Wisconsin and summer
Here come our days off!!
Much deserved days of rest for our four-legged beauties and these two-legged
souls. We're going to spend two days at Mark's brother's house, Rick and
Kathy. They live on a picture perfect green grass with peonies, flowers,
gardens -- just like you dream in the mid-west. The green grass runs right down
to the boathouse along the lake where there's a little dock and a bench to sit
on and look out over the lake. I'm staying in the guest room which literally is
a museum memorial to John Wayne and other little artifacts that Rick has
collected, some civil war bullets, little trains -- there's just no telling what
fascinating little trinket you might find displayed.
I've been excited about
meeting Mark's family since I knew we were coming to
Wisconsin, to see all the
places that Mark has talked about and where he grew up.
We pull into Rick's driveway
with our rig and Rick's boys have Mark's band, The Elktones, CD playing in the
CD player as we drive up. It was so cute. They're all so excited for our
arrival. We plugged in Mark's trailer and got him situated, got my bags in the
John Wayne room, and then it off to see the sights of Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin.
Rick's house in on Lake Winnebago, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the
country. It's huge, though at its deepest point it must be only about 20 feet.
Everywhere you look is like a postcard. It's so quaint, this little town. Mark
took me to where he worked with the old man, Walter Pruitt. I saw where the
buggy hit the telephone pole and where the round pen used to be. Of course,
time has changed it all now, but when I sat there and closed my eyes I could see
everything clearly and it made me smile to think of Mark as a young boy soaking
in all the old man's wisdom that would bring us to where we are today, sitting
and reminiscing of days gone by. Well, we kept on moving, places to go, people
to see. Mark's mom and dad are having somewhat of a dinner party for us,
spaghetti is involved, garlic bread, salad, home baked cookies and apparently a
traditional drink of Wisconsin called an old-fashion. First time I've ever had
one. Mark's warning was drink it slow, so I did, not being much of a drinker
anyway. When we got to the house you would have thought an army was coming
over. We had pots of spaghetti and more pots of spaghetti. One of Mark's dad's
favorite sayings is -- "We may be lost but we're making good time". One of my
dad's favorite sayings is "We may not be in the middle of nowhere, but we can
sure see it from here" so you see I felt right at home, surrounded by these
It was so much fun and we had
so many great laughs. I was so proud to be part of the family as they declared
me to be their long-lost daughter. Mark, Rick, Kathy and I went out for pizza
one night where the pizza is round but they cut it in squares. Another popular
culinary treat is frozen custard and cheese curds, all very good. Rick and
Kathy and Kathy's family had a BBQ for us one night and that was really fun --
where we BBQ-ed brats in beer and onions and everyone made something, potato
salads, etc. We made shish-ka-bob as well, with the famous Rashid marinade, and
is it excellent!
Everyone couldn't wait for
Mark and me to bring out our guitars. After all, one of Mark's nephews is a
wanna-be guitar player. It was a perfect way to end a wonderful day and Mark
and I always feel such gratitude when folks want to sit and listen to us play.
Mark got to play some of the new songs on his soon-to-be released CD, "Songs of
We spent one day at the
soccer field where we cheered Mark's niece, Sammy, on, and Wendy's mom and dad
joined us. It was a real show of support for Sammy, laughing and cheering her
on. Rick took us out one day in the boat, out on Lake Winnebago. They even
went as far as to let me drive the boat. Feel, timing, breath and balance all
over again. All too soon our time was up and it was time for us to start the
second week of the clinic. Mark's niece, Kelly, and sister Pam came to watch
Mark work and you could see how proud they were of their uncle and brother and
it made me feel good to be part of it.
Once again, it's time for us
to hit the road. We want to thank all of our hosts, Debbie and Mark and family,
Christine and family, four-legged and two-legged. Thank you for the hot
chocolate, the tea and honey and a warm place to lay my head. Thank you for
allowing us to play our guitars, the hugest bonfire I've ever been to in my
life, and look forward to seeing you all again in the year to come. Until then
-- may you find the changes you're looking for and have the good sense to
realize when they have come.
Leaving Wisconsin 6:00pm we
stopped for dinner to go and I got my last little bag of hot cheese curds.
We'll drive all night, obviously stopping for fuel.
We got to the gateways to the
West in Nebraska at 5:30am. They don't open until ten -- we won't be able to
wait. Next time, we're really going to. Eight forty a.m. we stopped to get the
horses out, feed and water, Mark naps, I showered and napped a little. I did
more driving this trip. At Big Springs an overpass was hit by a trucker in a
big rig an collapsed. One thirty-six p.m. we're getting close to home. Things
look good, beautiful clouds and blue skies. The Thompson River rushing full and
furious, sixty-five degrees, wind through the trees, green grass along the
roadside. Once again my heart soars and is full like the Thompson river, full
of a love for life. The little wild flowers popping up here and there. We have
Aikido tonight. It's 2:00pm and we're still working our way up the canyon,
lilac in bloom and I just saw some fly-fisherman fishing. It's 55 degrees in
Estes Park and a big flock of Canadian geese fly overhead. We're five minutes
from home now. We'll unload and take care of our ponies and we'll all get some
well deserved sleep so we'll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Aikido tonight
and ready to start our summer clinics here in Loveland, Colorado. Happy