I'm having trouble getting started writing this column. It's not because I don't have anything to write about. It's because I have too much.
I guess I'll start at the beginning, some 40 years ago.
Bob and I were married Dec. 1, 1973. That means last December we were married 40 years. Our children wanted to know how to celebrate that milestone. "Should we have a party?" they asked. That wasn't what Bob and I wanted.
"Can we get together for a family vacation?" I wondered — knowing how hard it was to pin down a time when our four offspring, their spouses and their children could find free time, let alone try to coordinate all the families together.
I explained how my friends arranged with their family to rent a house on a lake. Three generations met there for a week in the summer. It seemed the perfect way to celebrate to me. Family is the most important part after all.
Calculations began, as did Internet investigations — not by me, but by our children. They were the busy ones. Bob and I were leaving everything up to them.
It soon became obvious that a whole week wouldn't work. The timing changed to a four-day weekend. But that was a problem, too. Rentals would only book a lake house for a week.
"Well, we could have a big campout at the farm," I suggested, but no one liked my idea.
More vacation research took place.
Andy and Rebecca found a solution. A friend of Andy's would loan us his cabin for our celebration. It wasn't a house, so we'd have limitations.
Email discussions began. Could we work around the problem of limited space? Maybe we could borrow a camper or put up a tent. We decided we could live together in the cabin for four days ... somehow.
Another hitch occurred. Bad timing meant Russell and Cynthia couldn't join us — they had an impending event that couldn't be altered.
Change of date? More email communications went across the Internet. It was decided to continue with our plans and hopefully have the full tribe next time — maybe even next summer.
Long, cold winter months passed. As the prescribed time drew near, the final arrangements were made. What did we need to bring to the cabin for our long weekend? Food, of course. Clothes, towels, sheets, more food, lots of bug spray and sunscreen, and that's just for starters.
Bob and I weren't supposed to worry about bringing any food, but I volunteered farm fresh eggs and bacon. No one objected.
The biggest arrangement we had to make was to get someone to take care of our dog, cats, chickens and home while we were away. Luckily we had a good friend to do this job.
Our celebration was only for four days, so I didn't begin packing until the last minute. As soon as I brought out the suitcases, our dog Sunny knew something was up. His kept track of my every move. He didn't know exactly when we'd be walking out the door, but he knew that was coming.
Sunny's sad expression made leaving home difficult for me, but it didn't stop our plans. Soon we had the car packed, and Bob and I were heading north toward Crivitz.
Our family was already there when we arrived. Unloading the car was a breeze as so many hands were there to help.
When we went outside after stashing our stuff, Bob and I were assaulted by three squirt-gun-toting grandchildren — I'd be remiss if I didn't say I was the one who provided the guns.
Our adventure was just beginning, but I'm out of room. So remember to check back here next week for more about our great 40th anniversary adventure.