I just spent a long weekend up at the North Shore. This year is my Mother-in-Law’s 90th birthday and the whole family went there to celebrate with her. I couldn’t help but think that Debbie would be there in spirit. You might recall that I’ve written in the past about Debbie sending me hearts. (https://www.timkwrites.com/blog/hearts) I was hoping that she might send me another one on this trip.
We didn’t have great weather for the trip, most days had rain and clouds. Still we managed to do a lot. Either together or in groups we hiked Temperance River, Cascade River, Oberg Mountain, Britton Peak and Sugarloaf Cove; went to Lutsen and rode the gondola up to the top of a mountain, rode the Alpine Slide or visited a winery; and spent time in Grand Marais.
On Friday the sun even came out for a bit. During the day a group of us went to Sugarloaf Cove. It has a nice beach area and some rocky shoreline that’s fun to walk along. I thought that perhaps this would be when I would find a heart. I walked along the beach looking at the rocks for hearts (and agates.) I reached the end of the beach without having seen a heart. Feeling disappointed I moved on. At the end of the beach there is a little isthmus with a rocky peninsula going off in one way and the shore curving in the other direction. It’s a few short steps from the cove to lakeshore on the other side.
I walked through and was struck by the sun shining off the water. I thought it might make a good picture. So, I pulled out my cell phone and snapped a picture while squinting into the sun. Which is exactly how to take a great picture it turned out. I looked at it later and thought it was a great picture. That evening when we were gathering to eat together I made sure to show the picture to everyone. (Yeah, I was showing off. I’m still showing off, this is the picture I took.)
After I took the picture I continued hiking on the peninsula. I was feeling sorry for myself that I hadn’t found a heart rock. However, by the time I got to the end of the peninsula I was feeling better. Lake Superior will do that to you. I told myself that it didn’t matter if I had a heart or not. The love the Debbie and I had for each other still exists. As I hiked back, I ran into Alicia and Carlos coming in the other direction. I took a picture of them on a rock with a bit of a rainbow in the background. I thought to myself that our kids were better than any heart.
Later that evening, after I had shown the picture to everyone I was drawn to it again. I had the idea that perhaps there would be a heart in the rocks. So, I zoomed in on the bottom of the picture. Looking at the rocks I didn’t see anything heart shaped. But then I looked up above the rocks, and I found the heart in the water.
Everything I thought when I was disappointed at not getting a heart is still true. But it was nice to know that Debbie was joining us for the birthday celebration.
If you read my post about my trip to see the eclipse last year (https://www.timkwrites.com/blog/total-solar-eclipse-2017-part-one), you might remember that the trip had originally been planned around a tour of minor league baseball games. But, my friend who had planned on coming with had to cancel, and the trip ended up being just for the eclipse. This year I did the other part of the trip and I’d like to tell you about it.
As with any trip we were met with the kindness of strangers, confusion on directions, pleasant surprises, time wasters, good and bad food choices, and unexpected beauty. The true success of the trip came from spending four days in the car with my friend, Gunnar, and still being friends at the end of the trip.
Planning started at the beginning of the baseball season as I pulled up the various team schedules on the internet. We were going to try to hit three minor league affiliates of the Twins – Elizabethton and Chattanooga in Tennessee, Cedar Rapids in Iowa. There were very few weekends when all three teams were playing at home. After figuring out which weekends would work we picked the weekend that worked best and started to plan.
Meeting at a local tap room and looking at driving distances, it quickly became clear that the driving times would make it impractical to drive from one end of Tennessee to the other. We started looking at other minor league teams that we could visit that wouldn’t be so far out of the way. We ended up with a route that had one long driving day on the first day followed by 4 days of five to seven hours on the road.
Here’s our itinerary:
Wednesday, August 20 – Drive to Louisville, Kentucky
Thursday – Louisville Slugger Museum, Drive to Elizabethton, Tennessee, Game: Elizabethton Twins vs. Greenville Reds
Friday – Drive to Bowling Green, Kentucky, Game: Bowling Green Hot Rods vs. Lake County Captains
Saturday – Drive to Peoria, Illinois, Game: Peoria Chiefs vs. Beloit Snappers
Sunday – Drive to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Game: Cedar Rapids Kernels vs. Kane County Cougars, Drive to Minneapolis
Gunnar and I each took two nights and made hotel reservations. I took on the task of looking for tap rooms along the way.
I knew this was going to take more than one post to do, so I titled this Part One before I even started writing. I’ll be writing more in future posts. But for now, I’ll set the stage by telling you about the start of the trip.
I drove to Gunnar’s home in Minneapolis and picked him up. After we loaded up his luggage and got into the car Gunnar handed me his gun and said, “Use this on me if I’m unconscious.”
When Alicia started kindergarten, I took her to school. The first day they had a gathering for the start of the school year. I stayed and watched. I was new to Waldorf at the time, so I didn’t know what to expect.
There wasn’t anything surprising at the start. All the children came in and sat on the right side by grades starting with second grade and going all the way back to the eighth-graders. The new first graders were led in by their kindergarten teachers and sat in the front on the left side. Then it was welcome back, introductions of the staff and other announcements. After that came the Rose Ceremony.
The names of the new first graders were read off. As each name was read the child would get up and come up on stage where there was a little wooden bridge. They would cross the bridge and shake hands with their new teacher. Then one of the eighth-grade students would hand them a rose and lead them to the seats on front of the right side that was set aside for the first-graders.
It was fun to watch the different children and how they approached it. Some strode up confidently, their steps on the wooden bridge ringing out for all to hear. Some were hesitant, not sure of exactly where to go. But they all made it across the bridge and into first grade.
The next year when Alicia made the trip across the bridge and into first grade I was there to see it. And I started coming back to see the Rose Ceremony. Without realizing that I was building a streak, I was there for the start of every year while Alicia was at the school. And then every year while Andrew attended. And then every year while Debbie was teaching. And now, so far, every year for Debbie’s former class.
I think the children also sense there is some special meaning with the Rose Ceremony. When Andrew was born later in Alicia’s first grade year, it wasn’t too long afterwards that she figured that she would be in eighth grade when he was in first grade. The first thing that she said about it was, “I can give Andrew the rose on his first day of school.” And so, she did.
And so, I’m planning on being back tomorrow for the start of the school year and my twenty-fourth Rose Ceremony.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.