As a kid growing up, I always wondered where this mysterious place was. Neighbors hooked their boats on to the back of their station wagons not long after the last day of school, and then left for what seemed like an eternity. For many summer vacation weeks I missed my friends, and all I knew was that they had a cottage, and we didn’t. They went up north, and we went to Nova Scotia. I had no idea where this “up north” place was, and neither did I realize Nova Scotia was wayyyyy more north than their up north!
Late August it was so much fun when suddenly, out of nowhere, we’d be in the middle of playing outside, and down Hemingway Street we’d see the Poison Family station wagon with it’s boat in tow, headed home.
“The Poison’s are home! The Poison’s are home!” And we’d run down the street anxious to greet our friends we had missed so much, and take advantage of the few days left of summer vacation before returning to another school year.
Nearly 40 years later, I’m embarrassed to admit that I still wondered about this “up north” place, so when a four-day weekend arrived and I had nothing planned, a quick call to a fairly new friend resulted in a trip to find this place I’d spent a lifetime wondering about.
We drove north for about four hours with absolutely no plans. We visited Traverse City, Sutton’s Bay, Glen Arbor, and the Leelanau Peninsula, and each night over that long weekend, we found deals at nice hotels with vacancies – no issues! We had a great visit, listened to music, and podcasts, visited all sorts of novelty shops, and sat on the beach and enjoyed deep discussions about life, and family, and kids, and all sorts of meaningful things. Each night we stayed up late and giggled, and every morning we woke up when we woke up. No alarms. It was JUST GRAND!
And we shared one pinky promise at the very beginning of this adventure – NO PICTURES of each other without knowing – ESPECIALLY from behind!
Well, we were only home about 48 hours when I had returned to work, and a friend called me in a panic because over 70 pictures had been posted on social media of me in a bathing suit (not my greatest moments), and several photos of me from behind. I called my friend and asked her to please, please take them down, reminding her of our promise – the promise I had been faithful and kept to her! She argued with me and said I should not be ashamed of how I look, that they were her vacation photos, and that she had every right to post them. I was MORTIFIED…. She followed up our conversation with writing a story that evening that she dedicated to me, called “Everyone Loves a Whale,” and reassured me that people love to watch whales swim because they are graceful despite their size, that people enjoy listening to whales sing, that there are even CD’s you can purchase to enjoy their graceful singing voices, and that they don’t care what people think about them…
But none of this made me feel better about the photos, or how I looked in my bathing suit, or how big my rear end was from behind. And most of all, I felt betrayed, deceived, and just wanted to crawl. under. a. rock.
I really, really enjoyed that weekend. And I really, really enjoyed that friend. But the friendship was short-lived and has not been since. And that’s okay. Some friendships need to end. That weekend will remain one of my most favorite (because she really was fun to hang out with), and I really hope she’s grown past having to make others look bad just to make herself look good. People who need to do this are never, ever very attractive.
But the friends who always have your best interests at heart, (like keeping pinky promises, not purposefully trying to make you look bad, and those whose homes you are always welcome to take off your shoes in, plop on their couch, and share your tears with)…. those are the ones you keep!
“My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” Job 16:20-21
I haven’t been back “up north” since that trip, but I’d sure like a re-do. And just in case you ever make it up that way, be sure and do two things! 1) Eat banana bread french toast in Traverse City, and 2) Stay at the Whaleback Inn in Leland, Michigan. That was my favorite food, and my favorite place!
And if anyone ever compares me to a fish again, I hope and pray this is the one they choose, cuz she is just ADORABLE! 🙂