Kleenex don’t go back in the same way they come out. That’s just a little public service announcement from Your Truly and the Peanut.
When I moved to Grand Rapids, I was expecting Detriot. Five years later, I still have never been to Detroit save the airport and the IKEA, but I know that Grand Rapids is not Detroit. I was picturing clouds, grey buildings, factories, alleys, industrial… Batman-ish. [I have since found that is actually describes Muskeegon very well, but I digress.]
We live in West Michigan. Dutch Country. Vermeer Influenced. Christian Reformed. Tulips. Windmills. Wooden Shoes. Frugal-ness. Furniture-making. Farming. I had absolutely no idea there was such a place, such a culture. Italians and Chinese and Irish… they are famous for immigrating and living ‘the old life’. But, The Dutch? Who thinks about the Dutch? Admit it: you think about the Dutch as much as you think about Delaware. Not in West Michigan. Everyone here is Dutch. They are blonde. They are tall. They are stinkin’ good volleyball players. And, they love a parade. I like these people (and their elephant ears) very much.
It’s Tulip Time. And you know me… I support anything involving traditional costumes. I was absolutely dying to put Ry in a little dress and take her out on the town- this, afterall, is why I had a child in the first place: to dress her up and take her out. We spent Saturday in Holland with the VanderKoois hoping to make it to the fireworks that night, but rain dashed all our hopes and dreams. Perhaps we’ll try for this weekend. The younger girls did dress up and dance, though… in the living room. Aren’t they cute? I mean, puh-leeze. Jami knows the specific names for these costumes. I, being a married-in transplant, am still in Dutch training. It’s a long process. [I’ll put up a video of the girls dancing on my YouTube after I publish here, but be warned: girls dancing involves much laughing, non-dancing, and possibly the youngest child rolling around on the floor in the background.]
The mothers dressed up, too… Girl with a Pearl Earring style, but I don’t think there are any photos of us [Oh wait… here I am. My jacket is not Dutch. It’s Patagonian.]. Please do not cry… we’ll dress up again. Jami was a rich farmer’s wife and I was a peasant. I’ll say this: those dresses make the most of Dutch/Polish/Czech hips, God Bless ’em. They know how to do it right.
I am personally very much looking forward to Cedar Spring’s Red Flannel Festival, as well. Crazy country people so near and dear to my heart. Does your town have some culture you need to share?