February 20, 2015 was National Cherry Pie Day. As the day passed I thought about what reminds me of cherry pie the most. There are several memories that came to mind but this reflection stood out in my mind. One of the traditions my very best friends, Diane and I committed to annually was a trip to Door County Wisconsin. This is a scape of Wisconsin that seems like you might have accidentally took a wrong turn and ended up in Maine, New Hampshire. The fourteen towns and villages sketched with street lined shops, restaurants set near a body of water where the lakes of Green Bay meet Lake Michigan.
A journey in Wisconsin that makes you feel like you are in a coastal town.
We looked forward to this trip all year-long. We would strategically plan it so that the Wisconsin leaves were peak when the tree tops were full of rich colored leaves, orange, red, amber and yellow. The parade of color would fill the sky creating a tunnel of autumn. The trip, only a few hours, lasted the entire day with stops along the way enjoying life, our friendship and one of the best parts of Wisconsin.
Our children were young and would play for hours sometimes inside the cottage or outside in the woods. We would sit for hours telling stories and sharing the same struggles of our new homes and families but would partition our time to play games, drink wine and laugh. While most of our peers where playing sheep’s head, texas hold’m or charades. But not us, our commitment was a game of Canasta, boy’s against the girls. We learned this 1940’s game from Diane’s parent’s that required us to play with two decks of 52 cards. Memorizing the rules of this game demanded simply too much concentration for a man who has the attention span of a pea.
Never-the-less we were on a mission to win, boys against the girls into early morning hours. This always became much easier after the third bottle of laughter or maybe because it really didn’t matter who won the game but how much our cheeks (both) hurt in the morning.
Another favorite tradition was Friday Fish Fry at the Old Mail Box Restaurant. Earl the boil master would greet us each year while he stoked the fire and the big pot of fresh Wisconsin white fish as he told stories of life on the peninsula. We always anticipated the last five minutes of the boil when he poured kerosene on the fire while the flames shot 30 feet and illuminate the sky. The fire shined in the amazement of our children’s eyes.
When our meals were complete, the best end to an awesome experience was homemade cherry pie and ice cream made from scratch everyday.
As I think back about our vacations on the door peninsula, it really had nothing to do with the autumn leaves, the four-day weekends away from life or even the cherry pie. What imprinted our Door County weekends in my mind was sharing time with our friends while creating a life long relationship that has bonded us forever.
Happy National Cherry Pie Day!