30 years of marriage is an important milestone and I wanted to take Margaret somewhere to celebrate. But when we found out our daughter, Carolyn, was going to have a baby in August, all plans for a trip for two in June were put on hold. Margaret was able to spend two weeks with Carolyn in St. Louis when Lewis was born in August, and I was able to fly up for a couple of days. Both of us wanted to get back to St. Louis for more grandson time. But we also wanted to do something special to celebrate our 30 years together.
For several years I have wanted to take Margaret north in the fall to see the color change but with children in school, we’d never been able to travel in the fall. And Margaret had never been to Chicago (which is pretty close to St. Louis). So we planned a trip that would give us a few days outdoors to enjoy the fall colors, a couple of days in the city, and then a week in St. Louis to enjoy family time.
We flew into Chicago and rented a car to drive north to the shore of Lake Superior in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. We spent three nights in a cabin on the lake, which gave us two full days to explore the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness Area State Park. We were told that we had missed the peak of the color change, but compared to the color change we get in Florida, it was still beautiful. The first day we hiked a ten mile loop into the park, across the ridge in the background of the first photo, to a small lake, and then back, enjoying the variety of colors in the leaves. Then we drove around the park to an overlook tower that required just a one mile hike. The sky was clear and from the tower we could see ships out on Lake Superior.
The second day we hiked shorter trails to see some of the area’s waterfalls. With an early start, we didn’t see anyone else on the trails for a couple of hours. After a picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Superior, we hiked one more trail to see one more waterfall, then rode a ski lift to enjoy the views of the lake.
The next morning we headed south toward Chicago, hoping to find the “peak” of the color change somewhere in Wisconsin. I suppose we saw it somewhere along the highway, out past some of those massive fields of corn.
It took the full day to get to our hotel in Chicago, return the rental car to the airport, and ride the train back into the city. Rain had started to fall and continued for the next three days, so we were grateful for the clear weather we had for the days we were outdoors.
(continued in part 2)
30 year Celebration -- Chicago
The highlight of the afternoon was the Art Museum, where we stayed until it closed at 5:00 p.m. The highlight of the evening was big band jazz at a club just outside the loop (there’s not much “down time” when you travel with Margaret).
Rain continued on day two. After a quick tour of Moody Bible Institute, we spent the day hunting down some of the famous Tiffany glass domes and windows preserved in landmark buildings and exploring more of the historic buildings in the area known as “The Loop”. We ended day two with Mozart at the Lyric Opera – we were able to get a last-minute deal on some unsold tickets.
If I had to choose a place to spend a few days, I would choose the mountains, the woods, rivers or lakes – anywhere outdoors, where God’s handiwork is on display and unspoiled. But I have to admit God’s handiwork is on display in a powerful way in a city like Chicago. Music, art, architecture and the engineering required to build skyscrapers and create transportation systems that work all point to the image of God in man. What I saw in Chicago was the glory of God shining through the creativity of man.
The next morning we caught a cab to the train station to catch our train to St. Louis. From the windows of the train, Illinois looked exactly like Wisconsin – more corn fields!
(Continued in part 3 – St. Louis)
30 year Celebration -- St. Louis
RJ and Carolyn live one block off of Tower Grove Park, and the B&B faced the park. Lewis enjoys being outside, so we did a lot of walking in the park. The rain that had settled over the Midwest passed on and we had blue skies and nice fall weather the whole time we were in St. Louis.
I had the privilege of sharing the baptism of Lewis with Carolyn and RJ’s pastor. The baptismal font in their church was pretty big (lots of water) and by the time we did the baptism, that water was pretty cold! But Lewis didn’t seem to mind a bit. By the time I handed him back to Carolyn, water was dripping off his head onto the floor. After the baptism, the congregation sang the doxology, then my mom prayed for Lewis and Carolyn and RJ. The pastor finished the baptismal ceremony with an old Huguenot blessing that made the gospel very personal (“Lewis, for you God made the world. For you God became a man. For you Jesus suffered and died…” I have asked for a copy of that and will share it with you when I get it). Now Carolyn and RJ, the church family and all of his extended family will share the responsibility of nurturing Lewis in God’s Word and urging him to embrace Jesus by faith as he gets older.
I want many things for my children – health, safety, a good marriage, meaningful work – but more than anything I want them to know and treasure Jesus. That’s what I want for Lewis too.
Our 30th anniversary trip ended last night when Dargan picked us up at the airport in Orlando and drove us home. It was a great couple of weeks together. I am blessed to be married to such a wonderful woman, and blessed by the children and the grandchild God has given me.
Thanks to all of you in our church family for your kindness in letting us be away for a couple of weeks and for the gifts and cards you gave us to express your love and appreciation. It’s good to come home to a loving church family.
And if you want to see more grandchild pictures, just ask!