I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” But what about a banana a day? My friend, Carol, was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have a banana while we were on the forest covered path to Sunset Beach in Door County, Wisconsin. She said, “I wish I had a banana. It helps me sleep and helps fill my stomach when I’m hungry, like now.” The six of us continued up the path with the anticipation of seeing a spectacular sunset on Lake Michigan. Visitors to the park had already begun setting up their professional cameras and I phones. Chris, Carol’s husband, said, “Look, there’s a banana over there.” He passed it up since it was in the dirt, but I picked it up and rubbed it clean. “Carol, look it’s ‘Manna from Heaven’! It looks good,” I said while peeling it. Her expression needed no words. She was surprised to see a banana, but tentative about eating it. She said, “Sue, you take the first bite.” When I didn’t pass out or feign illness, she gleefully chumped down the tasty fruit. As we joined the group of about 50 people at the park, I excitingly told the story about ‘Manna from Heaven’ in the ear shot of a woman sitting on a rock nearby. She kiddingly said, “That was MY banana.” We all laughed and had such a good time while continuing to watch the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen. Pink and purple hues streaked the sky as the sun peeked in and out among the clouds making its way until it disappeared from our view. In the past, every one would clap because a sunset at the beach was the best show in town. We made our way to a local restaurant with stomachs growling, but happy to have had not ‘Manna from Heaven’ but a banana from Door.
I often pinch myself while thanking God for putting us in such a wonderful spot. We are three blocks from the Fox River and right across the street from Barrington Hills. I was like the Proverbs 31 woman in the late 70’s looking for a lot to build our first home. I made it to Algonquin on Route 31 and saw a real estate building. I stopped in and they took me up North River road to a vacant lot that slopped down. It was on a dirt road. The woman selling the lot was in her 90’s and was selling it dirt cheap. When I told my lawyer brother about it, he said, “Is it under water?” So with his help, we bought the lot and after two years put up a wonderful house. Little did we know at that time how strategic it would be to our future jobs and how close it was to enjoying our favorite sport, biking and hiking through Barrington Hills, just across the street. Yesterday, I hopped on my bike and 15 minutes into my ride came across a field of sunflowers. I stopped and pulled my bike over and met a couple who had traveled a distance to see this field they learned about on google. The flowers filled the field as far as the eye could see.
I took pictures of the married couple who had a bouquet they picked for their daughter and they took my picture. I recommended they have coffee at Ambrosia in Barrington Hills. The owner, Debbie, is a friend and they have delicious coffee with whip cream and a free refill plus they have wonderful award winning french pastry.
The moral of the story—–hop on a bike or take a hike and wonderful things will be in store for you. Enjoy the end of summer and take time to smell and be engulfed by flowers. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the the skies declare his handiwork. Day after day they pour forth speech.” Psalm 19:1- Make this your day!
After we finish the Hilly Hundred Bike Ride near Bloomington, Indiana, we reward ourselves by spending a night or two at Brown County State Park. This nationally known 15,776 acre facility is a jewel in the Midwest. October is one of the best months to visit because of the beautiful foliage color change. The park is open all year round offering an abundance of activities including 18 miles of easy to rugged hiking, 20 miles of mountain biking, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, horse-back riding and the beautiful rustic Abe Martin Lodge which has 84 lodge rooms.
Our first morning, we had breakfast at the lodge which is located in a beautiful rustic setting. It’s a lovely place to have a reasonably priced, excellent buffet while being surrounded by nature at its best—flowers, birds, deer and a variety of colorful trees.
Camping is available year-round, and the lodge is available for all. In the past, we have stayed at one of their family cabins near the lodge which includes sleeping for 8, a complete kitchen equipped with all the cooking utensils and linens.
If you want to feel like you are visiting Appalachia, step into the nearby town of Nashville, IN. It is a shoppers’ delight with a variety of stores and restaurants. Get a carriage ride through town if you prefer.
Then return to Brown County State Park to experience the beauty and solitude of nature. If you live in the Chicago area as we do, the distance from the city to Door County or to Brown County is about the same—5 hours give or take. Of course, it could be up to 10 degrees warmer in Nashville, IN. This has been part of www.lifewithlarry.org/travels for years now. Take time to enjoy the beauty of God’s wonderful creation. For more information, see the following:
Brown County State Park Online: dnr.IN.gov or call 812-988-6406.
“Life is not measured by the breaths we take; but rather by the moments that took our breath away.”
As I was walking through the field house at Northern Illinois University, I felt a large, warm hand on my neck. It was Larry who I had recently begun dating. There was something about his touch that was protective and secure. I turned around and looked up into his beautiful eyes. He walked me to my dorm and pretended to slip and slide on the icy terrain bumping into me and causing me to laugh heartily. Three years later, I began my ‘Life with Larry’. Our almost 47 year marriage has been filled with humor and adventure. Practical jokes abound. Each night I get up around 2 AM. Just before I rest my head down, my pillow may often go sailing down the hallway. I get even by filling his pillowcase with shoes and other odds and ends.
Our marriage is far from boring. Larry is my trailblazer setting us off on one adventure after another. Our partnership has included a tandem kayak and a tandem bicycle. We have a deep love that conquers all. That love has grown by serving one another, by putting one another above ourselves and by forgetting who is right or wrong in matters. We try to follow what the Bible says. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Many times we just agree to disagree. We can both be very stubborn. But the Bible continues to be our source for guidance because it never changes unlike the latest counseling advice. Laughter fills our home and we miss one another when we are apart. “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle