Rolling Down the River
New baby! Charlie, born August 22, was the perfect newborn: sleeping, eating, pooping, repeating. His quiet disposition allowed me to gaze upon his dark hair, fine nose, and lanky legs. His almond-shaped eyes remained closed stirring me to ask his mother if he ever opened them. She texted a photo the next day. Big Sister LLJ exhibited mixed emotions, kissing him one moment and requesting with unambiguous gestures that he be moved away the next. Many days on the road, days with family, and the excitement of upcoming reunions were wearing me down.
On Thursday, September 1, Mike and I drove the nearly three hours to Moline, checking into the Wyndham Moline on John Deere Commons. Encountering my Big Bro in the parking lot, we made plans to meet for a walk on the newly completed I74 bridge expansion crossing the Mississippi River. This portion of the river outspans any other river we have encountered, especially in the southwest, where often river beds are dry and used as roadways. It was moving to experience its mass from high above, triggering memories of a dear friend, Walt, who ended his life from that point many years earlier.
We met up with Little Sis and hubby as well as my cousin Joyce from Colorado and nephew Christopher and family. There was drinking and eating involved as we made plans to board the Channel Cat Water Taxi for a tour of the river the next day. Likely, there was a visit to Whiteys for ice cream.
After breakfast with the family in the hotel on Friday morning, we all boarded the Channel Cat, taking in the view from that river that we had never experienced before. Industry occupied the river sides when we were growing up. The recreational and scenic paths lining the “mighty Mississip” did not exist until we had left home.
Mike and I disembarked at East Davenport, a boutique section of the city, developed after we had made our home elsewhere. We opted for a lunch of malts and sundaes at Lagomarcinos, a hometown treasure owned by childhood friends. It was fun to view family photos, identify several of our friends, and connecting with a niece (or daughter?), passing greetings to our friends.
Back in Moline, we ventured to the John Deere Pavillion gift shop, leaving empty-handed after waiting a half hour in line. The clerk did not have time to engrave ornaments, being busy with a tour bus of Brazilian farmers. We weren’t entirely unhappy, imagining their large tabs feeding into the value of our JD stock.
Family trickled into the area over the next few hours. We picked up Adolph’s Tacos to share with C-boy and family as they settled into a hotel. We met up with extended family from Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, New York, and California for drinks at the River Room in the Hyatt Place East Moline set on the property where our fathers worked for International Harvester. This pre-reunion served as an ice-breaker for the next day, as we became acquainted with a smaller number of people—if 30 is small—before the onslaught. Was there a visit to another pub for food and drink? Probably.
By midnight, everyone had arrived. It was time for a sleep before setting out for Iowa on Saturday.