Our oldest son came home for the first time since Christmas 2019 and we celebrated with a taste of all things Wisconsin.
So far during his stay, he has enjoyed a good, old-fashioned fish fry from Mark’s Eastside, cheesecurds from Tom’s Drive-in, a brat from a roadside stand and booyah! made by his sister Molly in a propane kettle at our cabin.
Charlie calls Appleton “Heaven on Earth” and tries to get home as often as possible. But, job responsiblities and a global pandemic kept him on the eastcoast for far too long. He flew home the day after he was fully vaccinated.
Charlie’s visit also was a sample of the glorious family reunion we’re planning when all four siblings and their spouses and significant others will be home from a nice stretch of time in July. We can’t wait.
Until then, we soaked in the wit and wisdom of a man who has been able to maintain his unique brand of Midwestern charm through an entire decade of life in New York City.
During his visit, he strolled along Appleton’s river paths and walked the trestle bridge for the very first time. On subsequent walks, he enjoyed an Arnie Palmer from the Green Gecko and mint julep cold brew from the Tempest. He took nostalgic trips to the skateboard park at Telulah and the playground at Erb, had a lunch date with his grandma and chatted with Connie the Cookie Lady.
It felt really good to have him and his sister Molly (who lives in Minneapolis, a much more mangeable distance from us) home.
This weekend, they joined us in our first float of the year down the Oconto River.
Then, yesterday, Molly turned a wild turkey and a giant chicken we’d been keeping for her in the freezer, into a delicious pot of Chicken Booyah. Unique to this part of Wisconsin, Chicken Booyah tastes like the community gatherings at which it is served — fresh, comforting, warm and a little salty. It simmers from a cauldron and beckons people to come in from the fields and sit down for a bowl.
We ate it late Sunday afternoon and it was the perfect treat on a chilly afternoon.
It was also a treat, after too long a stretch, to see that cabin fill up with people again.
Bring on the summer of 2021!