A Family Affair

 Posted by at 4:28 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 302009

Terry and I love this area around Traverse City, Michigan. It is absolutely gorgeous is the spring, summer, and fall, though we like to be long gone before the first snowflake falls. Having spent part of a winter here years ago while Miss Terry was being treated for cancer, I can tell you it’s no place to be in an RV!

Grand Traverse Bay, with its amazingly blue water, is a playground for swimmers, boaters, and fishermen. The hills are covered in lush forests, and I think we have seen more wild turkeys here than anyplace in the country. The shops in the charming downtown area offer some neat shopping opportunities. If you like to tempt Lady Luck, there are three nearby Indian Casinos operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

We return here ever year for Terry’s annual visit with her oncologist, and also to visit with my cousin Terry Cook and his family. When Miss Terry was so sick, we squatted in their driveway for a couple of months while she was undergoing chemo and radiation, and they treated us just wonderfully. Before then I had not seen my cousin Terry in close to 20 years. We had planned on only a quick visit before Miss Terry got sick, but they made us feel right at home and were a major source of support for both of us during the cancer ordeal. For that we will be forever grateful.

When we first came here, so many years ago, my cousin’s kids, Michelle and Patrick, were teenagers, and now Michelle is a grown woman and Patrick is almost finished with college. That makes us feel old sometimes!

For us, one of the great things about the fulltime RV lifestyle has been the opportunity to connect with family members we had not seen in many years. My cousin Berni Frees and her husband Rocky, whom many of you know from this blog and the Gypsy Journal, have become much more than family, they are two of our best friends in the world.

Berni is about ten years younger than me, and the last time I had seen her she was a little girl when the family came to see me off to Vietnam. We had had no contact in a lifetime, until she somehow learned we were fulltime RVers. She and Rocky were interested in the RV lifestyle, so she made contact and a friendship grew from there. They tried fulltiming for a year or so, and decided it wasn’t the right time in their lives for it, but we still see them a couple of times a year at their home in Muskegon, Michigan.

RVing has also given us the chance to get to know Berni’s sister Vanessa and her hubby Mickey and their kids in Ohio, and allowed us to spend time with my cousin Beverly in Tucson.

Terry was also able to hook up with a cousin she had not seen in years, Carolyn Henley. Carolyn and her husband Mel were also interested in fulltiming, and now they just started on their grand adventure a week or two ago. In Idaho we were able to visit an uncle that Terry had not seen in a long time.

There are many facets to the fulltiming RV lifestyle, and as you can see, the chance to get to know your extended family can be one of them. With relatives scattered from coast to coast and border to border in our modern society, many of us don’t have the close family ties that our parents and grandparents had. RVing can help us renew those relationships.

And of course, the great thing is that if we happen to find a few fruits and nuts on the family tree, we have wheels under our house, and we can drive away!  

Thought For The Day – Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “A Family Affair”

  1. I did not get a chance to read Nick’s Blog yesterday, but I am truly pleased that Terry received a clean bill of health. Good things DO happen to nice people.

    Also on the subject of well built RVs. I have to include Foretravel. They build a motorhome that stands the test of time. I speak from first-hand experience.

  2. Nick we have no fruits and nuts on our family tree do we? Wait maybe that is you. hee hee. Oh no that means it could be me too. No wonder we get along so well.
    Thanks for not only being family but our best freinds as well

  3. Wow. Berni has to be a special kind of person. Not many people will admit to being related to the editor of The Gypsy Journal. Bet she gets a free subscription. Oops I better not use that word Free or Richard will start hounding Nick for a freebie.

  4. Nick, Good News on Terry’s Good Health. We always like to hear, such news! About Traverse City, Mi.— It was our “Town” to shop, when I grew up in Bellaire, 45 Miles from there. I do have a Brother that lives there, in T.C. and several other relatives, close by, that live around Bellaire. It is one of my favorite places, also. What you say about winter time there, is also true! AND, the beautiful water, and sandy beaches. Now, I’m getting “Homesick”! My relatives had a reunion, just last week, and I was the only one of 7, that didn’t make the outing!!!

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