After our Wednesday mass in Grand Haven, I drove up to Muskegon, because I remembered that there was a playground on the free public beach. Frances had a grand time on the playground equipment, though she was not in the mood to be photographed. Since my camera has a good zoom lense, I sat on a bench at a distance and took pictures anyway.
Frances's godfather, who lives in New York, came to visit for a few days, and we went to Holland and walked out to the lighthouse, because that's what I do with out of town guests. Bob and Frances both enjoyed visiting the lighthouse, though Frances played hard to get.
Bob was a bit more adventuresome, when it came to exploring the pier. Did I mention that the water temp was 58 degrees?
We had an outing and went to Holland, and Frances played at Kollen Park, which she claims is her favorite park. We walked behind the Heinz Pickle Factory, on the waterfront walk on Lake Macatawa. When I was a child, my grandparents lived downwind of Heinz, and I remember the vinegary smell from the factory overwhelming the air. My Great Aunt Itene and her husband Uncle John both retired from Heinz after decades of service, and my mother spent a few summers, back in the 1960's, working in the factory. She talked about how the men who drove the trucks would take hoses and spray down the girls working as pickle packers (nowadays you call that sexual harassment) and she and my grandmother told stories about workers losing fingers in the pickle slicing machines, and the pickled fingers from the workers showing up in the jars of pickles in the grocery stores around the country. It was quite the topic of conversation around my Grandparents' dinner table... the legendary lady who only had one finger left on each hand, whose fingers had turned up in Georgia and Nebraska. There were also stories of workers' bandaids, turning up in the jars of sliced pickles. I decided to share those stories with Frances. She will never know my Aunt Irene or my mother, but its part of our regional history--our ties to the area. Since she has little in ties to her own native homeland, the least I can do for her is create ties to her adopted homeland, such as they are. She was intrigued by the chopped off fingers. Now that you mention it, I think Aunt Irene lost at least one finger in the machines during her tenure at HJ Heinz. I should email her daughter and ask.
She spent some time playing on the equipment at Kollen Park.
Then we walked along the waterfront, on the special boardwalk erected by the Heinz factory.
Then we went to Reender's Blueberry Farms which are just north of Holland, and bought blueberries. They had blueberry bushes for sale, and I caught Frances sampling the fruit right off the bushes. They have u-pick blueberries, and the owner didn't seem to mind the theft of fruit.
In Grand Rapids, we love the Fords. They are our claim to fame; Gerald and Betty put us on the map. Gerald and Betty were both products of our public schools. My Grandfather was a detective in the town of Holland, and several times, he worked on security detail for Gerald Ford, and in his scrapbook, wherever it is now, he had a handwritten thank-you note signed by "Jerry Ford." Gerald and Betty Ford were also married at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, which is just a few blocks from our house, and which is the church where Frances was baptized, and where Frances and her mothers are members. (I was also a member of that church for seven years, but no longer am. THAT, however, is another story for another time.) As you know, Gerald Ford died on the day after Christmas, 2006, and was buried out of Grace Episcopal during the first part of January, 2007. And Betty is also scheduled to be buried out of Grace Episcopal, the day after tomorrow.
Now when Gerald Ford died, Suzanne and I went with my Aunt Marilyn and her sister, and stood on line with over a hundred thousand other people, and waited for seven hours, to walk past his flag-draped casket, the night before the funeral. We got into the museum at midnight, and were there to watch the changing of the guard. (The bad Michigan weather miraculously held off, there was no snow to speak of, and the temperatures were cold but not bitterly so, for the entire week following Ford's death. I think this may have been the winter where Gun Lake completely melted) On the day of the funeral, I stood in my front yard and could hear the military band playing "Faith of our Fathers" as the casket was loaded into the hearse for its final ride through the city, to the Ford Museum where he was to be interred.
I wanted Frances to be able to say she participated in a piece of Grand Rapids' History, so this morning I brought her to the Ford Museum, and I signed the condolence book. There were no huge lines at the museum this time (when we waited to file past Gerald, the line stretched out of the museum, across the bridge, back and around past the Amway Grand Plaza, then across Pearl Street bridge by Grand Valley, and then back through downtown GR to the other side of the Michigan Street bridge) and there was just one person ahead of us. I signed our names in the book.
And we spent a bit of time looking at the fountain on the grounds of the museum.
Frances got hold of my camera and took this picture of me (below). I rather like it.
I got a hankering for some freezer jam, so I took Frances out to Krupp's in Sparta, and we picked some strawberries. She wasn't much help when it came to picking strawberries, so I wound up just buying some. I did snap a picture of her sampling fruit off the bushes.
Frances preferred the rocking horse at the petting zoo, and of course, the ice cream.
Our Easter morning started out in Gun Lake, down at the cottage. Frances was not very keen on the idea of a visit from the Easter Bunny. The night before, she made me call the Easter Bunny and tell him not to come out our house, that he could leave the Easter Basket at our neighbor's house and her Daddy would go and pick it up there.
In spite of this, she was up at 6:30. Daddy didn't get up until 7:30, so Mom had her all dressed and ready for the egg hunt by the time Daddy got out of bed. This is the facial expression I get when I tell Frances to smile and say cheese. She looks like she's passing a kidney stone.
After the Easter Egg hunt, she opened the Easter Basket given to her by her godmother, Auntie Carol. I made this picture black and white to camouflage the blue candy stain that was all around Franny's mouth.
We drove up to Grand Rapids for the 10:00 service at St. Andrews, and they had an Easter Egg Hunt in the yard after the service.
It took a little bit of coaxing, but once she realized that the boys were going to get all the eggs if she didn't move, she decided to get the lead out and pick up a few. They had gently suggested that parents should limit the eggs to ten per child, and Franny picked up exactly that many--ten--without being reminded. She is very smart. The things she says, they make us nervous.
Here she is with Daddy, after the Easter egg hunt. This is my new profile pic on Facebook. I don't suppose you needed to know that. Most of you are on my facebook already and know this.
People were taking pictures all over the place. Frances wasn't as cooperative the second time around. Her mother pointed and said "look at the man with the camera and smile" and Frances promptly covered her face.
We went to lunch after church, and that child does enjoy her chocolate milks.
She enjoys her desserts too.
Sweetie, I love you, but you're not touching my camera with those gooey sticky hands. Sorry, it just ain't gonna happen.
Anthony, Suzanne's youngest brother, became a father in late January, when his son, Jude Anthony, was born. We went to Lansing to meet Baby Jude and attend the baptism at Suzanne's home parish--Resurrection Catholic Church on Michigan Avenue.
This is a priest, and he is reading from a book. I don't suppose I needed to tell you that. But when I don't label pictures, I feel like a slacker. So there you have it.
This is Baby Jude with his mother Angela.
Rita and Dean, otherwise known as the Cincinnati cousins, also materialized in Lansing for the event. Being a big four year old, Rita was allowed to carefully hold Baby Jude at the dinner after the baptism. Dean wasn't a happy camper--perhaps because he's no longer "Baby Dean" with the arrival of "Baby Jude"-- but I took the picture anyway, figuring it would be worth something for blackmail later on.
Franny got in the picture. She was very cute in her good outfit. There is a dress under that coat.
Franny was also able to sit very still and hold Baby Jude. Both children cooperated and nobody went to the hospital.
Suzanne hovered nearby to make sure nobody fell, as respectable mothers are expected to do.
Every now and then, I can snap a picture that turns out perfectly with no editing. This would be one such photograph.
Because it was warm (40 degrees, which is warm for Michigan in late March), Grandpa Gary suggested we go to the 4H Children's Gardens at MSU, so we did. Franny was not interested in the butterflies, she doesn't go for things that fly and land on her. But she enjoyed climbing on the toys in the outdoor gardens.
She even suffered the indignity of having her picture taken with Mom and Grandma.