The Loh Life

Wisconsin: Whippersnappers-- part 1

Sandra Tsing Loh meets the parents of her gentleman friend.

People have been ASKING me, recently, why I look so tanned, relaxed, and…pleasantly PLUMP--? (And I’m fine with that--!)

The answer is that I have just come back from a rare and exotic summer trip that NO one else I KNOW has taken.

YOUR family-- Your very educated, "industrious" family-- Well! You may have gone to Africa, or Bali, or maybe JUST up the coast to San Luis OBISPO to snap photos of a MISSION to get that jump on fourth grade.

A couple of my GIRLFRIENDS did an end-of-the-SUMMER, kids-are-in-camp SPA weekend in CALISTOGA, complete with aromatherapy MUD masks and intensive Pilates-- Good for them!

In contrast, I went to Wisconsin for six days to visit the PARENTS of a gentleman friend--
But these are not just ANY parents. These PARENTS, Tuck and Tweedie--these PARENTS are, like, 74 and 72--
Which is to say, in my HAGGARD, 50-ish, sandwich generation WORLD? FRIGHTENINGLY YOUTHFUL.
These SEVENTYSOMETHING KIDS-- They get UP at dawn to run, they take MORE bone-strengthening vitamins than I can COUNT.

They whirl ABOUT to buy Native American CHOTCHKES in a dizzying array of flea markets before four-WHEELING it back to their GORGEOUS lakefront lodge. Back home, they split wood with a CHAINSAW, then tromp DOWN to the garage to put SNOW TIRES on the car in preparation for the impending Wisconsin WINTER.
And for DINNER?

TONIGHT we have RIBS that have been soaking in an. . . apple wood-infused MARINADE out of Saveur MAGAZINE that they will slow-cook in a BARBEQUE they built by hand that’s the size of six Marshall speakers. Pair that with two VERY good Cabernets from their FAVORITE local WINE store, where they are best FRIENDS with the owner, Debbie – such a great gal!

"I've HEARD of parents like that," says my friend Carol, in wonderment, as though OVERHEARING a few distant VERSES from some ancient NORSE or Celtic tale. "I've HEARD of parents that you VISIT and they run around and take care of YOU--? But I have never EXPERIENCED such a thing."

Our parents are 84 and 92 and infirm and with hearing loss and melanomas and in wheelchairs with INCONTINENCE and they THEMSELVES require constant turning and BASTING.

"So tell me how it WAS," Carol implores.

And I will….next week!


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