The first weekend in August

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The first weekend in August is normally an important one for me. It’s the weekend that we drive over to Saugatuck and spend a day or two with my family. Kind of a mini, unofficial family reunion of sorts. I think we’ve done this for the past 5 years or so – always on the first weekend in August.

My mom has 2 older sisters, Barb and Pat. Aunt Pat lives near my mom, over by Detroit. Aunt Barb and Uncle Dick live outside of Chicago. They also own a house in Saugatuck – a 2-unit where they stay in the upper apartment and rent out the bottom one to tourists or family (we don’t pay though). We went a few times when I was younger but then hadn’t for many years while my mom and Aunt Barb were estranged. Aunt Pat goes for a week every summer and for the past several years my mom has gone with her now that she and Aunt Barb are ok again. Since I live within easy driving distance (Saugatuck is about 40 minutes away) I generally bring the girls over either one or two days of the 2nd weekend that they are there – the first weekend in August. Ron sometimes comes – by a weird fluke the first weekend of August is also his own family reunion so he’ll generally go to that instead if he doesn’t have to work. This is also always been one of the two times a year that we would generally see my brother when he lived in San Francisco – he always would visit over the first weekend in August and then again at Christmas. Sometimes various cousins come as well with their families too.

So it’s always been a pretty big deal and the only time that I usually ever see my Aunt Barb and Uncle Dick (barring any weddings or baby showers that might pop up during the year). Uncle Dick has been in poor health for years – the guy is in his 80’s and has pulled through several times when the doctors held out no hope (heart issues mostly). So every year we are aware that it could be the last since nobody knows what Aunt Barb will do with the Saugatuck house after Uncle Dick passes – she doesn’t drive long distances so wouldn’t be likely to come over here herself.

My mom called me last weekend to let me know that she and Aunt Pat wouldn’t be going to Saugatuck this year – Uncle Dick is in the hospital. Apparently his kidneys failed and he is now on dialysis. I’m praying that he pulls through yet again although when I talked to Mom last night, he was back in the hospital with fluid in his lungs and a low platelet count (although not Leukemia, thank goodness). I was looking forward to seeing Becca do ‘high fives’ with him – something he loves to do with the kids and it was so cute to watch him do them with Abby and Hannah when they were toddlers. We’ve been lucky in general as a family – we haven’t had a funeral since I was around Abby and Hannah’s ages. We all expect that Uncle Dick’s will probably be the first to come – we just don’t know when.

So this weekend will be bittersweet for me. My mom is coming up today to stay for the weekend (but my brother has to work). We’re all hoping that Uncle Dick gets better and that we can do the usual family visit later in the month. I don’t know if we’ll try to do many of our usual ‘Saugatuck’ activities while mom is here or wait and hope that later in the month works out. We usually spend Saturday visiting with my aunts and uncle, then Mom, Donnie the girls and I take the ferry across the river from the house to town and walk around downtown Saugatuck for a couple of hours – visiting the shops, playing in the park. Saugatuck is a wonderful place, full of art galleries, all kinds of shops and great eating. We usually get ice cream and walk along the riverfront looking at all of the big yachts and boats. Later on in the afternoon, we head to the beach and play in the sand and water until late. Then back to the house for a late dinner and (for me and the girls) home. If we come back on Sunday, we usually go blueberry picking.

We’ll definitely try to head over to Lake MI tomorrow and hit a beach – I’m just not sure which one. The girls always love to go to the ‘big beach’. Other than that… we’ll see, I guess.

Here are some photos of past Saugatuck visits…

Uncle Dick sitting with Donnie and Hannah on the couch last year:

Ron, Donnie and Mom walking with the girls down to the ferry dock last year:

The ferry:

The girls and I on the ferry in 2005:

Uncle Donnie pushing Abby and Hannah on the swings at the park last year:

Uncle Donnie with Abby and Hannah in the gazebo last year:

Donnie eating ice cream with Abby and Hannah in 2005:

Abby helping the ferry operator hand crank the chain ferry back across the river last year:

Becca at the beach last year:

Mom and the girls in the water last year:

Hannah at the beach in 2005:

Ron and the girls making a sand castle in 2005:

Abby and Hannah – very tired out after the beach in 2005!:

My cousin Jim’s daughter, Kelly, chasing Abby and Hannah through Aunt Barb and Uncle Dick’s part of the house in 2004:

Aunt Pat, Aunt Barb and Mom in the bottom apartment in 2004 (gotta love the 70’s decor! LOL):

The house! I love how it’s so hidden back in the trees – you can hardly see it from the road:

Ron, Me, Mom, Donnie in 2004:

Aunt Barb, Aunt Pat, Mom, Donnie, Cousin Karen (Pat’s daughter), Tracy (Cousin Jim’s wife) and Cousin Jim (Aunt Barb and Uncle Dick’s son) in 2004:

Hannah picking blueberries in 2004 (wow does she look like Becca does now!):

And if you made it this far, I am completely amazed! 🙂