Our lives often are much like the familiar routes we drive, be it to work, our parents’ house or a favorite hangout.
We know the next turn, the next landmark so well we can cruise along with ease, the pages of the calendar flipping as predictably as the miles on the car’s odometer.
That comes to mind as I’m finally relaxing after one of those annual landmarks for me, the U.S. 127 sale. It’s been on my radar for the last several weeks as I’ve looked through some of my belongings with the idea of downsizing, deciding between things to keep and items that have outlived their appeal or usefulness.
During that time I anticipated the excitement of the sale. Many old friends and regular customers stop by, and I always am entertained by the shoppers from far away locations. Setting up and tearing down is hard work, however, and my back will remind me of that for a few days to come.
The sale’s passing also signals to me that summer is winding down, and before I know it the long dark nights and cold winds of winter will descend upon us.
In years past my anticipation would now turn to Labor Day weekend and the classic car event at the old Kruse auction site. For years I have enjoyed having some of the world’s best antique and collector vehicles, along with other select automobile memorabilia, on display in our corner of the world. For a number of years son Joe and I have made it a tradition to spend a full day at the show, taking in the sights and searching for swap meet treasures.
Now, though, that auction is a thing of the past. The site has been sold. The swap meet lives on, moved to a new location in Auburn as part of its Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, but it won’t be the same. The swap meet will be smaller I believe, and I certainly will miss the awesome collection of cars that were destined for the auction block.
For many years the following weekend offered the Jackson, Mich., Civil War Muster. It traditionally took place at The Cascades, but for various reasons was moved for a time to Ella Sharp Park. I missed the Cascades location, to be sure, but since COVID-19 the event had been cancelled altogether.
I have many great memories from the Jackson Civil War Muster, many of them involving family such as introducing my grandson to Civil War living history, and I very much missed it. I was thrilled last weekend when a friend visiting our 127 sale told me the event is back on. Even better, it is returning to The Cascades. Cool and cooler, I say, and I hope to be signing books at the event.
Those late summer disruptions are a reminder of just how uncertain and transient life is. There’s a certain comfort in knowing what lies ahead next week or next month, to be sure, but sometimes we get lulled into a false sense of security.
Just like that familiar route may be interrupted by road construction or a bridge out ahead, our plans and traditions are subject to unexpected disruption.
The key is to appreciate that our annual routine is not as predictable as the months and dates on the calendar after all. Events are cancelled or significantly changed, people die and move away, and our life circumstances change. Our own health or the health of a loved one can be compromised, or some other type of disaster may strike.
As it turns out, the best we can do is enjoy those traditions while they last, and endure the ones that are not our favorites. When things do change, be prepared to just go with the flow.
I’m not excited that winter will be here before you know it. What I should do, though, is just be thankful that I’m still here when it arrives.
And at that point I can just keep flipping calendar pages as long as I can, until spring finally arrives – and appreciate my personal milestones along the way.
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