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Enjoying the important things together
Em and Chasca
EM AND CHASCA take a minute to relax from the busy pace at their new ‘Hillbilly Homestead’ near Rising Sun. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that the most important thing is your loved ones.

RISING SUN - There is this episode of ‘The Simpson’s’ that spoofs ‘The Shining.’ And in it, they tackle the famous all-work-and-no-play bit. 

However, instead of being a dull boy, Homer Simpson recites “All work and no play makes Homer go something, something.”

His wife Marge answers “Go crazy?” 

To which her husband replies “DON’T MIND IF I DO!” 

I had kind of been feeling stuck in that mindset. I had far exceeded being simply a dull girl and had inched my way into perhaps something we could call, Corona Crazy. Symptoms include restlessness, crabbiness, general feelings of malaise and temporary amnesia that this weird thing called ‘carefree fun’ used to exist. 

Well, it wasn’t just the pandemic weighing down my sense of fun like a heavy, wet blanket. It was all the other obligations that stack up. We managed to wrap a few of those major things up and I came up for air; realizing it was August and we had not done hardly anything relaxing and definitely not anything recreational. 

So Saturday, we managed to get out of the quarantine rut and we got out of the house and went on an adventure. 

We didn’t go too far though, just up to Sidie Hollow Lake in Viroqua. We wanted to take the canoe out at least once this year and this seemed like a pretty easy option. We thought that if it all went horribly wrong and the kids hated it, well at least we could bail out quickly. 

Surprisingly though, they loved it. Especially Wayls. We often joke that Thatcher is just a mini version of me and Bop is a tiny Chasca–both in looks and personality. That really shined through as we got in the green Coleman canoe and Thatcher immediately began being a Nervous Nellie. 

“I don’t know about this dad, it’s a might bit TIPPY!” He uttered, his voice heavy with regret and reluctance. 

Waylon on the other hand plopped into the boat like a turtle sliding off a log. With a thud and a wiggle he positioned himself between his dad’s knees and proceeded to relax with his breadstick from Kwik Trip and juice box in hand. 

We paddled around a bit in the shade and watched people jump off the rope swing and turtles slide into the water. We found a rickety dock to paddle up to and decided to do a little fishing. 

“Did you see that big thumper fish? It fumped itself right into the water,” Thatcher squealed with delight. 

Even more delightful was the steady stream of people walking on the nearby path. Thatcher, you see, is a people person. He takes after both his grandpa Mark and Papa Tom with his ability to strike up a conversation with anyone he can. 

A gaggle of teenagers on their way to swim were caught in his web of conversation for quite some time. He told them about the fish he caught, that his name started with a T and that it was a “mighty fine day out today” especially for him and his “fwend bowwwwder”  (Boulder is his favorite action figure.) As they attempted to get away, he told them to “have a great day! Wear your mask and eat your food so you can get BIG MUSCLES!” 

Always the sweet and silent type, Waylon just waved and smiled. 

We casted our poles, well I should say Thatcher’s poles for he is the only one in our house with nice fishing poles anymore. And managed to catch a few tiny bass. Everyone was able to inspect and pet them before releasing them gently back into the weedy depths. 

When we decided to “set sail once more” as Thatcher called it, we paddled slowly to watch the schools of bluegill, perch, and even the biggest bass any of us had seen in a long time swim by. 

If that wasn’t enough, we even got home and prepped 10 gallons of cucumbers for pickle mania and a whole lot of lawn mowing. Evening out our fun and kinda lazy afternoon with the chores that always need to be done. 

We set out on Sunday with a long to do list that got turned into pickle making and naps. While Chasca ran to grab a few groceries with Bop, Thatcher stayed back for a little time with his ‘Sweetheart mama.’ He diligently filled my jars with the bread-and-butter pickle brine I cooked up and helped make 10 pints of the slices before deciding that simply drinking the leftover brine with a spoon was a much better job. 

All in all, it was kind of the most fun on a weekend that we’ve had in a long while. It was simple and not at all what we had originally planned. But, I guess even when the world is weird, simple pleasures still exist if we only decide to be open to experiencing them. There are a few sunny warm days left in this the summer of 2020, and I hope to enjoy them as much as we can.