Keith has never wanted to "celebrate" a day that is set aside for some person on a Sunday, the Lord's Day. He sets that day aside each and every week to remember the Lord. The day is used for worship, study, napping, or maybe a walk. Keith doesn't do this begrudgingly or with a sense of duty. He does it out of pure delight and thanksgiving to God. He LOVES everything about the day that God gave him, and he belives getting one entire day in seven to fellowship with his creator is beyond generous.
That said, calling out a Sunday as a specially proclaimed day for anything other than God's day has never set well with him. He would rather celebrate the Lord than be celebrated.
So, we celebrated Dad on Saturday instead with three special events. First, we loaded up two canoes, five children, one exchange student, and the two of us and headed to the Wisconsin River for a float trip. If this had been the perfect dad day we would have made it a fishing trip. But eight people in 2 canoes does not make for a workable fishing excursion. The poles stayed behind.
Our canoe: Keith, Lisa, and Owen (with me in the front)
Canoe 2: Troy, Gabe, Bryce, and Gabriella
The day started out sunny but then clouded over. Some of the following pictures would have been so much better with a blue sky and sun on the water. Oh well!
We saw many, many different types of birds including lots of Kingfishers. I didn't realize how loud they were. I've always loved these birds, but they got a bit annoying after awhile!
This mama duck (we decided she was a Hooded Merganser) stayed in front of us the entire ride.
She was working hard to keep her babies safe and was never brave enough to circle around and behind us with her ducklings.
The bald eagles were abundant along the river. These pictures are all of different birds. In one spot we saw four of them grouped together in two trees.
These blue flowers were lining much of the river as well.
They made a perfect backdrop for this scene. We heard an odd, screeching sound from the bank, and looked over to see this family.
We couldn't tell what they were until one of the youngsters (black) tried to climb on a rock to get a better look at us curious strangers. They were river otters!
The mama (brown) was not impressed with the kid on the rock and this picture was snapped just before she grabbed the fellow by the neck with her mouth and dragged him under the water.
The family swam off across the river. The mother kept raising herself up out of the water to check us out and I tried to catch it with the camera but it was too hard to guess where she would pop up, and she didn't stay up long enough for me to get her picture.
Gabe was very entertained by the whole trip, but his energy wore Bryce out. He finally got some peace when Gabe dumped his bag of trailmix on the floor of the canoe. Bryce put him down and let him scavange. He kept shouting, "Another one!", every time he'd find an M&M. Most of the peanuts and raisins became fish food!
Gabe feeling very pleased with himself--blurry and all.
Trying to look "cool" like Bryce, even with a chocolate face.
If you're worried about the older children not wearing their life jackets, this is how deep the river was... OK, it wasn't always this shallow, but the bottom was typically just a few feet from the surface and we weren't running any rapids.
Even without the fishing poles, Keith had a good time.
After we went home and unloaded the canoes, we changed clothes and headed out for supper at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty. Keith, Nicole, Vince, David, and Papa all joined us for the evening activities.
This sign is pretty impressive, look at Owen and Lisa standing by Paul's boot.
This place serves family style and is supposed to give you the experience of being in a lumber camp. It's a pretty plush lumber kitchen and I'm sure the food is better than what was served 125 years ago, but it's a fun experience.
This man has been seating guests for as many years as I remember. I think he lives there! He graciously posed for this picture for me. I'm not sure if he's such a popular guy because of his amiable personality or his amazing physique! He's brave, imagine any woman wearing a belt made from a tape measure...
Appropriately, we ended the evening at the Lumberjack Show. A host and four lumberjacks give a funny, entertaining, and educational show detailing the lives and work of the lumberjacks who first opened the towns in this area.
The audience was split in two and we cheered on our lumberjack team as they dueled through the evening.
At one point they selected 2 lumber-jacks and 2 lumber-jills for a little contest.
Lisa wasn't too sure she should have volunteered when they were told they were going to "run the boom" (see previous picture), but it was only a joke. Instead, they had to yell out their best lumberjack "Yo Hoe!!", and they all got a prize.
It was a beautiful day and a lovely evening, and Keith enjoyed it all.
Sunday was as wonderful as always for him but it was made a little more special with a favorite meal and phone calls from our distant children. He assured me that our goal of making him feel special, loved, and appreciated was met.