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"You shoes, you lose!"

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We just returned from a family vacation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a few days ago. I have great-great family members buried in the town cemetery and have been going up since I was born.

In attempts to console ourselves about the end of vacation, we always end up tossing around the question “what’s good about Ohio?” on our way back from up north. It’s hard to leave the cool, sunny weather; the small town where you don’t need a car; beautiful woods at every turn; fresh, locally-caught whitefish; copious amounts of wild blueberries for the picking…

There is one big advantage to living in Ohio though – and that’s the growing season. It feels impossible to get a good salad up there, although sweet cherries and those wild blueberries are fantastic and plentiful. But vegetables! We need them! Deep red, heavy tomatoes; crisp, bright peppers; tender and crunchy leafy greens – we really are in the heart of farmland down here. Only once you’re elsewhere for a period of time do you realize what’s missing.

And something that came from being barefoot in all those beautiful woods was a raging and fierce case of poison ivy for my daughter. Many of you have probably noticed that she rarely has shoes on at the Market, and I tried my darnedest to keep her shoes on up there, but clearly to no avail. She literally cannot walk on her left foot and has to hop to get around – a gigantic blister seems to be swallowing her pinky toe.

Imagine rest area bathrooms with piggy back rides and bare feet – yick! Not fun. One would think this might convince her that shoes have their place, but frankly I doubt it. She once wrote a book explaining why “you shoes, you lose!”, which she planned to brandish in stores and other places requiring shoes.

Anyway, that poison ivy episode could happen anywhere there are woods I suppose, but I’m going to add it to my reasons I’m glad to be home!


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