We spent many summer vacations in Rockford, visiting family and my mom's old friends and swimming in a country club pool. We frequented the restaurants, attended the Free Church, and swam at a cousin's pool. We did a lot of swimming as kids.
The midwest has a certain quality or culture to it that is vastly different from life in Southern California. I was reminded of it while sharing a meal with a collection of aunts, uncles, and cousins before Boomer's surgery. The talk around the table was filled of news of new snow mobiles, trips to Florida, and the local death report (which included at least three people whom I should have known or remembered). As they talked about pool parties that would take place in 6 months when the weather was nice, we munched on 'butter burgers' and drank 'concrete shakes.' Oh, and it was snowing outside too.
My grandma lives in a fancy schmancy 'retirement community.' This is not a nursing home. It is a commune with townhouses on neatly manicured streets with slightly tacky seasonal decorations gracing certain lawns and doors. Then there is The Big House. When a resident is no longer able or willing to maintain their townhome, they move to The Big House. The Big House is a large brick building, several stories tall, with apartments, individual rooms, and hospice care housed inside. There are lunch rooms, a gift shop, meeting halls, and lots of smiling old people. Happily living in The Big House. Some not as happily- but they aren't the ones generally wandering around the halls smiling. Oh, and almost nobody living in the retirement community finds it remotely humorous that The Big House is most likely to be their final residence this side of heaven.
Rockford has that old fashion, slightly fundamentalist culture that is still prevalent in the midwest. In some ways this is nostalgic and comforting. There are few places in SoCal that are as unashamedly religious and traditional.
But there are also times when this blast to the past can be, shall we say, slightly irksome? Like going to a large grocery store and being told that they do not accept credit cards- only cash or check (checks?!?!). Or visiting a restaurant and having so many people stop by to say hello that you can't get a bite in. Or the lack or wifi or toilet seat covers or left hand turn lanes... Arghhg!
Overall, my trip was quick. A nice opportunity to help my Boomer in a small way and see a few family members. Oh, and eat the world's best Swedish pancakes from here:
Here's a few other **exciting** views of my trip to the midwest:
Every town has a water tower... I don't know why since the dawning of the 21st century but every town has got to have one.
This is a barn and silo. We don't really have these in Southern California. If I had a barn, I would paint it purple with a green roof and purple trim- just to mix things up a little!
Yeah- this is the midwest... dynamic geographic terrain and lots of really big cars- like Buicks and Cadillacs... we don't have very many of this in SoCal either... unless their rims spin and they have a killer sound system.