Back from four days in Wisconsin, celebrating my parents' 50th anniversary. The actual date is August 30th, but because the grandkids would've been in school then, they moved it up to June. Overall, it was an informal affair, held at a hotel just west of Milwaukee that had a nice big water park. If you've been following the news, much of the southern part of the state is a water park, like it or not. Anyway, it was nice. Dinner wasn't too formal, everyone had a beverage or two, and then we winged it back to Vegas.
I think it would be a safe bet to say we were the only ones on the plane that weren't flying out for vacation. Most of the passengers were in wonderful, playful moods: decidedly different from when we take the flight from Las Vegas to Milwaukee. Those are the flights where you know there are more than a few couples that are going to have to explain to their children why they don't have any money saved up for their education anymore. You can also tell a Wisconsin flight by 1) the heavy size of the average passenger, 2) half are wearing items identified with Wisconsin, such as Packers t-shirts or caps, and 3) most are wearing glasses. I'm guessing a high-fat diet leads to diminishing vision. If not for the fact that I've had laser surgery, I would've been sporting specs, myself.
My appreciation for what Wisconsin offers grows with each visit, even when that visit comes in winter. If Las Vegas is an oasis in the desert, Wisconsin is an isle of calm in a sea of madness. I find myself going back there twice a year now, and we're always doing something new. Growing up there, I really didn't do very much of what was available to me, like go to the museums, beach, fairs, and parks that dominate the area. My mind was more on getting out of there and getting to someplace warm. In finding someplace warm, I'm discovering I need to shuffle up my priorities, because being warm all the time isn't all I thought it was cracked up to be. I've been too hot and I've been too cold. It's a wash.
I'm struck when I go back as to the number of people that have called Wisconsin home for their entire lives, and take great pride in that fact. My parents are two of them. My mom says she could never imagine leaving. I think it's true that we're never where we truly want to be, but Wisconsin seems to be the exception to that rule. The girl who checked us in at the airport was surprised to hear that we wished we were staying in Milwaukee instead of going to Las Vegas. Reminded me of how I used to be. Poor, sweet thing.
On the down side, if I lived in Wisconsin, I'm sure I'd eat my way to an angioplasty within five years, but I'd accomplish that doing something I love.