:::this is the way the world ends:::

So, uh, what’s we doin’ tonight, boys?

Just dreaming out loud here for a moment. There has been far too much time between visits and get togethers over the past couple of years. Understandable, of course. I am wondering what holiday plans might look like and if we dare dream up a kid-a-palooza event for somewhere down the road. There are too many great kiddos out there now with no real knowledge of the others. Perhaps we could plan something for next summer. i know a place in the mountains that may have enough space and may be cost-effective…just sayin’


  1. Ned

    I’m up for something in the woods/mountains if it’s affordable. I also would be into maybe pricelining all of us at a hotel in downtown Chicago where some of us could drive or fly inexpensively. We would have our own spaces, but could also go to museums, galleries, eateries together, etc. Just a thought. Of course, my kids probably have a slightly longer attention span, but it might not be a bad deal to get some kids on a flight before you have to pay for them.

  2. Shotts

    Peters, give us what details you might have about the Colorado option. Sounds fun–and of course, I’m mortified I have not met Ruby or Iris and Theo. Hope you all are well, enjoying these last weeks of summer.

  3. Amanda

    It looks like Jeff hasn’t answered on this. I can provide some information on the cabin in Colorado. It is near Woodland Park only has two bedrooms and one bathroom. However, it also has a huge loft on the second floor for air mattresses and sleeping bags if people don’t mind sleeping dormitory-style. Could be fun with Woodland Park, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, and Pikes Peak nearby. I spent a lot of time there as a kid because I did (and still do) have family in Woodland Park. The cabin though is Mark Lysell’s and available to us for free as long as our dates don’t conflict with dates that their family is there. Ned, there is a Wolf and Wildlife Center right there next to the cabin.

  4. Amanda

    Oh, and I think we may be interested in Chicago as well.

  5. Ned

    A Wolf and Nature Center sounds like a definite attraction for me. We were initially concerned about how far it is, but we’re not saying it’s out of the question.

  6. Shotts

    Thanks, Amanda. That is a beautiful area of Colorado. Speaking for myself, I don’t mind sleeping dormitory style, but I think with little kids who are not, as of this writing, great sleepers, others may not be so inclined to share space with us. But I think it’s a fun idea for a few years down the road, at least for the Aspengren/Shotts.

    I think it would be especially tough for J.E. and Liz and for Toby and Steph to travel a good distance, though I don’t want to assume or speak for them. For ourselves, our experience with gathering a lot of people and kids together for several days and nights means that, by day three, it’s not that great on the kids. I think we’re realistically a few years away from doing something like this and have it be fun and relaxing for us and for those around us. Those are my two cents on this.

    I’ll just be honest here too and say we’re in a situation where we save up our resources in order to fly the four of us out to Washington State to see my parents, mountains, ocean, Seattle, etc. once a year or so, and then we have the Aspengren lake place for some of the late spring to mid fall, and we do a lot to try to help take care of that place. That’s about the extent of our summers! We’re fortunate in all of this, but it means it’s tough to schedule and afford a lot of other travel. Maybe that will change down the road.

    I know Ned and Sara are in a totally different stage of parenthood, so maybe they would be more able to do this. And that is probably true by now for Jeff and Amanda. I think the rest of us are likely just trying to keep the balls up in the air, eke out some sleep, make it to and from work, have some fun with our little ones, with hopefully just enough gumption to keep one eye on the future.

  7. Shotts

    Peters asks about our holiday plans too. I’ll respond here, from us. It’s a slim possibility that we’ll go to Washington State for Thanksgiving, but seems more likely at this point that we’ll be here in Minnesota, with Jen’s family. For Christmas and New Year’s, we will definitely be here in MInnesota.

    Sorry we won’t be in Kansas. With that in mind, however, let me ask who among us is considering attending the MHS Class of 1992 twentieth reunion next August? That could be a possibility for us, though we would need a place to stay, and i’m a little disheartened to think of going without any of my family around. I think Jen wants to go more than I do!

  8. Liz

    Ditto what Shotts says, for the most part. J.E. and I would both love a Hollow Men vacation, but there are a couple of things that we would need in order to ensure that we’d enjoy our time and have the expense be worth it. First, the twins need to be old enough to follow instructions, as in: stay over here away from that sheer cliff, or stop throwing rocks at brother/sister/chipmunks. Second, we’d need our own room. Sadly, I’m too old and curmudgeonly for dormitory-style lodging. So maybe the cabin, while awesome for small groups, won’t work for such a large group?

    But I’m all for Colorado. Or Maine. Or the Yucutan. Just spitballing – My point is that most places in North America will be just as easy for us to get to as the next since getting there will probably require either air travel or very long car trips.

    We won’t be in KS during the holidays. We will be in McP briefly for Jerry’s 50th anniversary at FBP&S party in October.

    Uh…See you all in 2015!

  9. Shotts

    Thanks, Liz. I hope it won’t be 2015, but would welcome seeing any and all of you. Perhaps next summer or fall, we could reserve a weekend at the Aspengren lake home since it does have five bedrooms of various sizes and types, a good kitchen, two bathrooms, and is generally set up for kids. So that is one option to consider, though it means travel for everyone else. Another option might be meeting up in Washington State and having time at my parents’ house (and we could possibly use one of their friends’ homes, if more room is required)–though that means travel for everyone and expense and you couldn’t really just do it for a weekend but would need a good week to make it truly worth it. But I have to say, it’s pretty great out there in their little retirement world. I know my parents would welcome us, whether they are there or not. Those are the best invitations I can provide, anyway, in terms of group gathering possibilities.

    Amazing about Jerry’s fiftieth anniversary at Frank Black!

    Again, anyone considering the MHS twentieth reunion next year? I would be far less inclined to go if you all can’t go and/or are boycotting. Maybe there would be some way to rent a place around Lindsborg for that weekend and some of us could stay there and/or at the Peters’ home, as space allows? Just thinking ahead.

    Hope things are going well for all of you.

  10. Ned


    If your kids are “normal”, Eliot will be a teenager before they listen to you when you say, “Stay away from that sheer cliff.” If, on the other hand, your kids grow to be somewhat like mine, Eliot will be in college before they listen to you when you say, “Stay away from that sheer cliff.”

    So I say that and this acknowledging that everybody’s feelings are reasonable here.

    Sara is apparently quite interested in going to CO. I don’t know if Jeff and Amanda are looking for a Gannon/Peters trip. Sara is also interested in going to the reunion, which I am trying to talk her out of.

    I will say that I carried Eliot all over the Catskill mountains when he was 1 with a powerful dog nearly dragging me over some precipices, and I have fewer fonder memories. I also carried Eliot to the top of Johnston Canyon Falls in British Columbia when he was 5 because he was too tired to walk. It was definitely easier when he was 1.

    I would like to meet everyone’s children, but I think I am the only one who has been to all of the others’ homes so if we decide we are all happy to not see each other for some time, I will be a bit sad but will fill the time I’m sure.

    I also offer my congratulations to Jerry. That should be a memorable occasion for you guys.

  11. Liz

    Heh. Yeah, I guess I don’t really expect them to obey commands necessarily, but hopefully be old enough to at least understand verbal commands. We have had a lot of fun w/ my niece and nephew at ages 1 and 3 in national parks, but the 3-year-old was exceptionally well-behaved and determined to walk as much as possible. So maybe not a typical kid in that regard. And there were a several times that my brother’s wife stayed in the cabin while the rest of the group went hiking because bringing the baby along wasn’t practical.

    We’ve also had spent a lot of Park Vacation time with ADHD Alexis at various ages. Some of those times were an absolute blast; other times I thought for sure she’d plunge to her death.

    I personally have no interest in the reunion in and of itself (I don’t even want to go to my own HS reunion). However, if the reunion is simply a catalyst to bring you all to Kansas, then I’d be much more interested in making the effort. I suspect J.E. feels similarly.

  12. Tobias

    I think Steph and I are pretty adventurous with the kids these days, and they’re really flexible. However, we haven’t really had them out of their routine for more than a day or two. After that, things tend to spiral a bit.

    It does sound fun, and I think we’d be ready for it within a year or so. I also have an aunt halfway in Quinter, so we can break up the trip and make it easier on the kids.

    During the semester, we’re pretty busy with school. Clara is at her preschool now, and Steph is teaching a couple courses, attending class, and working on her dissertation — as well as her private clients. I really feel lazy when I think about it 😉 So, it probably won’t work with the exception of summer break.

    Liz, your comment about “stop throwing rocks at brother/sister/chipmunks” reminds me of the Bethel Paper editorial Jerod wrote back in the day. His columnly advice would be “throw that rock.”

    We’re counting on the Class Reunion. The world will end later that year, so what the heck. Mayan calendar jokes aside, I went back to visit McPherson for the class of ’91, and it was a lot of fun. I hope you guys will attend too, I imagined spending more time at non-official events than the official ones. If you guys need a place to stay, we have multiple Becker family homes in the area and I can ask around. I know hospitality has been extended to us many times and we’d be happy to return the favor.

    Miss you all….

  13. Pete

    I am very pleased that this has not fallen on deaf ears. A couple of things- one is that for travellers through the area, we are always willing to host with enough notice. also, we are open to smaller gatherings, such as a gannon-peters mountain adventure. We took Ruby at 4 months to Colorado and would again at any point. for hikes and things we have a very cool baby-as-backpack contraption, but everyone has to do what they are comfortable with. Regardless, I hope we can all find windows of time over the next year or two. perhaps another shottsengren lakehome adventure. hope all is well. let’s carry on the conversation.

Leave a Reply

© 2024 The Hollow Men

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑