Old Friends and Road Trips

My Mom always said old friends were the best! Those we’ve known practically since our beginnings!   Beginning school, being the new kid on the block, starting college or career, newly married, having kids. All those fresh starts we have in life where we gravitate to folks like us….eventually  bonding and sharing and growing along until one day;they've become life-long forever friends! Since so much of who we are is based on where we come from, it’s natural to continually reaffirm and.... 

                                                  Savor Old Friendships!

Spending time back home in Michigan the past few summers, my husband and I connected with family and pals from childhood, high school, first jobs and those who were there when we met and married! Lots of retelling……and rehearing…..the same old stories, but the laughter was always fresh! We needed to rehash, recall and relive some of those important moments in time that tend to stick. And as always these days, the conversation eventually turns to our children...yikes, how can they be pushing 50 while we’re still so young?…and our grandchildren! From a brand new great-grandchild to a granddaughter off to college, we nodded and clapped and shared in each others’ pride and joy in these precious rewards we receive for raising our own kids!

                                                        Road Trip North

Sometimes a 2 hour trip by plane,
 but usually a two-day road trip each way!  Oh what fun we'd have! Blue highways where you can take your time and see small town America; try Mom and Pop diners and pizza joints, see farm after farm with dairy cows, corn fields, bales of hay and handsome horses grazing around every curve in the road! It’s always a favorite to see the Amish folks in Northern Indiana out and about in their horse pulled carts. One time we were passing through local town Festivals…..so the carriages were filled with families and they were everywhere. I have so much respect for these people and was especially pleased to see some had embraced safety over modernization and installed stop lights and blinkers on their carts!  

We listened to Kid Rock and Seger  CD’s in Michigan of course, sang along (over and over again) to “Ain’t that America, you and me;  ain’t that America, home of the free” all through Mellencamp’s Indiana.  By Tennessee we’d moved onto Travis Tritt’s “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”……..and then a little Huey Lewis and Adele thrown in as we made our way home via more back roads!   Great fun…….singing along as the miles go by always seems shorter! Reluctantly, we'd have to tune it down, hook up with I75 and join the highway-free-for-all the last couple hours.
No photos to post……..but oh, so many pictures captured in our hearts.  The spilled wine, the scenery, the shouts of  “I love your hair/love your shoes,” and that side-hug-and-a-handshake guys do. Our old campus has grown and changed so much it’s hardly recognizable; and the welcoming smile of the pizza lady who’s still there……where my kids stood on those same little steps to watch the pizza dough twirl......she's still there!

                                                 The Roots That Grow Us

As time flows on, our friends mean more and more because we've all made the same journey together. Maybe not side by side in the same town, but certainly soul to soul and heart to heart over the years in phone calls, Holiday cards, visits home or shared vacation spots. Thanks to each of you who always found time to be with us for a few hours!  

Now it's Michigan time again; only I'll be going back alone this summer. I'm flying, the vibe will be different...but home is home. During the years we lived there, Winter Wonderland was fun as we skied and skated and sloshed through snow as if there was no other way of life. But after moving south and making regular visits home to see my folks,the highlight for me was driving under the Say Yes to Michigan sign after hours of driving! And although Pure Michigan addresses all that this great state has to offer, including the cities that cater to agriculture, hunting, industry and shopping; my favorite is the new Lakeshore Galore slogan! The Great Lakes state has over 11,000 inland lakes, one on which we owned a house for many years. Friends and relatives have lake homes 'up north' and 'down west' as the smaller lakes that lie along....and are fed by...Lake Michigan are referred to. This year I can't wait to visit a few more, have new adventures and make new memories! 

Kid's Clothing

Racks of Spring Sale Clothing

Every January and August, I spend several days  helping my daughter prepare for another consignment sale. As a new school year begins and kids need the next-sized jeans, thoughts turn to Fall Shopping. Used clothing sales are a big deal...Halloween costumes, holiday party dresses;  warm sweaters and pajamas are perfect prey for bargain hunters.

What a sentimental task this always is as I pin, label and attach little pink & blue hangers to all the clothing the kids have outgrown the previous seasons. This is the fifth year I’ve helped and I’ve pretty much got the hang of it now. It always makes me smile as a certain piece of clothing taps into my heart and sets me off on a walk down memory lane. First stop, the navy-with-red-stripes tee-shirt the little guy loves. I pick him up at school and it’s on backward with lunch and paint stains...and he’s running and leaping for a hug!!

Here are the ballet and tap shoes Missy wore for her dance lessons and recitals. And so many adorable little dresses...now outgrown. She  too races to greet me when I pick her up at school asking “do you like my pretty dress, Grandma?”

So many boys’ red sweatpants and t-shirts...(Ohio State Dad) and one girly pink and white hoodie with Buckeyes on the front from their Ohio Grandma.  Past sales have offered University of Michigan Blue and Gold outfits (U of M Mom) but I don’t see any this time around. 

Two powder blue long-sleeved shirts with a fleecy big beagle across the fronts, one of my many contributions to dressing the twins alike. These soft tops kept them so warm last winter...I can’t believe they don’t fit anymore!

The “Big Brother” tee that our oldest grandson wore is now too small, and so are the matching Pirate pajamas for the boys...or were they for the twins?   We’ve been creative, my daughter and I,  finding matching or complementary outfits at these sales for boy/ girl twins. Amazing the shades of blue that look good on little ladies. It's sad to say goodbye to the cool, pink, camouflage pants that matched her brothers’ dark green ones.

And here are past Holiday dresses, all lacy and velvety and ribbony. You know she’ll say no to fancy dresses in a few short years.  I close my eyes and see the boys looking so handsome in  these hunter green sweaters they wore in our Christmas pictures.

Suede polka dot boots and dress shoes are the final touches that go with mix & match leggings, tunics and jumpers, all covered in dots of various sizes and colors.  I loved every outfit she wore….well, the ones I actually saw her in. Dinner at a restaurant, off to the movies or visiting her classroom for Star Student Day, there she was looking adorable with that I-know-I'm-cute grin on her face!!

The munchkins will be joining their big brother at school soon. They're off to Kindergarten and he starts third grade. My daughter will be browsing the racks and buying "new" shirts and pants and shoes for them to wear. They will continue to outgrow their clothes in the years to come, but right now as I help get things sale-ready, I love knowing these precious pieces will be worn by new children and treasured by another Mom and Grandma!