It has been a balmy winter so far here in Racine. With temperatures settling in the upper 30's and lower 40's for the last couple of weeks, anyone can envision any snow on the ground. The sun has already melted away the dusting we had last week Tuesday morning. That's quite alright with me. After more than forty years of dealing with slipping and sliding, shoveling and the hassle of the snow, I can honestly say I can live with never seeing another snowflake again..
That meant a freedom from the perils taking a roadtrip Up North to visit my family and friends over the Christmas holidays...
My girlfriend's kids arrived early Saturday morning from their place Up North for breakfast and an exchange of gifts. A nice little visit. Seeing my girlfriend holding her three month old granddaughter was worth its weight in gold... Shortly afterwards they headed south to visit their grandfather, we headed for the Northwoods...
A journey of an approximate 240 miles in 4 1/2 hours, winds through 13 counties to our destination to just north of Pickerel, WI. Yeah, it's WAY up there in the boondocks. It can be a relaxing and scenic journey for some, especially through the Menominee Reservation. The long and winding road alongside the scenic and wild Wolf River offers a primitive and picturesque view of the Dairy State.
This time around, the river was partially frozen and the snow covered pines gave a breathtaking view as the sun's last rays filled the sky with an orange glow.
We arrived shortly after dusk at my folks place. The succulent aroma of a turkey being prepared in a warm kitchen overpowered me. Homemade potatoes and excellent gravy filled my innards as pleasant talk among my family warmed the room. The gift exchange later that night yielded surprises, some of them mouth dropping. Hinda can say we got "spoiled", yet I'm eternally grateful.
After a well deserved night's sleep, my girlfriend, my son and I had to leave in the morning. As much as we wanted to stay for awhile, we had to head south to Shawano to visit my girlfriend's mother's place. It was here that we met up with my girlfriend's kids from their journey south. Seemed like a nice reunion of sorts. The food, I tell ya, another day of gluttony. Pizza, cookies, fudge and snacks everywhere. The surprise this time was my girlfriend's mother getting a boom box for Christmas. Talk about a smile from ear to ear.
The day had just begun. From there, onward south again to Appleton where my girlfriend's older sister had her annual Christmas gathering. More food, more people, more fun and a white elephant. Italian sausage, lasagna, more pizza and cookies, my stomach was about to burst at this point. There were people crammed in that house more that I could imagine fitting in. The white elephant? Oh yeah, it's game of which participants exchanges cheap unorthodox gifts for the laughs. I got a set of cups while my girlfriend got a box of tea. It was fun.
One more stop to go. Home. The race against the clock to make it home before the Packer-Bear game had begun... A two and half hour journey at highway speeds. We made it just in time...
So how did your Christmas go?