, spent two days traveling to Chicago and the next two visiting family there. Then it was back on the road for the day-long trip to Merritt, Michigan, where Dave's mom and stepdad retired after their teaching careers. We were in Merritt for almost a full week, then we headed west toward Holland, MI, where my husband grew up. After two busy days there, we spent two more days traveling home... and there you have the overview.
Our times in Chicago and Holland were great--busy, full of cousins and aunts and uncles and sun and activity and fun. But I have to say that our time in Merritt was the best time of all. Ahh, Merritt--a tiny, little speck on the map that just barely qualifies for a post office. And Mom and Tom don't even live in Merritt. I mean, their address says Merritt, but it takes a good ten minutes on country roads to get from the post office to their place, and the last two miles are unpaved.
So what's so great about Mom and Tom's place? Well, pretty much everything except for the mosquitoes--which are twice the size of Maryland mosquitoes, brazen, and ravenous. But I digress to the cons. Allow me to make a list of pros:
-almost no neighbors on the surrounding 1,000 acres
-snug, tidy little white house
-screened in porch for eating, playing and afternoon napping
-the buzz of an occasional hummingbird
-sleepy ponds with overhanging willow trees
-what our children called "jungle"--many acres of ferny, slightly swampy woods
-golf cart to ride on the paths mown through the jungle
-quiet, slow-moving river to visit via golf cart
-a garden fountain
-the two live frogs who hang out in the fountain
-bird feeders that draw goldfinches, house finches, nut hatches, wood peckers, sparrows, and red-winged black birds (Mom calls them "junk birds," but they are pretty)
-baby deer (twins) frolicking around the ponds in the streaming, early morning sunlight
-three graceful lady deer strolling right up to the driveway for a chat and a snack of corn
-determined turtles hauling their moss-grown shells from pond to pond
-great blue herons rising out of the cattails at our approach
-creaky old play set with three swings
-kiddie pool shaped like an orca, with water shooting up from its "spout"
-huge fire pit
-an RV, for extra living space and the endless enjoyment of our children
Did I mention that we barely get cell phone reception there, and that Mom and Tom's dial-up internet connection is flaky? Paradise, I'm telling you. I know it wouldn't be everyone's cuppa, but for this farm-grown girl who finds herself raising kids in bustling, hyper-wired suburbia... Merritt looks almost like heaven for a change.
And I almost forgot the best thing of all about Merritt--the very last thing on my considerable list of pros:
-kind, generous, creative grandparents who love kids and love life
I have a couple of sets of pictures to share, but I'm going to wrap this post with the shots I took of Mom and Tom's lovely gardens, over which they have labored lovingly for the last decade. It sure shows!
(My usual disclaimers apply to these photos--slowly perishing camera, completely amateur photographer, doesn't do her subjects justice, etc., etc.)