I just got back from a five-day trip to Wisconsin and Minnesota. We were visiting Sasha’s family and attending a wedding reception of one of his old friends. His parents picked us up from the airport and told us they purchased us some tickets to the foliage tour. In actuality they were driving us back via the back roads that had the best views of the leaves changing colors. It was so spectacularly beautiful; my description could never do it justice. It was a regular color Kaleidoscope, but colors that do not have names yet. We have very pretty trees that go through the fall change out on the West Coast, but just not that dramatic. These trees were in clusters of thousands upon the rolling hills. Every tree was a different color from the one next to it & every leaf was a different color from the one next to it, so put them all together like that and it becomes unworldly.
Sasha had grown up on a farm and commune, but they lost it maybe 20 years ago. Now his Dad has a house on 5 acres, so everything you could see was his. I liked the idea of not being able to see your neighbors’ house from any point of your property. It was perfectly peaceful with little garden patches producing asparagus, corn, melons, pumpkins, Swiss chard, raspberries, etc. They were planting garlic while we were there. Sasha’s brother made a very picturesque pumpkin patch surrounded by 12-foot tall sunflowers and a corn stalk gate. There was a swarm of ladybugs, which I found delightful, but they warned me of them. Apparently these were not your run of the mill ladybugs, but actually multicolored Asian lady beetles that bite. Swarming, evil, biting ladybugs just seemed plain wrong. I refused to feel negatively towards them until they kept flying into my face and getting stuck in the crevice between my eye and my nose, which is a very difficult place to remove them from.
There was also many wonderful birds and wildlife on the property. One night we heard an owl hooting as we sat outside. We could see every star in the night sky and I could have stayed there forever.
After 2 days of being fed home cooked meals and being taken great care of in pastoral Wisconsin, we headed off to Minneapolis, Minnesota to attend a wedding reception of an old friend of Sasha’s. We were staying at his Godfathers house who lived nearby. They had recently got a Basenji dog, which is an African Barkless sight hound. She was real sweet, but unusual as she made strange noises of communication not common to canines. Apparently she will actually scream when startled, but we did not get to hear her make that sound.
The Wedding reception was at a nearby brewery where the couple had met. I had a lovely silk blouse and matching skirt I was looking forward to wearing with some nice shoes, but then a friend of Sasha’s said it was casual. The only other wedding I had attended in the mid-west was ultra casual, so now I had a quandary of what to wear. I decided to wear the nice top with my casual pants and black converse low tops. This decision turned out to be a disaster, as every woman there was dressed to the absolute nines and pulled out every stop in looking good with the jewelry, the shoes, the matching bags & wraps, etc. I felt like a fool. The house we were staying at was maybe 10 blocks away, so I asked Sasha to take me back before I was introduced to anyone so I could quickly change. He would not. I begged. He would not. I cried. He would not. If I knew how to drive a stick shift or knew anything about the area, I would have driven myself back or taken a cab. Instead I was stuck feeling rude to the bride for wearing tennis shoes and feeling like an old skag as I was introduced to a hoard of Sasha’s old friends. This was the first time I was being introduced as his wife to most of these people and I wanted to crawl back inside myself for a lot of the night. I understood why he would not drive me back. He was excited to see these people and did not want to appear to be arriving late. Plus, it was a silly issue and no one cared how I was dressed. But I wish he let me go & change, because I think we both would have had a better time if I were feeling more comfortable. Oh well. It was an open bar, so I quickly forgot my predicament. Everyone was super nice and lovely. All raving about what a great person Sasha is and what fun they had together growing up on the commune.
Driving back to Wisconsin to this time sleep over at his Mothers’ house, we played the road trip game we call: Count the Political Signs. In the city of Minneapolis we counted 800 Kerry signs and only one Bush bumper sticker. As we got further out into the country & back into Wisconsin farmlands, more Bush signs cropped up (some huge ones that said: This is Bush Country). Despite that, Kerry was leading the sign race by 36% (not counting the city signs). The last sign we counted was a huge 10 foot by 5 foot black sign that said: BUSH LIED. I laughed as we pulled in the driveway & realized it was posted at Sasha’s mother’s house.
We took the foliage tour again on our trip back to the airport, said our goodbyes and headed off into the perpetual sunset between time zones.