Great Lakes Magic

A friend and fellow blogger recently got in touch with me and asked, “Where ya been? You haven’t posted since April!” Mostly I’ve been nowhere, or right here, in the same spot I’m always in. There has been little excitement so, therefore, there has been little to share.

I take that back. But, honestly, the exciting stuff didn’t happen until recently.

For a few days back in early June, I was in Cleveland. We all were in Cleveland. A job interview for my husband morphed into a family vacation of sorts. The kind of family vacation where the husband goes to his job interview while the kid and I binge-watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Teen Mom OG in the hotel room, because we love our trash TV.

During pockets of free time, we visited downtown Chagrin Falls (where one independent bookseller proceeded to sing the first few lines from the title song from Oklahoma! to make me feel welcome) and visited a few homes for sale in the villages of Kirtland, Chardon, Chagrin Falls, and Solon. We like to be prepared, and the idea of having to rush a cross-country move with four large dogs and a teenager beginning high school motivated us to get our options in line ASAP. That is if the opportunity to move there was presented.

The first thought that crossed my mind was How are you going to deal with winter, Dena? You’re a big baby. Let it be known that I spent a total of 9 years of my childhood in the Great Lakes region, digging out of 8-foot snowdrifts, climbing trees, avoiding black bears in the woods, and dipping my little-kid toes into the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Northeast Ohio has birches and blue spruce, rocky hills and waterfalls, black bears and chipmunks, and ridiculously friendly people who talk like me. Maybe there in Cleveland, I thought, I wouldn’t sound so funny to everyone else. My accent wouldn’t be an accent. It’s just how people talk up there.

One thing I had to do before we returned to Oklahoma, however, was dip my now-grownup toes into the icy cold waters of Lake Erie. This would put my HOMES checklist at over half! My mother insists I can also count Lake Huron as an early Great Lake encounter, but I don’t remember it so I don’t feel like that’s a fair statement. If I made it to Lake Erie during this trip I would only have two Great Lakes left in order to completely knock out my toe-dipping adventures: Huron and Ontario. But what if we didn’t return? What if this was my only chance with Lake Erie?


So we headed out on our last night in town to find a spot for some toe-dipping. The water was too cold for toe-dipping, so I opted to rest my hands in it instead. And for about an hour, the family just enjoyed being…well, just being. We talked about fishing for lake trout and exploring local breweries, about the Cleveland Indians and how summers feel more humane there. We walked back and forth along the beach and picked through the shore’s smoothed rocks to find a few favorites to bring home.


When I got back to Oklahoma City, I immediately placed my Lake Erie rocks in with one of my favorite potted plants. We have an interesting collection of Oklahoma rose rock and other unique pieces of stone in and around the garden and it seemed the right spot for these rocks to be.


Each time I went outside to weed around the basil or pick the snap peas, I would venture over to my lobelia and lemon thyme, pick up a Lake Erie rock, and rub it with my thumb and forefinger. I wished on it. I talked to it. I treated it like it was a talisman that held some sort of Great Lakes magic. And, guys, it must have worked.

We are moving to Cleveland next month.


10 thoughts on “Great Lakes Magic

  1. First off, I love your rock collection. I have a few from Wisconsin and N. Carolina and The Kingsley Plantation, but don’t tell. Your Grandpa has his from their trip to Alaska, enough to build his fireplace in Old Town. It’s funny now how I am having difficulty recalling your youth in the snow. I think surviving pay day to pay day held most of my attention. We all liked sledding. And Brian would hold on to you on the way to the bus so the northern gusts would not knock you on your kazoo, and at K.I. Sawyer, snow forts were a big deal. With house buying and your dog travels you will be supplied with more stories than you will have the time to print. I am excited for you, happy for you both, and anxious for you to get resettled.

    • Let’s try this route. Our family has always enjoyed collection rocks. Grandpa built his fireplace in Old Town from rocks he brought from Alaska. I have a few from Wisconsin, N.Carolina and Kingsley Plantation. Don’t tell. I had a hard time remembering you in the snow. I do remember you locking me and Brian out in the cold and snow while you forged through the grocery bags that had already been brought inside. Long story short had to call the base police to get in. You never had to do adult things like shoveling. Maybe when Brian held on to you while trying to make the bus because the northern wind gusts were trying to land you on you kiester. I am looking forward to your grown up snow stories, moving stories a d how to move with four dogs at once stories. Looking forward to it all

      • There is a moving company called Two Men and a Truck. Who would you hire? Two sweaty men or FOUR ADORABLE DOGS? Useless dogs, but still…

  2. I can’t wait to hear your house hunting stories, moving stories, and Four Dogs and a Truck stories. And the weather! Love reading your

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