Here we are at Labor Day weekend 2019. That means eight months of this year are behind us. It also means that summer is coming to a close, although temperatures here won’t reflect that for some time. Even if it’s 90 degrees, I’m still decorating my home with pumpkins and sunflowers and pretending that it is glorious autumn.
I always like to reflect on a season as it comes to an end. It doesn’t matter if it’s a literal season or a metaphorical one. I just like evaluating it. The summer of 2019 was definitely one to remember. It was a summer of exploration, music and a whole lot of time in the car.
As Labor Day is usually the marker of the end of summer, Memorial Day is used to officially mark the beginning. We started our Memorial Day weekend by exploring northwest Alabama. If you haven’t been to Ivy Green, the home of Helen Keller, you definitely need to add it to your bucket list. To consider all that Keller accomplished in spite of her disability and in a time of limited technology is amazing. You get a new perspective of a familiar name-always a good thing.
Lunch at the Rattlesnake Saloon was particularly memorable. It has been named one of the most unique places to dine in the South. Dining in a cave is a fun diversion. Thankfully, the den of rattlesnakes that was found during construction is no longer present.
Music pretty much drove our family’s summer plans. In fact, the reason we were in north Alabama was a Pentatonix concert. Then we found the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Alabamians are talented and have made their mark on American music. I am thankful that the recording studio is at the end of the tour, otherwise Tatum would have never seen the museum. For just $10, you can record one song onto a CD. You can guess how that went. She has her own mini album.
Music also took us on a New Orleans tour with Mobile’s Singing Children. You learn a whole lot leading 40 kids around in the Big Easy! I saw parts of the city that I had never seen and loved the ghost/history walking tour. The group sang in some beautiful venues including St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.
So May and June had very musical moments, but so did July. My daughter went to a performing arts camp in Medora, N.D. It was a family road trip that at the end resulted in nearly 6,000 total miles and a whole lot of singing in the car. Since Mark went with us for the first time, we took the scenic route and enjoyed every minute of it.
We enjoyed the lack of humidity and the cooler temperatures on the Great Plains. Our explorations took us to the Enchanted Highway, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, the World’s Largest Petrified Wood Park and downtown Deadwood. Those are just the highlights. I have learned that you can pack a TON of activities into a two-week period!
Tatum missed a week and a day of band camp, but got back in time to learn the half-time show and perform it in August. Mark and I missed a good bit of work and a month later, I think we are still trying to catch up on rest. Thankfully, there’s a three-day weekend coming up that I can use to rest and to further reflect on the blessings of music, family, safe travels and memories.
I hope that this weekend provides you with some time to rest and reflect and refocus on what matters most in your life. And if you have time, go find an adventure!
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Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.