Surprise Vacation

Susan Manzke
Susan Manzke

When Pauline arrived from Australia, all my plans went out the window. – Actually I didn’t have any big plans. Instead of ordinary days, we started an instant Wisconsin vacation.

First, Rebecca took us up to Door County on Friday, and then came the surprise party on Saturday. My plans for Sunday were to spend time with family, but since they were all here on Saturday, no one came on my real birthday. Instead, Pauline, Bob and I went to see Avatar in 3-D. The afternoon in the theater went fast watching that action packed movie. Before we knew it we were back out in the heat of late August.

I asked Pauline if she’d like to tour Lambeau Field. – Twenty-four years ago, when Pauline last visited, she needed a Packer souvenir for a friend but we never went to the stadium. – This time the three of us drove to Green Bay on Monday to join the 9 a.m. tour. Bob and I became local tourists, much like Pauline had been doing in her own backyard in Tasmania.

Bob and I had never taken the tour, so this was a treat for us, too. Earlier we had been to Family night, now with Pauline we sat in one of the luxury suites. Also Pauline and I touched the field when we got down there. Bob didn’t bother. “It’s just grass,” he said. After the tour, we went into the Packer Hall of Fame and then had lunch in Curly’s Pub. It was a good day to be a Packer Fan.

On Tuesday, Bob stayed home while Pauline and I went to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens. Pauline took many photos of our local flora. I kept taking pictues of her examining flowers. The day was overcast with a breeze. A nice change from the hot weather we had at the end of August.

Wednesday we stayed close to home. Laundry swished in the washer as we visited. Pauline needed clean clothes so she could pack to fly away to Dublin, Ireland from Madison. In the afternoon, I drove to Seymour so Pauline could take photos of houses. To me the houses were ordinary. To Pauline they were different from any that were built in her city, Hobart, Tasmania. (During her visit, we stopped by the Hobart sign alongside the road going towards Green Bay. I took a photo Pauline pointing up at the green and white sign. She wanted to show friends in Tasmania that she really wasn’t far from her home.)

Pauline’s final evening with us was to be spent at Music in the Park in Seymour. As usual, I worked handing out free raffle tickets to the crowd. Pauline and Bob settled in amongst friends. My friends who had already met Pauline sought her out to bid her good travels. I was happy I could share my pen pal friend with my Wisconsin friends.

About seven o’clock, it came time for the free raffle drawing. The night’s sponsor was Home of the Hamburger. I was hoping Pauline would win one of the prizes, but her number wasn’t called. Bob’s was. He won a white Home of the Hamburger cap. “I can’t wear a white cap on the farm,” said Bob and he handed the cap to Pauline.

Our little group was waiting for the time when John would ask for the person who came the farthest to the event. Everyone was ready for Pauline to win the big prize, a two dollar bill.

“Who came the farthest to Music in the Park?” John asked. Pauline waved her arms. “I came ten thousand miles!” No fooling. Actually, she came more than ten thousand miles and there was no hiding her Aussie accent. No one could beat that.

We listened to more music as the sun set. At the end of the evening, the 50-50 raffle for the benefit of the Seymour Museum was held. Pauline, Bob and I had all bought tickets. This evening, the last Music in the Park of the season, they divided the money and offered two prizes. The first number was called. A happy person collected the winnings. A second number was drawn. Not even close to our numbers. Darn. The number was announced again…and again. No one claimed the prize. A third ticket was drawn. Light was fading. We all scrambled through the strip of tickets in our hands. The last ticket on Pauline’s strip WON!—Pauline used part of her winnings to become a lifetime member of the Seymour Museum.

After music, Bill Collar gave Pauline, Bob and me a guided tour of the Seymour Museum. We had three cameras clicking: Pauline’s, Bills and mine. Bill also gave Pauline a Hamburger Charlie bobble head to take home. – It was quite an ending to a whirlwind visit.

When we got home, we opened a bottle of Door County wine. Pauline and I talked and laughed past eleven. I didn’t want to go to bed. I knew this was our last evening together, but finally we relented.

The following morning, we drove to Madison where we met Rachel. She took us to the capitol for more photos, before returning for lunch with the twins. All too soon it was time to drop Pauline at the airport. “Do you want me to come inside?” I asked. “You’ll just start blubbering,” said Pauline. We hugged one last time, and waved as we pulled away. Of course, she was right. There would have been a lot of blubbering.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;