Sorry for taking such a long lunch, but the snow has been so very much fun. We stayed with Andy and Kathryn, Adelaide and Willow in Traverse City MI, and a week flew by. They’ve recently had a ‘mud room’ built onto their house, and it proved particularly helpful with all of the boots, jackets and snow gear we piled up between us all. Eleanor and I were out in it the most, as she surprised me with her stamina, walking about the neighbourhood, following the natural creek which was half buried in snow, flinging the wonderful white snow about the place, and collecting icicles for good measure. Addy Mae is a little younger and didn’t last quite as long, but she and Eleanor spent a bit of time sledding and making snowmen, plus she and I played a little baseball and she has a pretty good swing. The others joined in for bouts of snow play, but Andy had to work a few days, and the others preferred to prepare the hot chocolates for us to sip once we retreated from the cold. Hannah loved the sled, but ran out of oomph pretty quickly.
Traverse City has a strong boutique industry, ranging from cherries to cider to clothes to woodwork and other gifts. I suspect there’s a lot of local fruit and veg in the right season, but with winter coming it was being delivered from the South. For some reason we had no concerns buying Mexican produce even though I like to buy Australian when I’m in Australia. Am I simply Unamerican? Perhaps it’s the lack of ocean between the two countries. In any case we had a great time sampling all of the above, as well as the distillery which Andy dutifully pointed out. It turns out I not only like Scotch, but a range of whiskey options – just not when they’re mixed with maraschino cherries: yuck.
Andy and Kathryn managed to play tour guide remarkably well, given their work and parenting schedules, and we managed to weave together an effective sort of cohabiting for a week. The girls shared baths, toys, meal and play times, and went separate ways at various nap and quiet times. Young Willow is a lovely kid, finding her feet and her confidence around strangers invading her house, and Addy Mae was right at home with us, showing us stories, toys, and even her dance class where Eleanor was able to join in.
It all came to a close too quickly, and we were on the road again, a few hours of driving one night to Bay City MI, then a few more the next morning, over the border to Ontario. That night driving is best described in hindsight, since we arrived safely: The wind was blowing and the snow was falling heavily in parts, so we were driving quite slowly and copying the other drivers who had their hazard lights flashing to increase the chances of being seen! I was glad to have been upgraded to a SUV for free (after refusing to pay for it).