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April Jeppson: Sometimes it’s nice to have a little time away

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


It’s 4 p.m., and I’m still at work. I’m starting to get a little panicky. I tidy my desk and gather my things as I remind myself that I’ll be fine. It takes another hour before my van is packed up with our clothes, bikes and my children. I know I won’t get to my destination until after 9 p.m., but the fact that I’m on the road instantly calms me. Let the vacation begin.

I was born and raised in the little town of McGregor, population 404. It’s a sleepy Minnesota town that gets overflowed with vacationers and cabin owners in the summer. My house was in town, so I never cared one way or the other about the “city-iots” that took over the lakes. I figure it’s good for the businesses.

I like to head up north a few times a year, usually just for a weekend. However, once a summer I like to extend that out for as many days as my job or other responsibilities will allow. Five days, three kids, two grandparents and the house I grew up in. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I’ve been here for less than 24 hours, but I’ve already had the opportunity to get in some target practice. Fun fact, I love guns. I don’t care if it’s a shotgun, handgun, 22-bolt action, or a 45. When I was growing up, I attended a local Bible camp each year. We’d have opportunities to learn archery, work on leather crafts, swim — but you could always find me on the rifle range.

My son will be 12 soon, and I felt like it was time to show him the ways of the firearm. You have to be old enough to focus and take things seriously. After much internal deliberation, I knew it was time. My only concern was that he wouldn’t enjoy it. I am happy to report that I’m raising another generation of humans who will love and respect guns.

Tomorrow night we’re gathering for tacos. My cousin and my aunt share a birthday, so for years we’ve had a combined dinner party for them. Some people celebrate with steaks or lasagna. My family goes all out for tacos. It’s an ordeal. Fried tortillas, unseasoned ground beef, refried beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes, jalapenos, avocados, black olives, onions, lettuce, sour cream, homemade salsa. This is no three-ingredient fast-food taco — we go all out.

The next two days we’re supposed to have nice weather, so we’ll be on the lake. We might go fishing or pull the inflatable behind. My father has a fairly large bass boat that goes faster than anyone needs it to, and we can all fit inside so it really doesn’t matter what we do; we’ll have fun.

Sometimes I’ll meet up with friends from high school or even head up to Duluth for the day. I think this week I’m going to stay close to home. Kids start school in just over a week. Everyone is wearing masks everywhere. A major election is just around the corner. Life feels a little extra chaotic right now.

I’m so glad I was able to come up north, even if only for a few days. Sleeping in my childhood room, hearing the soft snores of my children over the cool blowing of the fan. I already miss my air conditioner, but not enough to complain about it. It feels good to take life a little slower and enjoy my family a little more.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.