The Seasons Going Round

The Seasons Going Round

To borrow a phrase from a song I love- we can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came….

It has been a week for many looks.

Years ago, Steve took a Maui ocean walk, and returned with a time share-  I mean interval ownership- in the Starwood Villas there.  I said no.


And here we are, using that investment to invest in family. Now I am an official Yes.

Ten Dahls have migrated to the Scottsdale Starwood Villas (Maui is too far for our tots) to tighten the knot of family.  Desert Dahls. T Shirts bearing that moniker will be modeled tonight in a ritual that humiliates Steve. It also imbues some poor waiter with the responsibility of capturing the one moment we coexist in Arizona space and time.

The family Steve came from loved adventurous vacations.  Not mine.

The Joliats first ventured on a vacation the summer I was 13. Imagine, if you will, 8 of us stuffed into a station wagon, car top carrier overloaded, heading from Detroit to the Northern Michigan area. There were cheap motels,like Vince’s, where Mom’s Lysol can was emptied to abate the mold. We crowded into two rooms, overstuffed with humanity.

Everywhere we went, some worker would slap a bumper sticker on Dad’s fender. All of them announced to the world that we were budgeteers, visiting stalagmites when others were riding horse drawn carriages on Mackinac Island.  We were the ferrying, daytripping, walk around vacationers on the Island.  We split a box of fudge and headed back to the motel.  We were not there long enough too acclimate to horse poo aromatics.

All along the way, the six of us fought. We were tired, musty, crowded and almost constantly hungry.

Dad had not taken into account that Northern Michigan was still very cold in early June.  We were not prepared for the gigantic black flies that swarmed everywhere in the UP.  We were not impressed with waterfalls, gigantic crosses or iron ore mines.  When we headed back over the bridge to the Mitten, we lowered our goals from attractions to a pool.  In Traverse City, we dunked each other and fought some more.

Later tours took us to Niagara Falls where we took turns being terrified at the wax museum. (who goes to  a wax museum in Ontario?) Dad stayed back as we traveled on Maid of  the Mist, and he managed to capture the police fishing a suicide victim out of the drink.  It is still part of our 8mm home movies.

It was no small wonder that Dad took a second mortgage on the family home and installed a pool shortly thereafter. We became the original staycationers.

This notion is continued by the Desert Dahls. We plant ourselves in our desert condo, eschew big plans, never expect unanimous attendance. We take turns babysitting.  The “villas” have a kitchen, washing machines, cribs and tvs galore.  There are blenders and toasters.  Balconies too. There is golf if we wished (no) pools (yes) and an adjacent ritzy Westin hotel whose hautiness we can poach via their pools and workout rooms.   They have a bagpiper at dusk.  No Joliat vacation ever featured kilts.  But with the amenities, it is like home.

In watching Henry’s daring mastery of the slides, Mary’s first carrots, Matt and Justine’s new, budding marriage I have tip-toed back to our first vacations as the young Steve Dahl family.Undeterred by Joliat memories, we hit Glen Arbor and climbed dunes during a Matt pregnancy. Mike refused to walk. We dragged the kids to Florida and  checked into a condo where all three boys commenced  a week of desperate flu.

Vacation is a relocation of routines, and the potential for catastrophe simmers under every moment. We have avoided catastrophe.


That being said, we have mastered the 45 minute Early Bird special.  No meal has been eaten without solo excursions with Baby Mary and Henry. Our family time is like a carousel, with players stepping on and off. With naps, kid meals, diversionary forays..our little clot of humanity ebbs and flows.

We have divided and conquered. More memories to come….

I will post up my vacation tips and highlights but I need to get my Granny ass into a lounge chair.  It is my last day of baby-infused paradise.  Words can wait. I need the moments that will sparkle in my memories.

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