Grandma and Grandpa settled in Walla Walla when my dad was little and they raised their four children in the same house in which they are still living. I remember many wonderful summers visiting them in the country, and wanted to pass some of that onto my children. When I was a child, we spent hours playing in the creek catching crawdads with the cousins, finding clams, daydreaming in the lazy afternoon sun on the wooden bridge, swinging from the weeping willow branches, playing with the wooden handcart, and having huge water fights with my uncles. Grandpa would give us rides on his tractor and we'd help Grandma pick fresh vegetables and berries from the garden. From a child's perspective it was pretty idyllic. As an adult I'm a little more aware of the behind the scenes work, everything from packing, driving, unpacking, general pickup, all of the cooking and preparation Grandma does, the watching and preventing of small children from drowning in the creek or spring or getting smashed in the road, well, it's a lot more work vacationing as an adult than as a kid! Still, it is more than worth it to spend time with family.
After playing in the creek, Melissa saw the sprinkler watering the lawn and decided to cool off. Corinna thought that looked like fine idea and joined her.
Cousin Tad kindly offered to take Matthew fishing in the creek. Matthew has been dying to go fishing all summer. Nearly every day he's nagged us, his beleaguered parents, "When are we going fishing? Huh? Huh?" So THANK YOU Tad. He and Matthew went into the horse pasture and spent about an hour fishing. He showed Matthew some new techniques and the two of them talked fish.
Tad left a fishing pole behind so Matthew could go fishing the next day. First thing the next morning before anyone else got up, Matthew went fishing. He caught a small trout but encountered trouble in unhooking it. Not long after a neighbor lady, Sandy, walked past, and he asked for her help in unhooking the fish. She obliged but by then the fish had died. Still he and she chatted and he proudly showed off the worms that he and Melissa had dug up the night before. Sandy mentioned that she had a robin that she liked to feed in her front yard and Matthew gave her his fish for the bird. Later, to show his gratitude for her help, Matthew dug up some more worms for Sandy's robin and gave them to her.
Amber and Aunt Candy joined us for the trip and we really enjoyed having them with us. Matthew and Melissa had a lot of fun at the museum. Isaac and Corinna, on the other hand, petered out early. "I go hooome," moaned Isaac and Corinna echoed his complaints with baby hoots, so Jonathan took them to play McDonalds. While the little ones were gone, Matthew and Melissa explored the old restored shops, houses, and school, admired the 150 year old dresses, hats, and jewelry (Melissa), uniforms and guns (Matthew), and they both liked the "I spy" portion in which they found various objects in the display scenes. They also got a history lesson on wheat farming and walked away with a better appreciation for the hot, dirty, hard job it was back in the day. Hopefully some of the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition stuck in their heads too.
While there, we had a cousin game night. Amy and Aubrey just cleaned up with Set. Aunt Candy, Amber and I mainly provided the, uh, stimulating conversation while those two smoked us. After that I taught them Dominion and we played a round, which was fun too. It was great seeing my cousins again and I hope to have another game night soon. Thanks ladies! Maybe an online rematch? Anyone?
Uncle Dan took a look at the car for us, "Your folks still have that piece of junk? And it still runs? I wouldn't trust it driving around town!" He saw to it that we could make it back safely. Unfortunately it still leaks, but we have a coolant/water solution for when it gets low. We weren't the only ones with car trouble though. Grandma and Grandpa took our family out to dinner our last night in Walla Walla. Afterward we drove home and waited for them to join us. And waited. And waited. Alarmed, Jonathan took the van back to see what the problem might be. When he got back to the restaurant he discovered that their car battery had died, and in the pouring rain no less. Poor Grandma and Grandpa! All in all I was relieved though, since I was worried it was much worse. Eventually everyone got home safe and sound.
At 83 years young, Grandpa is still game for a tractor ride, much to the kids' delight!