It’s hard to leave friends behind for a year, and it’s great when you can connect up with people halfway across the country. When our neighbor Kathleen planned a trip to Minneapolis to visit her family, she asked if we might be anywhere close around then. As it turns out, we were headed in that general direction, and when Kathleen’s sister Joanne offered up her more than spacious driveway to us, we nudged our schedule a bit here and there to make it happen.
More than a neighbor, Kathleen is one of our closest friends. We raised our kids together, and now that Kathleen is raising her granddaughter, we’ve become sort of great aunties. We met up with them in April to introduce Maddie to Disneyland, and Kate’s been sewing outfits for Maddie’s doll as we travel. We were also excited to see Kathleen’s son, Matt, who was flying in from his forest service job in Alaska.
We arrived Tuesday afternoon, and I don’t know who was more excited for the reunion, Madison or Bailey. Kathleen’s family invited us to join them for some late afternoon speedboat fun, but I was finishing up my user guide for the next day’s deadline, and Kate was weary. We stayed back and enjoyed a delicious salmon dinner that Joanne cooked up.
Walker Art Museum
On Wednesday, Kathleen drove us all into Minneapolis and we met her brother and sister-in-law at the Walker Art Museum. As a hands-on exhibit, artists had created a miniature golf course outside the museum, and we all enjoyed a rousing nine holes. All except for Kate, who had her hands full with Gypsy and her never-ending flow of admirers.
We followed the golf game with a visit to the art museum, which is well known for its contemporary art exhibits. I prefer more classic art myself, but the large, colorful, and sometimes puzzling art pieces were fun to peruse, even if not all of them were exactly appropriate for a seven-year-old.
It was hot that day, and after the museum, we picked up Bailey and headed to Kathleen’s other sister’s house for some pool time. Maddie, Matt and I hit the water immediately, and Bailey joined us for a few laps. I loved watching Matt play with Madison. He’s such a sweet, playful, patient uncle. Great-aunt Barb joined us for a bit, but Kathleen and Kate preferred the deck, and Kate had her hands full fending off Barb and Jim’s retriever, Cleo, who wanted nothing more than to adopt little Gypsy as her own.
Once a week or so, we need a day to collect ourselves. On Thursday while Kathleen, Matt and Maddie visited Kathleen’s parents and other sister, Trish, Kate and I took advantage of Joanne’s washing machine and grabbed the opportunity to shop at our favorite store, Trader Joe’s. We gave Bessie a good cleaning, stocked up her kitchen, and got out the maps to figure out our next destination.