What We Do in the Heat

We’ve been doing three things in Madison, WI: hanging out at a distance with old friends, walking miles of park trails, and sitting in a stupor due to the heat. Sometimes we’ve combined #1 and #3.


I so enjoyed a visit from were someone Tracy went to UWM with [that’s University of Wisconsin-Madison to you Midwest noobs (i.e. me)]. He and Tracy shared an office for only a year but have kept up with each throughout the years since.

Guy and his wife (hey there, Patti!) sat with us outside the Airstream all one morning and went through a conversation cycle that I’m now fascinated with. All our conversations with old friends cover these topics in roughly this order:

  1. What we’re all up to these days.
  2. What it was like when the virus first hit.
  3. How we’re dealing with the virus now.
  4. How we’re horrified that others aren’t distancing.
  5. Something related to the current administration (and then agree we don’t want to talk about it because we have limited time together).
  6. Old stories about when we lived closer to each other.
  7. How we’re dealing with the virus now (again).
  8. Back to the current administration (can’t help it).
  9. How we’re looking forward to seeing each other after the virus.
  10. Someone has to pee.

Okay, maybe ten items is too many for a pattern. But you see what I mean?

Truth is I enjoy every one of these conversations. I need to tell our stories over and over to wrap my head around these days, and I know friends do, too. This is what we do for ourselves and for each other.


I went to high school with this guy (and the prom as a double-date—thank you Rocky Horror Picture Show for being a positive blip in a mire of teenage years).

How easy it is to digress when I’m blogging about Doug. He has so many bloggable characteristics.

I’ll stick to pertinent data though. The weekend of the 4th was his birthday and the 5th anniversary of his and my Most Excellent Adventure in Chicago when he hosted me for the Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows. We’ve had other grand adventures together—Tracy with—but our timing is remarkable now, five years to the day of our Chicago weekend of bookstore browsing, ferris-wheel-riding, concert-dancing, Picasso-admiring, walking the city and elbowing each other in the ribs and walking more. I’m trying to ignore the bitter parts (such unobtainable activities now) and stick with the sweet.

So, this time I got to meet Doug’s extended family: all delightful, and I mean that. They included us in a family backyard birthday party and loved on Banjo until they were covered in dog hair and had sustained injuries to bare feet (its her sign of affection to stand on your feet).

I’ll cut this short to keep from embarrassing anyone (too late for Doug!)

Madison’s Parks

When not languishing in the heat with people, we’ve been walking park trails here, and there are a lot of them.

Through prairies:

Next to native mounds:

Along streams:

And in the Wisconsin River, which we had time for just long enough to encourage Banjo to swim. Success! (I was too busy keeping my phone dry to get a good picture.)

With a new Banjo shot I’ll sign off.

Today we head back to Iowa to see if we can find camping spots for a few more visits before we head north. The heat is telling us to head north now, but there are more of those conversations we want to have.

5 thoughts to “What We Do in the Heat”

  1. It was lovely to have you guys in town for a few days! If you don’t come back soon, I’m coming to you – and bringing the uke!

    Safe travels!

  2. We’re not even in lockdown here anymore but that’s pretty much what all our conversations are like but with a component of the latest stupidity in the border quarantine facilities (people absconding to supermarkets and booze shops). There’s an expert talking about it on the radio as I type. It’s inescapable.