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MTT News's picture
Michelle Phillips

I would like to propose that we just shut down the country for the 2 weeks surrounding the Fourth of July. I mean, really, no one was around last week, and many are off this week, too. I forget form year to year that this happens, and I am caught off guard by it. I am not prepared for the out of office responses, even though I subconsciously must know they are coming.

What would we do for food, you ask? 

Stock up.

Same with beer, soda lemonade, sunscreen, gas, charcoal, whatever you may need.

Just think of it…what if we all got a two-week break. The entire country could come back refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

Matt and I are typically on vacation during this time as well. Every year for several years, before I came back to work at News Publishing, my family would all converge on my aunt’s lake house, located on Wolf Lake in southern Michigan. 

We opted out last year because our lives were in disarray with me commuting back and forth to Middleton. We were also preparing the house for sale and trying to find a new place. This year other members of my family were unable to make the Fourth of July holiday, but our extended family had a reunion the week before. 

My uncle who normally has the dock out, the pontoon gassed up and the towels ready, was still back in Florida caring for his aged mother. The house was closed when I got there and was tasked with opening it all up. 

Spiders scattered as I went systematically from window to window, door to door, and pushed open the panes, bringing a gust of cool lake air through the cottage. I went to the boat house and did the same. In a couple of hours, it was back to feeling like southern Michigan in the summertime. 

Most of the men in my family, aside from one uncle, were missing, and it just didn’t seem the same without my brother, husband and other uncle. In fact, my cousin’s five-year-old kept asking where they were and where the boat was, and on a kayaking trip told me, “We should just go get the boat.”

She scoffed when I told her I didn’t know where it was, which was true. It was stored in some lonely locale, where other boats had been released from their winter slumber. I thought about it all alone in a garage or hangar somewhere, wondering what happened to its family, as I paddled Gracie and I along the shore on a quiet, late June, Wednesday afternoon, my cousin and Gracie’s sister, Remi, straggling behind on paddleboards.    

It reminded me of when we were kids, playing along the shore of Lake LeAnn. When Angie and I were Remi and Gracie’s ages (we are exactly the same number of years apart) playing on the canoe, swimming in the lake, learning to water ski and driving a boat before we could a car.

The whole time I paddled and reminisced about how great it was to grow up in the ‘70s at the lake, Gracie peppered me with questions. Just being kids with no worries of work, or bills, or email–it hadn’t even been invented yet. 

Now we are so connected to work, through our phones, tablets, laptops that we are hardly ever truly away from work. At this time, I would like to commend France for making it illegal to work outside of work. Even those that work from home are required to stop working. That, in my opinion, is how it should be, though I am guilty of working a lot myself.

I guess that’s what I really mean by suggesting that we all take a couple of weeks off. Maybe it isn’t feasible for the whole country to shut down. It is, however, easy for individuals to shut down. Shut down the phone. Shut down the tablet. Shut down the laptop and be in the moment. Enjoy your time off just like a kid in the summer, at the lake without a care in the world. 


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