Saturday, May 15, 2021

Girls' week out

The last time I saw my sister was in September 2019.  It was not a particularly good time for either of us.  She had just lost her husband a month earlier.  I had a brief visit for the funeral and promised to come back soon, but before that could happen I fell and broke my ankle.  So between grief and hobbling around in an orthopedic boot, we were not at our best.  We vowed that when we did this again, we would both be in better shape.

Then came coronavirus and lockdown, and a year and a half passed, and now finally we have managed our visit, this time accompanied by my niece, who needed a vacation from pandemic childcare.  We chose scenic South Bend Indiana, perhaps not your first choice for exotic travel, but it's exactly halfway between our homes so we each made a half-day trip instead of somebody making an all-day slog.

Our rented place had a huge long table where we spent all day together reading, working, talking.  A walk every day, in glorious sunshiny weather.  I brought along a big crate of art stuff and we made little "sampler" books, trying out different tools and mediums.

We found a restaurant that served wonderful red-sauce Italian, which reminded all three of us of our upstate New York youth.  I have lived in Kentucky for more than 50 years and my regrets in leaving New York include brilliant fall foliage and red-sauce Italian food.  

Yes, there are Italian restaurants in Kentucky, and some of them are even pretty good, but you can't match the Sicilian edge that I treasured from long ago.  Every time I visit the Rust Belt I seek out Italian restaurants, preferably those with the authentic vibe of the 60s that I remember so fondly.

This one, Carmela's, was a little more upscale than my fantasy dive, but the food was perfect.  We came back on Thursday night and ordered the same eggplant parmesan that we'd had on Tuesday.  Make sure you patronize this place if you find yourself in South Bend!

My father was a graduate of Michigan State and a football fan, and I was raised to look upon Notre Dame as the archfoe, both in football and religion (we were Lutherans and thus kind of suspicious of Catholics).  So I was a bit wary to be entering enemy territory when we strolled around the Notre Dame campus.  Fortunately I escaped unscathed, and was totally charmed by the beauty of the place, indoors and out.

So, a great trip.  We've resolved to do this every year, and expand it next year to include the daughters-in-law.  I'm already planning what our craft projects will be.


  1. There is nothing like sister time. I am so lucky to have mine live just down the street from me, as of four years ago. And we do crafts together, too.

  2. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. My sister is here visiting from Memphis. I brought her with me to the Yew Dell LAFTA meeting. We had an absolutely wonderful day—good company, great art, and gorgeous scenery. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. It IS such a blessing to have a sister.

  3. So glad you had a great time with your sister! Next time, go about 30 miles east to my hometown, Middlebury, IN. It is filled with Amish heritage, so no cathedral but lots of horses and buggies! Great fabric stores and places to stay. They might not have red sauce, but the noodles and donuts are incredible.