My favorite summer memories are from the trips my family took to Michigan to visit my Grandma. We didn’t get to go every summer, but when we did I was excited for weeks prior to the trip. The sleepless night of eager anticipation seemed to go on forever until Mom came in to tell my sister and me to get up and get ready to go. The 8 to 9 hour drive started early in the morning before the sun even came up.
The farm on which my father grew up was a wonderful place. Grandma had cows, sheep, geese, and lots of outdoor cats. My uncles had a swing hanging from a tree in the front yard and a tire swing in the loft of the barn for us. The bottom part of the barn was for milking the cows. I remember it had this little moat thing that was always full of frogs and toads which I loved to catch. There was a huge pond behind the house with a little wooden rowboat. The pond was stocked with fish and water lilies that always made me think of exotic sea monsters living in its depths. I’m not really sure what was planted in all those fields, but it was a beautiful country setting.
We always visited Lake Michigan to go swimming while we were there, too. The sand dunes were HUGE. People would hang-glide off of them out across the lake. I remember thinking they were so brave. A small inlet served as a kind of kiddie pool for all the children with the warmest water you could imagine. I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, swimming in the lake or playing in the sand.
The best part of the trip, though, was seeing Grandma and my uncles and aunt. They spoiled us with toys and attention that made me feel so loved. Every time we left, I cried. Those trips are certainly my most fond memories of my childhood.