I'm sitting in the cozy confines of my folks house in Indianapolis, having arrived back this afternoon from my week-long vacation on the western shores of Michigan. I had a great week as usual and have many stories to tell and memories to relive as the present fades into the past.
This was my first year to organize the trip and so the first couple of days were fairly stressful...it was Monday before I could really begin to think about relaxing. I'm very satisfied as every person who attended told me how much fun they had and what a great job I did. I wanted people to rekindle that excitement we all felt when Curt Churchman first started organizing this trip and the group had about 15 people, so I reached into the past and revived some of his cool gags. I had goodie bags waiting for everyone upon their arrival (an old Global Churchman standard): Kids got wall walkers, crazy balloons, bubbles, lunch bags, glow in the dark bracelets (Troy Michael quickly informed me his was not a bracelet but a light saber instead), twizzlers and t-shirts. Adults bags contained polypro water bottles, t-shirts, Sharpies, Tic-Tacs, Viagra pens (high quality pens from John, our Pfizer rep) and Cialis notepads (Kathy Michael , our resident executive sales rep from Lilly was not to be outdone). Thanks to the recommendation of my good friends and Holland, MI residents the Kronner's we also tapped into an excellent keg of locally brewed beer (Amber Ale) from the New Holland Brewing Company.
Every day was just plain wonderful; people who hadn't been coming regularly showed up this year, people who'd been staying for just a days stayed longer, and the kids just get more fun each year. We missed the Ruebecks, the Sautins, Trina and also Christy and we're hoping to get them all back next year. But I'm happy to report that the aforementioned Kronner's not only fit in well but helped us to have an even more enjoyable Michigan vacation experience by letting use bikes all week and giving us great suggestions for fun activities. They were officially sucked into the group when they showed up last night for the final meal, making it three times we got to see them. We ate great food too, as Teresa and Kathy shopped the wonderful Holland Farmer's Market at the beginning of the trip; Lots of berries, corn, peaches, and salad greens. Yum, yum.
Yesterday was just outstanding. We spent the day at Saugatuck Dunes State Park and had an outstanding time. We swam in the lake, made a great sand castle, enjoyed the serenity of the beach (almost nobody else was there..except for the busload of Orthodox Israeli teen boys who showed up as we were leaving...I'm kicking myself for not figuring out how they were there), hiked on great dune forest trails and climbed the big dunes. It was a full day of fun.
This trip has sort of worked its way into my being, if that makes sense. I've been doing it long enough that I can't imagine not going. It's a chance to spend time with great friends, renew friendships with those I only get to see once or twice a year, see how life is progressing (despite my attempts to make time stand still) through the growth of the kids, relax on the beach, remember friends who aren't amongst us anymore, reminisce, take long solo walks in the morning and generally refuel the engine of my soul. This year I was hoping to bring Annie, although since I brought along my friends Gwen, Heidi, Birgitt and Sonja before I guess I couldn't claim it would have been the first time I brought a girl. But that was not to be, for Annie had to work due to the time she took off for our trip to France (yes, I do realize I've yet to post a full account of that trip...it is forthcoming).
I might wax and wane more tomorrow, after I catch up on my sleep. One more day in Indy and then it's back to the mountains and work. I really must win the lottery one of these days.