Married

How fitting that the Supreme Court makes its decision the weekend of my wedding anniversary.  Sam and I will have been married for seven years!  That’s not very long compared to my Grandparents who made it to 60.  It’s been a fun seven years and I’m excited to continue on in this adventure.  We had a lot of fun this past year, and it keeps getting more fun.

Anyway, what needs to be said about that I will say to Sam.  Sam had tears today, she was so moved by the SCOTUS decision.  I was more low-key in my typical way.  Only a few weeks ago I had been thinking it probably wouldn’t happen, but that society was moving in that direction anyway.  So, it did happen.  And now marriage only needs love, not gender, to be legal, which is nice.

This has been a huge swing for the country.  I am sad to admit that many, many years ago I would probably not have been for it.  That changed.  And many of the holdouts will change, I hope, since most of the proponents are champions of love and understanding.  People opposed have been fed specific mode of thinking their entire lives and it takes a lot of work to chip away at that armor.

Anyway.  I don’t have the patience for hate and bigotry today – and I’m thrilled that I haven’t encountered much.  My friends all are very much for it!  In fact, one of the only Facebook friends I have that is incredibly politically conservative is gay and very happy about the decision.

I don’t have much to say about this – just that it DOES affect me.  I’m a parent, and its peaceful to know my kids will grow up in a world where they can love whomever they find and can commit to a life with that person. So, I’m happy about that.

It’s always amazing to have a world where love is legal.

Charleston

Somewhere between caves and waterslides Charleston happened.  It hit me in the gut for some reason – maybe that it’s a terrible, terrible act of racism.  There’s a lot I’d love to let out about it – but I’ve held back because, what’s my place in all this?  I’m a white, hetero, male – I don’t have struggles, not real ones.  I started life on easy mode. Is it my place to say anything?  Man, I don’t know.

Charleston was disgusting.  It’s even worse that anyone would spin this as anything other than a man poisoned by hate thinking the way he did. That anyone could live and work and meet with people of color and refuse to acknowledge racism still lives in the hearts of many, many people. People judge others by vision alone, still.  We stereotype negatively, and we hide behind whatever is convenient at the time.

And the victims do this: Forgiveness.  In my heart, I’d hope I could find forgiveness for an act this terrible.  These are wonderful people who embody a spirit many people forget about. They are people who are looking for hope amongst the hate, and people I want to live with in this country.

I don’t care any burden or trouble, not really – but I am sorry for their loss and I wish I could lessen their pain. God, don’t we all wish we could end racism and finally be a united people in this country.

We can’t. Not yet, but I hope we can.

Amongst this tragedy I read about people trying to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol and I thought, “No, that’s not right.”    I thought, “that flag is a symbol of ignorance at best, and hatred at worst.  I can’t see the use in removing it.”  You can remove a flag from a pole, but what it represents stays in people’s hearts – you can’t outlaw emotion.  I thought that labels can serve such a strong purpose.  If I wanted a hamburger, I’d look for Golden Arches and if I wanted motel I might look for a “vacancy” sign. If I wanted to know how a person felt about equality I might look for stars and bars and I’d know a bit about how to talk to that person.  That’s a clunky metaphor, but that’s what I thought.  It’d be nice to know your heart is full of hatred, or at the least, disdain for other people’s feelings.

I don’t know if I can let this go – this is a terrible thing that’s happened and I don’t really know what to do about it but raise my children so they might enter that church with arms open, with a smile on their face.

I’m so sorry this happened, Charleston.

Red River Gorge

Well, Mammoth Cave was interesting.  Not many tours for the kiddos, but we had a good time at the Jellystone Campground – that’s right, we left the regular style campground and hit up a Jellystone.  The kids had a blast and we enjoyed some more sites.  But we had caved all we wished, so we hit the road yesterday to see what we could find.

Sam recalled a natural arch in her youth, so we found “Natural Bridge” and headed East.  After ending up at a National Forest administration station, we trekked over to Natural Bridge State Park and were fortunate to get a room at the lodge.  Which is on the side of a mountain.  And its amazing.

Last night, we swam a bit in the pool here which lets you stare up at the rocky cliff the lodge sits upon and today we hiked up to the bridge and looked off into the distance of rolling green hills.  The view from our room is forests and hills, and everything here has been beautiful – we’ve not even been here 24 hours.  One more night here, and then we head north again.

Today’s hike saw snails and snakes – a snake we haven’t properly identified, yet.  It could be a rat snake.  Or a rattlesnake.  In fact, a woman was bitten by a rattlesnake today on the trail.  Sam overheard the ruckus on the lodge phones.  I was very close to a baby snake – close to venom perhaps.  It’s fairly terrifying in hindsight.

So, we’ve had quite a road trip, and we’re having a lovely time.  Zach and Lucy were great on the hike, though Zach made it very clear that hiking is not an activity he enjoys.  He wants to stay in the room designing Mixels.  Lucy’s legs got tired, but she was ready to hike parentless very quickly.  We’re having fun.

So, we

French Lick, IN

The Abel family vacation is underway!  After an incredibly long time without a relaxing vacation, we are finally off on an adventure of camping and fun!  School is out, so there’s not much for me to do at home until Montessori training starts again.  We are trapped in a hotel room with two screaming kids – we’ll see how much relaxing we do.

The original plan was the UP; our main vacation destination.  But with the weather staying cool, Sam thought it best if we headed for warmer climes.  I’ve never been to Mammoth Cave – so we are going there!  We have over a week of camping in the pop-up and exploring Kentucky.

We follow our tradition – with a long drive ahead, we always find a fun hotel our first night before heading on to the campgrounds.  Typically, this would happen in Mackinaw City but there doesn’t seem to be one in Indiana.  Indiana, by the way, is apparently paving their highways with orange barrels.  Also, no one can drive.

Our Mackinaw surrogate is French Lick, a destination selected solely due to the giggles it produced from Sam.  The hotel has our usual indoor water-park – complete with glass walls for sunlight.  It is HOT down here and I fear I may melt.  The kids have bunk beds this time around, too, which they love.

Dinner was German food at the aptly named German Cafe.  So much for weight loss.  We had heretofore only had this style of food in Frankenmuth which I am now classifying as a crime against humanity.  The German food here was criminally good and the Abels will now place Germany on the short list of places to live other than Michigan (Scotland and Ireland on the list).

There was a variety of sausages – knockwurst, bratwurst, another sausage, weinerschnitzel, cabbages, potato salad, and Hungarian goulash.  We all loved it!

Then, it was off to lazer tag with Zachary and finally, time for bed.  Today, we swim, buy merch, explore a cave, and then finally get to the campsite!