My husband, Dirk, is from Germany. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, but had never been to the USA until we met. So, after the adventure of picking him up in Detroit(Read about the adventure here)I brought him back to Grand Rapids to spend his visit with me.
Dirk loves the outdoors, and loves to windsurf so I thought that he would really love to see Lake Michigan. Admittedly, I tend to take the beauty of the Great Lakes for granted as I lived near the coast line for about half of my life. But, I knew that he would enjoy it. So, on a very cold, windy, yet sunny October day we drove out to the lake shore to see one of the Great Lakes. I chose Kirk Park in West Olive, Michigan. It has some nice wooded trails to walk, a large sand dune to walk down(and flounder like a dying fish when trying to get back up again), and a clear sandy shore to walk along the water.
My husband is the type of person that has never met a stranger. He is very outgoing, and spontaneous. He always has a smile on his face and is ready to take on the world. To him, everyday is a new grand adventure. If he were a dog breed he would be the Golden Retriever, he loves everybody and everybody loves him. I love these things about my husband, because I am the polar opposite. I overthink every situation, then rethink it all again. I am very nervous when meeting new people, and will fret about the meeting for days after, concerned that I have made some terrible social faux pas that will haunt my life forever. Our personalities help balance each out somewhat, it’s a good thing.
(I LOVE this smile)
That being said, nothing I could do would have given him any restraint on the day I took him to the beach. It was a short drive to the coast, and during the ride he spotted some openings through the trees and could see some water. He was already thrilled and we hadn’t even arrived yet. Once we parked, he jumped out of the truck and headed down the wooded path toward the water. I caught up to him and was talking about how much I loved to visit this beach, he wasn’t really listening, he was just headed toward the water.
We reached the top of the dune that looks down on the sandy beach, and there was the Great Lake. My then boyfriend ran down the dune like a young boy and was at the shore in a matter of minutes. He was smiling from ear to ear. I bundled up my coat and waddled down the sand dune, trying not to fall and eat sand. The wind was really blowing, and it was frigid, but it was sunny and beautiful. There were two women walking their dogs down the beach, otherwise it was all ours.
Dirk started to take his clothes off. I stood there, frozen for a moment. What the hell was he doing??!! I quickly ran over to him, yelling at him to STOP!!.
Still grinning like a lunatic, he asked “Why??” “But, I want to go swimming and I don’t want to get my clothes wet.” said Dirk in his thick German accent, still trying to wiggle out of his clothes.
“Because we are in Michigan!!! There is no naked swimming here!! You will get us arrested and charged with indecent exposure! We will be put on a sex offenders list!! I will lose my nursing license!!” I frantically screamed, sounding more and more like a Puritan with every word that came out of my mouth.
The two women that were walking the dogs were now well past us and almost up the dune, into the trees. That was all Dirk needed. Before I could start up my uptight, West Michigan Puritan rant again, he was naked as the day he was born and headed straight for the water.
I just stood there. Then, I smiled and laughed. He dove right into that ice cold October water and swam around. He was so happy! He always knows how to just be happy, and I love that about him. I stood there holding his clothes as he walked back up the beach, still grinning from ear to ear. He shook off like a dog and put his clothes back on, all soaked and wet. He told me that Lake Michigan reminded him of the Northern Sea, and that it was just beautiful. He said that he just had to go into the water, there was no other option for him.
We found an area on the beach with some downed trees to lean against while Dirk dried off a bit in the sun and wind and just enjoyed the day. It was a beautiful day.
We have had many beautiful days since the beach episode. Dirk still jumps in head first and naked with whatever he does, and I still stand on the side lines, anxious over everything. Still, we both always end up smiling and laughing at the end of every adventure. I love our adventures!