In case you haven’t noticed, our beloved prairie is really showing its colors. They’re getting to the point that when you do notice a spontaneous "wow" might burst forth. Of course, there may be a certain percent of you who will go "meh."

Fall is underway out here at Lake Tschida, the hues are intense. Everyone out here has pulled their dock, pumps, pontoon and boats, so the beaches are empty. Except for weekends all that’s left out here is a bunch of retirees.

Which reminds me — my granddaughter, who happens to have my heart on a string, is a senior in high school this year so she came out to the wilds of Tschida to have her senior pictures taken. Unlike my senior pictures where my mom dressed me up, drug me to Mohr’s studio and kept telling me to smile, Kelci decided to have her photos in the midst of Mother Nature.

The daughter of a neighbor out here, Krista, volunteered her services and after a few cancellations all the characters in this adventure rendezvoused last Saturday at 5 p.m. This all seemed like a simple plan, but as usual the implementation process wasn’t.

First off, the wind was blowing around 25 mph out of the southeast, which meant that they took an hourlong morning golf cart search to find spots where the wind wouldn’t inappropriately blow Kelci’s hair. After finally discovering which way the wind was blowing they found a raft of places out of the breeze.

Then there was the wait from breakfast till show time. The guys spent the morning chain-sawing trees in preparation for dredging out our bay, which is another story in itself. From there the day seemed to creep by. There was the usual fairy work that involved winterizing boats, sheds and such, but the girls just stayed in the cabin.

Finally the hour was getting close to Kelci’s curtain call. Like all women, this demanded isolation and personal attention that goes beyond most men’s imagination. In the meantime, Grandma Renee started giving orders, "We need a cooler with some soft drinks, a blanket, towels" and a myriad of other items put in her car. So Ben and I hustled up everything on her list and put it in her car.

Then Krista arrived, they all chatted for a while, came up with a plan to photo at least five sites with five changes in wardrobe. It was here that Grandpa Dan and Ben just backed away and let the girls go. After about 15 minutes the three of them hopped into the golf cart and never did come back to fetch the supplies we placed in Grandma Renee’s car.

Shortly after sunset they returned in a state of girlish giggles and immediately went into the cabin to review the photos. Rave giddy reviews were given all around and, of course, Grandpa Dan missed the whole thing because he was too busy catching up on his fairy work.

Little did the rest of them realize that Grandpa Dan has always been dazzled by Kelci’s beauty and he knows for a fact that a mere photo could never capture all of it … but then again she also has his heart on a string and whenever he sees her smile it melts.

Here’s hoping that there are more "wows" than "mehs" in your life, too.

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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