I traveled down the western coast of Michigan, stopping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to watch the climbers of all ages taking two sandy steps forward and sliding back three as they made their way to a view of Lake Michigan, then running or rolling back down again. Ah memories – further down Michigan’s mitten that included a lot of dune buggy rides and hiking over the years. A storm drenched the tent fly at Ludington State Park but my gear received nary a drop. RV neighbors asked how I had fared the night, then offered me a cup of coffee. I eventually asked these new acquaintances where they were from – Dowagiac, where I grew up.
With eight widowed sisters-in-law in Michigan, the rest of my 3½-week visit included stays and visits with each of them, as well as breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with high school chums, Presbyterian church friends, plus friends, neighbors in general, and I even got to pick fresh Michigan cherries on my late father-in-law’s farm. Sis Vivian was subjected to a 16-day stay but was gracious enough to say she missed me when I left. It was great to see everyone and catch up on their news and activities. I often found myself listening rather than talking and that was my privilege. One-sided conversations were enjoyed with three of four late brothers (4th bro and another sis-in-law are buried in AZ) and a lengthier conversation with my late husband, Jack. We always have a lot to talk about.
I gave two talks on Alaska, one for a South Bend Lions Club and another for my home church. They were all gracious in listening and I had fun telling my stories (and selling books).
Each time I leave these people all of whom I love dearly, my heart aches. I do not know if I will see them again. They are getting on in years as am I and Arizona is a long ways away. That is just the way it is. God Bless until next time.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”