Whine and Dine

I just dropped my parents off at the airport after a weeklong visit. It’s always a bittersweet feeling; on the one hand, it’s nice to have our routine back (and I’ve missed driving my car). But the house feels so quiet and empty afterward for those first 24 hours. Having that freedom you take for granted 350+ days of the year is a novelty again for a little while. I always have an overwhelming urge to tear off my clothes and dance around the house while blasting AC/DC at volume level one million, pausing briefly to juggle a few kitchen knives just because

…but in reality, I’m sure we’ll continue our “Parks & Recreation” binge marathon that has been on hold the past week before heading to bed at a decent hour because we are both responsible adults.

My folks will be back in six weeks, so there’s no need to wallow in sorrow or anything. It looks like my uncle and aunt from New Jersey will also be here. They’d long ago booked an Airbnb for the family reunion that won’t be, so we’ll be having a scaled-down mini reunion instead.

It’s safe to say my parents enjoyed their visit. They kept commenting on how different things are here in western South Dakota vs. the Pacific Northwest, and said this was the closest to normal they’ve felt in months. Like, the virus is in the news here, but it doesn’t dominate the headlines. We don’t have protesters trying to set fire to buildings every night and ravaging downtown for months on end. Restaurants are open for dine-in and Little League games are taking place. People wear masks, but not everybody, everywhere, every time. And we don’t have a shit ton of cases. It’s always felt like we live in a bubble here. We’ll see if that continues after the Sturgis Rally, which is less than two weeks away. I personally wish they’d cancelled it, but shockingly nobody asked me for my opinion.

The nerve of ’em.

The theme for this visit, if we were choosing one, would be wine. There was wine with happy hour, trips to two separate wineries, and we wined a lot about the heat. We didn’t get a chance to hit the water on the Walleye Cleaver (trying that on for size), but we drove my folks on the bumpy backroads to the ghost town of Mystic and the not-quite-a-ghost-town of Rochford (population: 8). Also visited the Center of the Nation monument and Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche. And played tons of corn hole. I’ve gotten a lot better since last summer, when I couldn’t beat my dad worth shit. Monday was Tara’s birthday, so we surprised her with a birthday donut cake from Jerry’s—a family tradition dating back to my youth. There was plenty of good food, too—some of it on the grill, some in the oven, and one Chinese delivery. Despite the heat, we sat out on the patio every evening until twilight. There wasn’t a drop of rain the entire time (but that’s about to change, so…good timing!).

All in all, a very nice visit. One week sounds like a long time, but it flew by. Isn’t that always the case?

OK, gotta head to the office now!

25 thoughts on “Whine and Dine

  1. A giant doughnut cake?! Nice. My family does a tower of doughnuts and sings “Happy Birthday,” at breakfast.

    It is hard to relax when you have guests, even when the guests are easy family members. Actually, since the Pandemic started, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been alone in the house. I miss it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That looks like a fabulous time, glad you all enjoyed it.
    Someday we’re going to make it out your way and explore…. although my husband already has that old washing machine in the 5th picture so at least we won’t have to worry about lugging that back home.
    And we’re much the same as you, Covid is an issue, but our infection and spread rates are very low thanks to most towns mandating masks. Sturgis will be a nightmare….what the hell are they thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We have 2 bikes and have been to numerous rallies….. (although never Sturgis because my butt isn’t calloused enough for that haul) … and I can say with absolute certainty you will be experiencing a massive Covid outbreak 3 weeks after it’s done. Be careful!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The visit sounds like it went well. I could go for a little old-time normal in my life, so I appreciate what your parents had to say about where you live. Always nice to read something nice, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “The theme for this visit, if we were choosing one, would be wine.”
    THAT, my friend, is the best theme for a visit. It seems you made the most of your time together. Please share happy belated b’day wished to Tara.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark, so great to hear that your folks had a great time while visiting. I knew they would! And yes, I’m sure it was such a different vibe being there compared to Pacific Northwest; especially when it comes to the virus. You are so blessed to be living in an area where you only have a small amount of cases and no protesters.

    GREAT selection of photos! Love the face in holes!! And that photo of the cheese platter and wine looks heavenly.

    Thanks so much for sharing your weekend, my friend! And please tell Tara I said, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you’d appreciate the wine and cheese, Ron! I have passed along your wishes to Tara. She appreciates that. Hope you have a wonderful second half of your week!


  6. Omg on the PNW right now. COVID dominates the news, so I don’t know if everyone is even aware of how bad the rioting has become out there right now. Glad you have a nice time with fam and wine!

    Liked by 1 person

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