Mark and Wendy’s Excellent Adventure: A modern Don Quixote

Editor’s note: Mark Bradford is contributing occasional posts from his diary on traveling the country with his wife Wendy while they rent out their Mishawaka home for six months.

Day 141 of our 190 day sojourn

Monday, November 13, 2023 — somewhere in Florida

I am I, Don Quixote!

Sunday was settling in day.

After a Saturday of doing nothing other than watching college football all day and buying more groceries than I ever imagined buying, Sunday was the day where we finally realized this is going to be our home for the next 60 days, give or take.

Who can complain?  We have our own heated pool (it is bathwater warm, which is very nice), a place to let our dog out so we don’t have to follow her everywhere, a second car for our use and a 2,000-square foot house with no one else in it. Wendy’s mom owns the house and she prefers to split her time between this house and an assisted living facility a few miles away and so we, again, are incredibly blessed. 

So, today (Sunday) we went to my favorite breakfast spot, which is a 5-minute bike ride from where we are staying. After that, we went to a truly remarkable YMCA where we plan on working out 2-3 times a week. After that I found a golf course that no one starts playing on until 8:30 so the guy said if I go early I could probably play by myself (YAY!!!) and have nine holes done in 90 minutes.

In addition, two of our three kids and their families are going to meet us at Cape Canaveral on December 15 for a few days and the cousins (our three grandkids) will see each other for the first time. I am sure there will be lots of pics of that. Our two kids with children have been great at sending daily videos and pictures of our grands and I cannot tell you what that means to us. Like one of my friends once told me before I had grandkids, “Grandkids are a big deal.”

He was right. They are a big deal. As a parent, I was often too busy “tilting at my own windmills” such as the famous Don Quixote from the 1965 musical Man Of Lamancha. As it turns out, like Quixote, those windmills were created in my own mind and were, in fact, only important to me. Still, I tilted at them, looking for some sort of meaning that was not really there.

And now as a grandparent who has excused himself from his own daily grind, just watching our grandkids grow has become an important thing we pay attention to. I am not the best parent, nor will I be the best grandparent, but in the quiet or the evening, I think about the legacy I wish to leave them.  They will have their own windmills, of course. That is what life is. Dreaming the Impossible Dream is not a bad idea, to some extent.

We are equally proud of our daughter who is gay and has established a loving relationship with her partner. Our daughter went through some emotional trauma trying to figure out who she was and is now thriving and accomplishing her own Impossible Dream and fighting her unbeatable foes. 

And so, Monday we will settle in deeper and start living a “normal life” for eight weeks or so. I have a 7:30 tee time, and have my golf bag and shoes all ready to go.

So, tomorrow, this is my quest, to go get that par. (Sorry I just ruined a song for a lot of my friends from John Vogel’s choir at LaSalle).