Diary of a Tanner Family Vacation

We got in the car early. My 2019 Honda CRV was packed. Suitcases. Stuffed animals. Pillows. My boys in the back. Katie riding shotgun. Sam Tanner at the wheel. Ready to roll, baby.

Soon the car was speeding west along I-80. Through the hills of Pennsylvania. Towards the sludge of Ohio. Vacant Indiana. The traffic of Chicago. The alcoholism of Wisconsin. And amber waves of grain.

Just kidding. I shouldn’t be so harsh. Wisconsin’s rolling hills are idyllic. Chicago is a majestic skyline. We spent a night in Port Clinton on the shores of Lake Eerie. The crashing waves were a lullaby. Indiana has clean rest stops and Pennsylvania is green in July. It was easy driving.

A week in Lake Geneva. Our first journey back to the Midwest in two years. We didn’t make it all the way to Minnesota. Because of the death virus. Still, the boys played with their cousins (see the picture above). We saw some family. Did the Airbnb have ants? Maybe a few. Was the sky smokey from the Canadian death fires? Sure. Was it nice to step outside of our routine for a few days? As we Midwesterners are want to say: You betcha.


Highlights from our short road trip? Don’t mind if I do.

My boys played Mini Golf for the first time. Samson was bored by the 2nd hole. And Solomon swung his club like a battle axe. He almost crushed a little girl’s head on the 14th hole. But they both promised they had fun when we were finished. So much so that they played a second round with their cousins. They made it to the 4th hole before getting bored.

We rented Kayaks. Samson and I paddled out into the waters of majestic Lake Como. He was the captain. I was the engine.

“Go that way!” He shouted loud enough to disturb the geese.

“Aye aye, Captain Samson.”

My arms were noodles by the end of our lap around the lake.

We swam at the beach. We took a ride on a pontoon. Swam in the middle of Lake Geneva. Off the pontoon. With life jackets. Samson was terrified, but swore he had fun. And so on.

I’ll spare you more details. There was plenty of activity. Did we have to take an over the counter Covid test? Sure. Solomon spiked a fever one night. Spiked my anxiety, too. The Covid test was negative, and Solomon felt better a few hours later. No more symptoms, Delta variant be damned.


The Delta variant is angry, friends. So I’m not sure about the timing of our trip.

We were safe. Masks. Washed our hands. Avoided indoor spaces. We shared an Airbnb with Katie’s vaccinated cousins and their two children. Was so nice to be with people. With family. Still, I’ll admit a little trepidation. I’m shocked how few masks we saw between Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Seems most of the country is under the impression the pandemic is over. I’m not under that impression. I think our good friend Covid will be with us a bit longer.

Look, I won’t hide it. I’m a fan of vaccines, masks, and caution. I’m shocked that sentence makes some folks angry. I still can’t wrap my head around how politically divisive this pandemic has been. These feel like tense times, my friends.

I’m not pretending at any scientific or moral superiority in my perspective on the pandemic. Or on anything, really. But it makes me sad how terribly unkind so many people are about the whole thing. Mean and angry. Stirred up. Ready for violence. Physical violence, sure. But emotional and psychological violence too.

And it is here I will make my stand: Violence is bad. All forms of it. Always. I’ll plant my flag in that statement before I march in the streets for one political candidate or another.

In the words of my hero Kurt Vonnegut: Be kind to each other, dammit.

Sorry, I got off track here. I was writing about a family vacation. We were kind to the family members we saw. I hope. And they were kind to us. We spent a week together and that was nice. It was good.

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