A Partial Staycation

Growing up as a kid we were lucky enough to take vacations almost yearly, heading to Disney World, California, and even a cruise. In our reality today, that is just not an option. Luckily, my parents have a place in the Dells that is a (relatively) easy 2.5 hour drive and better yet, FREE. The best kind of vacation in my opinion.

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Caught with Your Hands Tied

I have always surrounded myself with laughter. I love to tell and re-tell hilarious stories. Whether they happened to me or I just happened to be there. I realize that the victims in my stories may not find it as funny, but to be a good story teller, you have to take risks.

My friend, Marge (name is changed to protect the embarrassed), was a very shy girl. Total opposite of me and probably why we get along so well. Because she was so shy, every embarrassing thing ALWAYS happened to her. So in this piece, I dedicate one of her top stories (believe me, there are more) to my sweet, beautiful friend, Marge.


Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Pexels.com

It started when my best friend and I were young girls. Just budding into womanhood and getting comfortable (literally) with our new bras and self consciousness. We were both tomboys so baggy shirts and jeans were our staple back then. We liked to go out to my grandma’s house and roam the neighborhood.

One day, we were taking a shortcut back to the house. We get to this tall fence that was right beside a park and boys about our age were playing a game of basketball. Of course we needed to act cool while climbing up. I jumped over and was very proud of my awesome dismount off the fence. Still feeling cool and hoping to get a few lookers, I hear Marge yell my name. The visual I saw next will never escape my mind. It was classic. It was epic. IT. WAS. HILARIOUS.

Here is Marge, standing on the ground with her scrawny arms pinned above her head. Her new bra and all she had grown is out for all to see. She is caught standing there while her baggy shirt is stuck at the very top of this tall fence. I instantly burst into laughter. I could barely climb up the fence to release her shirt. I have tears rolling down my face as she’s yelling at me to hurry. As I’m hopelessly helping my dear friend, you could hear the basketball from the game next to us slowly stop dribbling to a dead stop on the ground.

I look over and the group of 5 boys are staring at us, mouths hung open. I am sure this visual will never escape their minds as well. They just stood there in awe of the faceless girl with the rosette bra, yelling for help.

grayscale photography of three boys beside steel fence

Photo by Zaid Abu Taha on Pexels.com

I finally unhook her shirt and Marge is freed. She is now standing there, face to face to a bunch of drooling boys and her face darkens about 6 shades of red. In a flash, she just takes off and I’m left running after her still rolling with laughter over the whole ordeal.

Not only is Marge upset that she just flashed a bunch of boys for what felt like 10 minutes, she also tore her favorite shirt. I had to stop laughing long enough to pay respect. Later on, her mom had sewed the hole. But I couldn’t help but giggle every time she wore it. I should have stolen it and framed it for her next birthday.

We still laugh about this story today. Probably me more than her. I think these stories bond us closer together. Even many, many years later, I can still vividly remember the entire scene as if it were yesterday. I learned a lesson that day. ALWAYS climb fences with caution. And when no one is looking.

By: Sara Garcia de Alba

My Summer Patio

Every day this summer I have been spending about 20 or 30 minutes outside on the back patio just before work starts around noon. The two lane highway that our townhouse backs up to is closed for the whole next year, and there is zero traffic out there, other than the occasional turn around or mail truck. It is absolutely serene each morning. Other than the country road, there is a sprawling cornfield, birds, and animals scampering about. I get a small dose of vitamin D as I sit back and relax, listening to some songs on my phone and pretending I am at the beach, minus the sand in my suit.

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Sticky Sweet Lollipops

Toddlers always smell sticky sweet, like an old lollipop. Occasionally after a nice long bath and that baby-scented bedtime lotion, a flicker of baby giggles flits into my memory and we snuggle up close before bedtime. I loved having my babies, but I do not miss actually having young babies. I may be in the minority, but I sure do favor the sweet innocence and simultaneous, often challenging beginnings of independence that bubble up as little children grow into bigger ones. Don’t get me wrong. Toddlers are frustrating and beyond exhausting. They are also hilarious and excited by everything. Every single thing is brand new and so as a result, you get to experience the newness right alongside them. Holidays become more than just another day on the calendar. First times of each new experience are captured religiously with cameras as we try to sear these memories in our brains for the future. Shall I go on?

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Think It Over

What sets your soul ablaze? Do you even know? Have you spent purposeful time thinking about it or are you too tired with the daily demands of your life to even ponder such a topic? Is our purpose here on earth to live, pay bills, and die? What are you really good at… does that line up with what interests you? Are you afraid of change? If so, why? What do you really, I mean really, want in this life? What is important to you? Not your friends or family, YOU.

These questions have been floating around in my mind this week as I have been helping my mom recently with exploring the possibility of a new career path. She has been at her current job for 38 years. Thirty-eight years at the same employer. Not long ago, this was a common occurrence. Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to find someone in my generation that has stayed with the same employer (even if promoted or serving in various roles throughout their time there) for more than several years in a row.

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Sherman, Lord Charles, and the Attack on Fortress Wolter

For almost a decade we were lucky enough to reside with my parents, renting their spacious, lovely basement apartment in Marengo. For a smart-alec kid who moved out at 18 because her parents said no to having a beer (who WAS that brat?!) and grew up way too quickly in many ways, the decision to move back in with them several years later was not an easy one. All in all, it ended up the best decision for all of us, and we enjoyed a long run abundant in experiences only enjoyed because we resided under the same roof. I consider it one of the best decisions we ever made.

Not only did I become closer with my parents and brother, but my brother’s girlfriend became my sister and best friend while living there. I was able to go to nursing school and not work full-time. I was able to bring my first baby home to his own room, one that his Papa decorated and built just for him. We were able to go through infertility treatment and (barely) afford to have our second kiddo, making our family complete. Eventually we had to move out, both due to increased space needs of a growing family and the fact that this portion of our town does not have underground cable internet, which was needed in order to continue working from home for my job. I KNOW RIGHT?! Who does not have cable internet these days?! My parents, that’s who. Ridiculousness.

Anyhow, the reason for my trip down memory lane tonight is not to reaffirm my love for my parents and this amazingly huge chunk of my life. It is to bring awareness to the wall-eating mice in rural Marengo. Monsters, I tell you.

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