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My cousin Tim and his beautiful bride Wesleigh. Both are track legends at Black Hills State University in South Dakota.
Wesleigh’s son Kaden and my cousin Katie’s daughter, Lillian, were adorable as ring bearer and flower girl.
My talented cousin Andy arranged the music for the wedding and played trumpet while also serving as a groomsman.
The tables at the reception carried a special tribute to Uncle Roger, who used to throw Hershey’s Kisses to students who answered questions correctly in his classes.
Our family with Aunt Gem before the wedding.
Mom with Joyce, Uncle Roger’s friend and fellow Cardinals fan from Bethany College.
The wedding was in my cousins’ hometown of Lindsborg, Kansas, known as Little Sweeden USA. There are Dala horses like this everywhere, and many of the homes have the family name painted on a Dala horse sign hanging from the porch.
Aunt Gem treated us to an amazing brunch the morning after the wedding at the Sweedish Crown (Sweedish crepe-pancakes with Lingonberry jam, yummmm!) It was great to see all the Bishop cousins together (including Tim!) and we got to be there when my cousin Katie announced some very exciting news to the family: Baby #2 is due on New Year’s Eve!
Before leaving Lindsborg, we visited Aunt Gem’s beautiful home. Here are a few of her St. Louis Cardinals treasures, including a replica of Uncle Roger’s brick.
We spent the night at Katie’s house where we had a blast with her daughter Lillian.
Dr. Lillian informs Matt he has marshmallows and macaroni in his ears.
Where’s Waldo, Disney Princess style
Princess Tangled is a pretty good dancer!
Katie and Travis spoiled us with a delicious taco dinner and homemade strawberry shortcake desert! I’ve never tasted anything so amazing.
The photo is of my mom with her brother Roger (Katie’s dad) as kids.
Mom was determined not to leave Indiana without a pork loin sandwich, a local fast food staple she remembered from her college days. We didn’t have a chance to stop in Indiana, but did manage to find one at this Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant in Ohio.
On the morning of my 28th birthday, we broke out ToastTite, a grilled sandwich pocket maker from my mom’s childhood. This one was filled with eggs, bacon, jack cheese and salsa. Yum!
By our final morning, we were pros at packing the car. Total miles traveled: 4,015. Total gas cost: $351.38.
Lessons learned on this trip: The long way is actually shorter, “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, Buffalo buffalo” is actually a grammatically and semantically correct sentence, Kansas is windy, Colorado is beautiful, four people can comfortably live 11 days in a Prius, and despite what they say, no matter how long you stay away, you really can go home again.
When my mom was a girl, one of her family’s favorite road trip destinations was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. They would stay in cabins for weeks at a time and go on challenging day hikes and ranger-led nature programs. In one famous story, a ranger showing them Lake Haiyaha kidded the group that “If any of you aren’t hungry yet, you might want to take a little hike around the lake before lunch.” Mom and her family missed the sarcasm and set off for a hike that had them scrambling over boulders for the next twelve hours!
Despite such stories, the Bishops loved the mountains, and none more so than my mom’s mother, Opal. Grandma Opal, Mom says, used to say you could tell which states were the good ones just by listening to the names. “Kaaansas,” she would say with a nasal accent. “Nebraaaska.” Then she would sing out, “Col-a-rado! Col-a-rado!” And it’s true — the views out our window in Colorado were a universe away from the flat, monotonous scenery we drove through in most of the Midwest. Mom says there are beach people and there are mountain people and she is definitely a mountain person. There’s no question about it: I’m a mountain person, too.
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The views as we drove west from Denver to our campsite in the Rocky Mountains were worth the trip in themselves.
I love mountains.
It was like we were in a painting.
Our campsite at Arapaho Bay Campground on Lake Granby was equally breathtaking. We had intended to visit Rocky Mountain National Park (where all the campsites were booked), but this spot, part of the Arapaho National Forest, was so perfect we ended up spending our Rocky Mountains day hiking, swimming and relaxing right where we camped.
The view from our campsite. When we reserved our site, I was disappointed that all of the campsites that appeared to be “on the water” were reserved. When we got there, it turned out we had the best spot — spacious, private, and with a great view overlooking the water.
As we arrived at our campsite, Matt pointed out the car window at a mountain peak and wondered how long it would take to climb it. Mom and Dad laughed and said it was much bigger and farther away than it looked and would probably take five hours just to hike to the base of it. Matt didn’t believe them, and the next morning, after lots of warnings about rock slides and getting lost, outfitted with a mirror for signaling, he set out to try it. Half an hour later, he called to say he was on his way up the mountain, and sure enough, Dad spotted him with his binoculars about a quarter of the way up. Two hours after he left, he was at the top of the mountain, having basically climbed straight up, free-climbing in places. On his cell phone talking to Dad, he wondered out loud if a helicopter would come pick him up if he told them he was dehydrated. But he hung in there and made it down in another hour with great photos and a rock souvenir.
Matt sent me this photo he took from the top of the mountain looking down at Lake Granby.
While Matt was summiting his mountain, I went for a run on the trails, going partly up one side of a mountain and then back down to run along the beach and cool off with a dip in the icy lake.
This was the lake near our campsite where we swam. It was chilly with the wind blowing, but beautiful to be out in the middle of that clear, blue water with fluffy clouds overhead and mountains surrounding you in all directions — nearby, green hills on two sides and big snow capped peaks on the others.
We cooked foil packet dinners our first night at the campsite and fish the second night.
Doesn’t Mom and Dad’s bed look cozy?
We were at our campsite in the Rockies on the longest day of the year, which also happened to fall during a brilliant full moon. We barely needed headlamps.
- The Beautiful Rockies (theresamclark.wordpress.com)
After leaving St. Louis, we continued west on the path of US 40/I-70 across Missouri and Kansas to Aurora, Colorado (near Denver), my first home and a place of which I have a total of zero memories. The place felt foreign to my parents as well, having grown dramatically in the 27 years since they had been there, but as they hunted down the places where they lived, the grocery stores where they shopped, the paths my Mom walked with me in a carrier as a baby, I was gradually able to attach images to the places in the oft-repeated stories and also glean background about their early life together that I had never known before. Click the photo thumbnails to come along for the tour.
This is the famed Rosecrantz Apartments, where my mom and dad first lived in when they were married. They lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with my brother Chris. Kids were not allowed, but the owner decided Chris, then about 12, counted as an adult. When telling me this, Mom and Dad both cracked up and Mom asked, “Are you thinking about what I’m thinking about?” Apparently while they lived there my mom’s brother and his wife came to visit with their four kids, and the owner walked in to find five kids and four adults in an apartment meant for one person. The kids camped out on the balcony.
We were able to go inside the apartments (the door, marked with a sign saying “please close the door for security” was ajar, so we ventured upstairs and found the door to their old apartment also ajar. Here Mom is explaining how Dad built a partition complete with doors to divide the apartment into additional rooms. Mr. Rosecrantz came in one day to find the apartment unrecognizable, must have been thinking “well, there’s one security deposit I’ll get to keep.” But he didn’t know my dad — when they moved out, everything was restored to exactly the way it was when they moved in.
Here, Mom and Dad are standing in the parking lot of their first apartment, and the building behind them across the street is the church where they were married. The day of their wedding, they were both very sick, and they walked across the street for a simple wedding attended only by Chris and a work colleague of Dad’s who had agreed to serve as a witness.
This is the hospital in Denver where I was born.
Because Rosecrantz didn’t allow kids, my parents moved to this nearby apartment complex shortly before I was born.
I believe there is a photo somewhere of me as a baby on this same stoop. The story goes that I, not quite 1, said “hi” (my first word) to neighbors passing by.