A warm, summer breeze ruffled our hair, but the sun burned our skin. Since we were half-way up the side of a bluff, I reasoned that the sun was hotter than usual because we were closer to it than when on flat land. My daughter Tammie and I had reached the middle of the vineyard. I stopped and turned to look at the grand view. I could see bluffs on the other side of the Mississippi, but they were shrouded by a curtain of blue haze. Closer, to the left, front and right of us, I counted three other tall, tree-covered bluffs. The coulee below was connected to a network of other valleys that curved around the base of each bluff.
A short way below us, bunkered into the bluff side and surrounded by these beautiful rows of grapevines, was our vacation cottage. I could see the small lawn, the electric grill, red table and chairs arranged by the back door. Greg, the owner of the property, had told us that the grapevines on the fence near the cottage were table grapes. He suggested, “You’re welcome to pick and eat them.” Next to the fence was a chiminea with dry wood stacked inside, waiting to be used.
I smiled to myself, remembering a conversation that I’d had with someone before coming here. When I told her about this place, she’d exclaimed, “Where does a person find a place like this?” It made me realize that an unusual vacation spot was truly a treasure. My daughter and I had been very fortunate to come upon it while ‘mining’ the internet one night. Continue reading
A streak of lightning zig-zagged from one end of the sky to the other end. I counted, “One-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.” A loud boom of thunder rattled our cottage.
My daughter Tammie said, “The storm is three miles from here.” Another streak of lighting was followed by thunder two seconds later.
“I said, “The thunder sounds like it bounces back and forth between all the bluffs around us like a ball in a pin-ball machine.”
While a thunderstorm would ruin some people’s vacation, I went to the cottage hoping that we would have a storm during our stay. It was beautiful and my daughter and I enjoyed it very much!
My daughter and I had decided to spend our vacation in a cottage surrounded by a vineyard on the side of a bluff in the driftless area of Wisconsin when we missed the enrollment date for a pilgrimage to Ireland. Untouched by the last glacier that had scoured most of Wisconsin flat, tall bluffs and deep coulees makes the driftless area seem like a beautiful foreign country. Continue reading
My daughter was on her way out the back door when she paused to say, “You said you wanted to see a play at Spring Green while on vacation, so I bought tickets for us. We’re going to see Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors.”
Genuinely pleased, I said, “Oh good! What night are we going?”
Nonchalantly, Tammie said, “The first day of our vacation. We’ll have to leave the cottage right after we arrive to get there on time.”
Hating to be rushed, especially while on vacation, I asked, “Wasn’t there another night that we could go to that play?”
Shaking her head, my daughter said, “No. The only day I could get tickets during our vacation week, was that night. Don’t worry. It’ll all work out.” Continue reading
I peeked into the children’s bedroom before sitting down on the sofa next to my husband, Arnie. I said, “The girls went to sleep quickly tonight. Going for that long walk with me this afternoon in the cool, brisk air tired them out.”
Arnie said, “The weather today was more like it should be at the end of September. There was a chill of fall in the air and it’s only the beginning of August!”
I shrugged. “In a few days it’ll probably be as warm as July. Anyway, school will be starting in a few weeks.”
“That reminds me, did you call the bus company?” my husband wondered. “The lady at the kindergarten orientation meeting seemed to think Tammie would need to ride on a bus for the handicapped.”
I rolled my eyes before answering, “I called about getting her enrolled on the bus for handicapped children and was yelled at. The man I talked to was very indignant. I don’t know what his problem was. He seemed to think I was asking for something out of the ordinary or unnecessary. I tried explaining to him the lady at the kindergarten orientation suggested that I call…he just yelled at me in a most unprofessional manner! I guess he was having a bad day.” Continue reading