Before I met M, when we were 18 years old, Veterans and the military didn’t hold much meaning to me. I had never known anyone personally that had a military connection. Yes, my grandfather had been in the military during WWII but I didn’t even know that until I was 19! How sad. He wasn’t very close to me as he lived in FL but it wasn’t all on me for not asking. My dad and his family never seemed to honor that part of him and it was never talked about. But then I met Mitchell and my whole perspective changed. He comes from such a rich military history in his family with many relatives having served in some form or another. Including his uncle who was a marine who died in the Beirut bombings. His older brother is also a marine. And his dad served in the national guard. Suddenly military had a personal role in my life.
Suddenly I knew what it was like to have your best friend leave for basic training. I knew what it was like to write letters while he was in AIT. Then when we started dating I knew what life was like as a military girlfriend to a deployed solider. And more than anything I know what life is like as a veteran’s wife. I’ve now seen first hand some of the positives and negatives that come with giving yourself to the military and it is humbling. Memorial Day and Veterans Day (and everyday) became days that held deep meaning for me and I am sure grateful…truly grateful for the services and sacrifices the men and women in our past and present military have given.
For this Veterans Day we decided to rent a cabin at Lake Carlos State Park in MN. We dropped Jackson off with M’s grandpa, dropped Stewie off at Lucky Dog, and hired a cat sitter for Snickers. We were animal free for 30 hours! We started our trip by having dinner and drinks at a place called Brew: Ales & Eats in Detroit Lakes, MN. The food was amazing! And the beer was awesome! (I’m happy I’ve grown to enjoy craft beer, took a long time to get there but now I love them). We had Gouda fried pickles and we split a philly steak sandwich.
We arrived at our cabin around 9 and we were both sleepy from the food and the dark drive. We decided to snuggle into bed and go to bed early so that we could get up for the sunrise and get the most out of the sunlight hours. Friday morning was cold but clear.
After exploring the entire park by vehicle we went back to our site and made a camp fire to cook our eggs and sausage. The only thing that was a bummer was I hadn’t packed well enough for weather conditions. We’ve been having near record highs and unseasonably warm weather that I wasn’t really prepared for the chill that day. Should have brought warm snow boots instead of hiking boots and I should have packed some gloves and a jacket. But that was just fine we stayed inside the cozy cabin and played monopoly. (I lost). Then we went to a local winery, Carlos Creek Winery. We had so much fun sampling all kinds of wines. The place was beautiful too and you got to keep a free wine glass with the tour!
Then we headed into town for some lunch at Doolittles Woodfire Grill. They were kind enough to offer a free meal to veterans. We started with the baked goat cheese spread that was a bit spicy but still really good.
We made it back to the state park with enough daylight for a couple mile hike and then we sat around the campfire. After it got too cold to sit outside comfortably we headed in for the night to play some more board games.
It was a great mini vacay to celebrate my veteran. He deserves it! Happy Veterans Day to all of you veterans out there, I can never stop thanking you!