The Reverb Broads are at it again! Our goal: three blog posts a week based on prompts from our fellow bloggers.
Where is your favorite place in the world? What makes it so special?
I’ve been on the planet nearly 59 years (counting womb time), and in that time, favorite places have been many and varied (starting with that cozy little womb!). At this point in my life, one of my all-time favorite places is my back porch, which is screened against bugs and has a beautiful view of the Apple River and our garden. I could ramble on about the pleasures of having my morning coffee there, enjoying a good book or a really awful one (that’s how a really nice location can affect your tolerance for bad storytelling!), watching swans take flight in the spring, and geese take naps in the waning sunlight of a fall afternoon. I could . . . but this has me remembering other favorite places.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is the mothership of my people (the Oswald family). I didn’t get to live there long as a child, but we went back for many visits and I never lost the feeling of “coming home” when we were there. Terrace Park was just a block or so away from our grandparents’ house, and it was beautiful and exotic (although a little run-down in the 1960s), with stone steps, the terraces for which it was named, and stone pagodas built at intervals along Covell Lake. The Phillips mansion on the property served as a community center and was where we kids could learn to make leather lanyards and play board games on rainy days. In the winter, the garage behind the mansion housed lions from the zoo, and we loved to roar at them through the bars, although we couldn’t get one single adult in our family to believe they were actually there!
The old movie theater in Bismarck, North Dakota. The seats were plush, the walls decorated with ornate light fixtures and velvet curtains . . . and the movies they showed could bring a young Catholic child to say three Hail Marys in gratitude for a ticket to see “Mary Poppins”. In that very special theater, I saw my father get tears in his eyes during “South Pacific” and I jumped and cheered with my very best friends when the Beatles’ “A Hard Days’ Night” came to town. The next year, we jumped and cheered in our fathers’ shirts, which we had decorated with song titles in honor of the showing of “Help!”
White Point/Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro, California. When we first moved to Lomita, California, in the late 1960s, this beach was a wild, rocky place to explore tide pools, watch surfers who braved the rocks, and see Catalina Island when conditions were right. It’s undergone a lot of changes in the years since, with a paved area for picnic tables, restrooms, and parking. But the tidepools remain the same, with star fish and sea urchins living their lives just inches beneath the surface and pelicans that make their stately flights within a few feet of visitors. I love the sound the waves make as they hit the rocks and stir the pebbles to a song like no other music.
The Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota. Birthplace of my husband, Duluth offers many places that I love. Some of our best memories, however, were made at the Canal Park, where one can watch big ships navigate a narrow canal and head out to Lake Superior and big waters beyond. Chris taught me the trick that captivated me and which we shared with our son and his cousins. Within the Canal Park is a lift bridge that traverses the canal. When ships leave the port, a whistle sounds and counterweights lift the center portion of the bridge, which is an interesting sight in itself, but the illusion Chris taught us brought a whole other aspect to bridge watching. Once the bridge had reached the top and began to descend, Chris grabbed my arm and gestured for me to lay my head and shoulders back on the wall that borders the canal. Eyes focused on the descending bridge deck, I got a sense of falling, and as it got closer, it seemed as if it wouldn’t stop until I was pinned to the wall. It’s very exciting!
The Apple River Access, near Little Falls, Wisconsin. We discovered this hidden treasure of nature in the 1970s, and it has changed very little since then. After a climb down through the woods, visitors are rewarded with a swimming area, and a walk along a river that winds through rocks, creating rapids and tiny waterfalls. It is a place where nature reveals treasures around every corner. Since a quiet little ceremony last summer, this magical place is also where we left a little piece of our hearts.
I hope to have other favorite places as I travel along in life: the Grand Canyon, the Irish countryside, a quiet café in Amsterdam . . . but for now, I think these will do.