Happy Memorial Day weekend, all! I hope all of you are as excited as I am about the official beginning of summer. For those of you who know me well, you know that Memorial Day weekend is a real big deal--a full holiday, almost akin to my version of Christmas. When we lived in Chicago, every year, without fail, I would take the Friday prior to Memorial Day off from work (usually I requested it in like...September), so that we could drive up to Grand Haven on Thursday night, arriving just in time for the Musical Fountain downtown. Memorial Day indicates the beginning of all things warm, BBQ, outdoor fire pits, Oberons on the beach and long sunsets. I adore summer and I adore the symbolism and feeling that Memorial Day invokes every year--a new start to a new summer. I'm a hugely nostalgic at times and summer definitely makes me feel even more so--when I was growing up, my family had an amazing house in Northern Michigan called Watassa.
I've written about Watassa before so I won't get too long, but let's just say that this place was literally my version of heaven. Watassa was a huge lodge that my great-grandfather purchased as a company retreat, built in the 1930s, sitting in the middle of 40 acres of the Manistee National Forest outside of Ludington, on the Pere Marquette River, this place was amazing in every sense of the word. It had Hudson Bay blankets throughout (before Kinfolk made them way trendy), a huge enamel gas stove in the kitchen and an amazing sun porch--I could go on and on. At any rate, we spent a lot of time up North when I was growing up--and when my dad sold the house in 2004, to say it was traumatizing is sort of an understatement--but maintaining and caring for a large house like that, in the middle of nowhere, is not only expensive, but also difficult, and my dad made the decision to sell to another family who wanted a retreat for themselves.
Even though Watassa isn't a place I can visit all the time anymore, it still solidified my deep respect for Summer from my experiences there. The beginning of the summer always brings me right back to Watassa--to roasting marshmallows with my riding friends in the yard, to picking terribly bitter apples from the orchard, to hiking to the clay banks through the woods, to eating a huge hamburger after a day of fishing on the Little Lake, Watassa defines my childhood. And it defines what summer means to me as well--I can't think of summer without thinking of Watassa.
Summertime things are just easier, right? Longer days, more sunshine, warmth, fresh fruits and vegetables all the time, Lake Michigan for swimming, the woods for walking, evenings on the porch with friends, climbing sand dunes....it just all adds up to a wonderful time to be in Michigan.
Usually for Memorial Day we host a bit group of friends here at the cottage, but this year we are taking it super easy--we have a wedding in Chicago on Saturday and will be back late Saturday night--Sunday I have a plethora of gardening and landscaping to do (sedum and yarrow are my new best friends in sandy soil) around the house, Ian's working on putting on a new roof, and we have projects up the wazoo, so no big parties this year. After we're done with all that we full intend to relax, soak up some sunshine, and just enjoy the warmth for a few days. I've been so busy and tied to my computer lately that just sitting on the front porch will feel like a luxury! I hope whatever you're doing for Memorial Day weekend, you have a wonderful time and take the opportunity to just sit back and revel in the beginning of the best season in the world--Summer.