Saturday, June 20, 2015

It's all about space: our third trip to Michigan and family gatherings

Time and space plays amazing tricks on us, or at least on me. It was only a week ago this past Thursday that we left Providence on our third road trip to Michigan this spring, hauling more stuff out west, including a university laptop to help expedite my working remotely.

Yet it seems as if we've been here in Grand Rapids for weeks -- in that short space of time so much has happened.

Chuck Peterson, a close acquaintance from our Grand Rapids years in the early 1990s and the man who showed me how to use a video camera, passed away just before we returned from Rhode Island. I had the good fortune of reconnecting with him on several occasions on previous trips this year so for that I'm grateful. He was far too young and still way too funny to be taken so soon.

The very day we arrived in Grand Rapids we looked at a condo in the same complex where my mother-in-law lives, and it seems we have found our new home. Of course, that decision started the rather demanding process of purchasing a new home while contemplating the changes to be made as well. Lots to be done still, to be sure.

We also joined and subsequently visited Meijers Gardens and Sculpture Park, just a short walk from where we'll be living. Susie even signed up as a volunteer. (I just posted again on those incredible horticultural and sculptural spaces.)

Just two days after we returned to Grand Rapids the Bergman clan arrived in Michigan to spend a week together at a friend's cottage on Gun Lake, about a 45-minute drive south of the city: Carl Bergman driving the Parker contingent from Alabama, Rachel and Steve Engels from California, Joyce Bergman and Jonathan and Naomi Bergman from the greater Bangor, Maine, area. Naturally the grandkids wanted to see their grandmother -- and so they all came over to Grandmother Bernice's house for dinner last Saturday evening. Steve Schaap brought his son, and my nephew, Benjamin for the family dinner and to let Ben visit with  cousins he hasn't seen in some years.

It was a wonderful evening, a warm gathering of family, everyone catching up on the recent news and future events (two children on their way).

Grandma Bernice, Carl, Susie and Steve Schaap
You can see why we moved here: Bernice's smile
Adeline Bergman

Susie and Rachel

Mother and daughter: Joyce and Bernice
The  following day, Sunday, was Father's Day. Bernice, her two daughters and I drove to Woodlawn Cemetery to pay respects to Tunis VandenBerg, Joyce and Susan's dad.

Bernice, Joyce and Susie

From Woodlawn Cemetery we drove straight south on Kalamazoo, turned east onto 84th street and made our way to Patterson avenue where we turned south into Allegan County, heading for Gun Lake and some fun in the sun.

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