In 1980 we left our five-month-old baby Chad for the first time with Mark’s parents to spend the weekend with friends Jim and Kathy Sterritt and Al and Melanie Jensen. We drove to Baldwin to stay in a friend’s rustic one-room cabin with no electricity or running water and an outhouse but we didn’t care because it had a big family-size table where we could catch up on life.
Being young parents of a five-month-old Mark and I felt many emotions about leaving Chad. I remember feeling excited about having time to ourselves but guilty that no one could possibly care for Chad like Mark and I could, but we were wrong. Spending a little time away from our baby boy was good for all of us.
Over the years our friends and us began to call these weekends away from our kids “Who Gives A Shit Weekend,” or WGASW. We continued WGASW at different locations from 1980 to 2000 and we were joined by more friends in later years, including the McKenzies, the Rosemas and the Babcocks. We skipped a few years along the way but pretty much every spring on a Friday morning we would meet at someone’s house and caravan to our destination with a stop in Pentwater for lunch and a beer.
As I write this story I’m smiling because on these weekends we laughed a lot and acted goofy. We shared our lives with one another and some of our secrets. We drank a lot but no one gave a shit because it was our WGASW. We were content being friends and just sitting at a table having fun.
Each year we tried to choose a different location up north. We usually rented a big house but the only requirement was that there had to be a big table where we could sit together for meals and conversation. We prepared our meals together and always looked forward to Al and Melanie’s fish dinners. Our weekends almost always included a hike in the woods, the guys fishing and the girls shopping.
We kept a diary of the funny things we did and talked about. Recently we pulled the diary out of storage and one of the things we wrote in 1996 was what quote we would want on our headstone.
Kathy S. – Seize the day! She did live! She was blessed! She loved and was loved!
Jim S. – He loved family and friends!
Al – Born 1955 to Died 2055
Rosemary – Appreciate every day of your life! Enjoy life!
Mark – Life has been very good to me!
In the book I also found a beautiful note from Melanie that I can’t help but share.
I often mention to my other friends & family members that when we (our I don’t give a shit family) get together it seems like just yesterday all over again. We’re so comfortable. So at ease with each other no matter how much time has passed since we last saw each other. I think that means we are all darn fortunate to know each other and stay friends all these years. It is remarkable.