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Summer Means…

By July 5, 2021Pilates In Holland

We hope you all enjoyed a safe and happy Fourth of July! These long days and nights are a treasure trove of rituals and traditions. Below are some ways our Pilates in Holland staff enjoy the summer and the 4th!

My family’s main summer tradition was to go camping together. We mainly stayed in Michigan but camped all over the state – including the upper peninsula. We did a variety of things on our camping trips – hiking, canoeing, biking around Mackinaw Island, and just enjoying making smores over the campfire. One of my best memories from these trips, however, is that my Dad and I always got up earlier than everyone else and would go for an early walk together through the campground. It’s something my Dad and I still do when I go camping with my Mom and him so it’s a tradition that continues to this day.

Nearly every Sunday evening in the summer my family can be found picnicking along the channel at Holland State Park. This tradition started decades ago with my husband’s family, and several of us have continued it. The picnics are very simple, no fancy grilling, just sandwiches, maybe fresh fruits and veggies from Farmer’s Market. We love the Lake Michigan shoreline, watching sunsets, swimming in the lake, jumping waves, and walking the pier (carefully).  Those evenings feel like mini-vacations, so relaxing and precious…and often end with a stop at Captain Sundae for a little ice cream treat.

Our favorite fourth of July tradition is the Idlewood Beach Fourth of July parade. Uncle Sam leads the procession through the neighborhood of decorated golf carts, bikes, cars, dogs, and people throwing candy at the watchers gathered in their driveways. Sometimes we even have an Ottawa County sheriff car participating. Since we are also a summer vacation spot, everyone has family over and it is probably the busiest day in our little corner with every house and cottage occupied. Our family comes for the parade, usually participates, and then we all have brunch and play with sparklers.

One of my most favorite summer traditions growing up was going to Myrtle Beach every summer with my mom’s side of the family. From Ohio to Maryland to Florida, we’d all make our way to our rented house on the beach to begin a week of great fun and laughter. Playing in the big waves with my cousins, card games at night with Grandma B, and sleeping on cots all bunched together in one room are the memories I cherish the most.

Friday Beach Day! As I think about summer traditions I always go back to the kids and cousin friends. Our standing Friday beach date was a summer tradition for years when the kids were little. I taught a half-day and just got to be with them, all of you, and the water. I tear up a bit thinking back about this. It was very important to us.

My favorite summer pastime was camping out at the state park, beachside, of course,  listening to oldies but goodies on the boombox.  My Dad would call it his beachfront property. 🙂

I am a summer baby and it is my favorite season of the year. The Fourth of July is a little over a week before my birthday, and only 4 days before my sister’s, so it’s always been a week of celebrations. And I LOVE fireworks. I know that’s not very PC of me to say anymore, but I have a deep fondness for the colors, the booming in your chest, the Sousa playing in the background, even the smell of the fireworks. And most years find us with family, eating all the typical barbecues, casseroles, and red, white, and blue cakes. I love it!

In all of my 50 years, I have only been away from my family at the lake house (in Wisconsin) on the 4th of July three times. And that’s three times too many!

Even more important than Christmas to me is being with my family at the lake for the 4th. We do all the things you’d expect;  we grill out all week, we ride in circles around the lake for hours on Big Finn (our pontoon boat), swim, paddleboard, go to bed early, and we of course we make s’mores. On the fourth, we pile in the boat when it gets dark with popcorn and blankets and we ride out to the middle of the lake with everyone else. Cut the engine, anchor, and watch all the fireworks around us. Everyone honks their horns for the really good ones, and you can hear all the oohs and ahhs of everyone. I have done this my entire life, there is no place I’d rather be, not even Italy, Brazil, or Seattle (those three missed years). My dad passed in 2012 and it’s still strange that he isn’t there at the helm, but perhaps this tradition is even more important to me without him.

Author Renee

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