For Labor Day, my favorite holiday, we went to Minnehaha Falls like we do every year. Generally, we meet family from both my mom's and dad's sides of the family there. We talk, watch the kids (there's three 1 year olds so a lot of attention is required, especially now that all three are walking/running!), jam with our instruments, listen to the bluegrass concerts playing at the grandstand in the park, and walk the trails down by the waterfall. It's something that I look forward to every year. Hubby did not join us this year as the weather was perfect for putting a roof on a house with his dad and brother. Which is what he did. My parents and little sister took their car to the Falls while my sister, her husband, and son Maximus hitched a ride with Princess and me. My sister's husband spent most of the day complaining how nice the weather was and, how if he were home, he could be getting a lot of work done. After 15 minutes of that, I was actually kind of glad that Hubby had opted to pound nails and work on a hot rooftop all day rather than come with us because I knew that he and my sister's Hubby would feed off of each other's misery in being forced to take a day to relax with the family.
The day was perfect. A cool breeze drifted through the air and we had our cookout on three of the highly coveted picnic tables that we had shown up for at 10:30 a.m. to reserve. After a highly nutritious lunch of hot dogs, chips, and cookies that was enjoyed by the three toddlers very much, we started tuning our instruments. My dad got out his banjo, I nabbed his fiddle since it's waaaaaay better than mine, my cousin rosined up her fiddle, my brother tuned his guitar, and my sister and mother shared a mandolin. After a few warmup songs, we were joined by another man with a guitar and a great repetoire of bluegrass songs. We had a great jam session while the adults who weren't playing an instrument or singing watched the kids. 14 month old Rose managed to literally roll in the dirt and was brown from head to toe while Maximus's dad futilely tried to get him to sleep before giving in and taking a nap himself while his son sat in his Looney Tunes stroller valiantly keeping his eyes wide open. My dear daughter fell asleep almost the minute I put her in her umbrella stroller and stayed that way for an hour and a half before being wakened by a very ripe diaper.
I do have one rant about the day. As we were jamming, a respectful looking black man (I would use the politically correct term of "African American," but I feel as if that's not fair to the rest of us who aren't labeled with our original nationalities. If I call him African American, then I would have to insist upon being called Scandinavian American.) came up to us and asked if we would like to do a good deed for the day. We hemmed and hawed as he launched into a sob story about needing $22 for bus fare on the Greyhound to get back home. I don't know if he was telling the truth or not and in our society today, I tend to lean toward skepticism. My dad answered him by telling him the truth about us-that most of our family was unemployed (the usual state of musicians) and the ones who did have jobs didn't make enough money to pay their own bills. The man walked away as soon as we turned him down, but as he did, everyone heard him mutter just loud enough so we could hear him, "I know. It's because I'm black." Here comes the ranting part of this inspirational story. I was infuriated when I heard him say that. I didn't care if he was black, white, or purple! The fact was that no one there had money to spare and what little money we did have we'd already used to pay for gas to get to Minnehaha Falls to spend time with family that day. I had exactly $6 in my wallet which needed to last me until the next payday in a week and a half. The man seemed respectable, at least until he made a racist comment as he walked away, and if I'd had some extra money, I may have been inclined to help him out, and I know the rest of my family felt the same way. To me, a person is a person, no matter what color their skin and it really irritates me when someone accuses me of being racist because I won't give him the money I need to buy groceries! It also annoys me when I hear white people being accused of keeping racism alive and well today because white people are not the only ones doing it!
When we go to Minnehaha Falls or anywhere else for the whole day and I'm packing a cooler, I always throw an insulated sippy cup of milk in the freezer the night before. In the morning, I put it in the cooler with the rest of the food and take it out before Princess eats her meal so it can thaw just enough for her to drink some. By doing this, the milk lasts until her snack in the mid-afternoon because it's still cold.