In which ladies Jacinta and Rissa storm the wilds of Wisconsin

This weekend passed in quite the blur, so now that the guest linens are tumbling in the dryer, I thought I would sit down and remember what I can.

I was under the impression that a host stocked up on liquor before an event with the idea that their stores would be depleted. But somehow, the contents of our cupboard have more or less doubled over the past several days. Loaves and fishes, wot wot?

Well, the adventures began Thursday last. I believe one of the first forays was out to the Mackenzie Center in Poynette. Yours truly started the weekend off right by introducing our guests to the local law enforcement.


Flagged for going 40 in a 15 zone, to the danger of children and pheasants alike. For the record, I would just like to say this is the first time I have been pulled over in years, I promise.

The rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully enough. We admired some lackluster fall colors, and strolled the animal sanctuary, looking at buffalo and wolves and an eagle and a raven and a. . .

Oh wait, I did expose us to shame and ignominy just once more that day by petting a deer and having a park ranger instantaneously halloo across the grounds, “please don’t pet the deer!”

Ahem. Anyhow.

And we started a batch of blackberry wine, watched Jeeves and Wooster, and ate chili, and that was that. Day 1, exeunt.


Jacinta’s dear husband worked in the morning, amid the bangings and clangings of the Hondurans who are painting our house at present. I would say we had a quiet morning, but — bangings and clangings, you know.

For the afternoon, we turned our gaze upon the neighboring town of Baraboo – an old circus town connected to the Ringling Brothers, incidentally. We visited the nearby Natural Bridge State Park and admired the wonders therein.

Having gotten a taste for lawlessness, apparently, I forgot to bring my state park pass along — but happily, we were in and out quite quickly and did not get caught and arrested by any park rangers for the offense, so I succeeded in exposing the guests to no further danger. For the moment.

We rolled through the bucolic countryside, admiring barn quilts and treehouses, and had a few moments to browse the charming Village Booksmith in Baraboo — really the best kind of book shop, chock full of nooks, crannies, and obscure titles.

And then we continued on to Driftless Glen distillery for a tour and tasting. It was hopping! Too hopping to successfully order an appetizer, unfortunately, but I scored a bottle of my favorite double cask gin while we were there, and I believe Jacinta and co. came away with a lovely bourbon.

And then, home. I will maintain that I was quite adequately sober when this drive began — really! No joke! — but I managed to drive us twenty minutes in the wrong direction before realizing my phone’s map app was on mute — no doubt it had been hailing me and trying to reroute the whole time…. Well, what can you do. As if that wasn’t enough. . .

I saw deer at intervals, and was driving with caution and attention.

But all the caution and attention in the world could only do so much when — out of nowhere, a deer leapt across the road right in front of us, to the squealing of brakes and the tossing of guests. We cleared it with mere inches.

Needless to say, everyone was relieved at the thought that my dear husband would be off work for the rest of the weekend and able to take charge of the whole chauffeuring thing. I mean, police stops, misdirection, and close calls with deer? My track record was starting to look pretty sketchy.


Now, Saturday was going to be a success. I had booked tickets in advance to a corn maze — one that claims to be the largest in the state! (It has fellow claimants …) We were to lunch at a local brewery where everything is delicious, and then off to the maze. I left three hours for lunch. It was foolproof.

Until there was a half hour wait for a table….and then, once we had our table. . . . Well,the story that was eventually related to us goes like this…. The server put our order in. . . But the printer ran out of paper JUST after the drinks.

But in the meantime, we waited, and waited, and looked at our watches and contemplated the maze entry time, and waited….And one or more husbands made inquiries….ha! But we were saved in the knick of time, received a free round of drinks, wolfed our exceptionally delicious long-lost lunches, and just barely made it to the maze on time.

The corn maze was delightful — the menfolk took to it in true boy-scout fashion, and orienteered their way through in record time, catching all the secret, off-map bonuses while Jacinta and I tramped dutifully along for the ride. Duck races were won and lost. The absence of other friends was lamented. Fairy doors were found. Leftovers were had for dinner. I have NO idea what movie we watched that evening, so the drinks must have been flowing, as well.

Sunday was a quiet day. My dear husband smoked salmon and ribs which I supplemented with a beet/kale salad and butternut custard. Movies + drinks + drinks + drinks + drinks + dri– you get the idea. Ha. Treasure Island with rum. The Zorro movie sequel with absinthe and friends. . . (I had not known there was a zorro sequel. It was fun.) Oh, the homemade strawberry and elderberry wines were trotted out on this day as well. Jacinta read an entire book, despite the activity of the day.

Monday. The menfolk were once again working. I guess someone has to. In the afternoon, however we did check out the massive Columbus antique mall, and stayed till closing and only saw a fraction of it. And then, to a liquor store we are particularly fond of, where Jacinta scored some long-sought Revel Stoke Pecan Whiskey and we stocked up on Drunken Sailor rum. (Two out of two Deens recommend.)

And then we bar hopped! Frontier in Poynette, which, though charming, was out of cheese curds.

And travelers to Wisconsin must have cheese curds, of course.

So further on to Fitz on the Lake — where, happily, we did find cheese curds, local brews, and a lovely moonlit lake view. Home to Jeeves and Wooster and the sampling of the day’s alcoholic acquisitions….

Apple Brandy tastes like friendship.

And today the revels came to an end. I guess that’s a wrap on Gibson Vacation 2021.

But there will definitely have to be writing retreats and girls weekends in the coming year. Jacinta makes a compelling case for a week of wineries and writing in the lovely state of Virginia….

So there we are. And on that note, I think it’s time to change the laundry and watch more Jeeves and Wooster.

P. S. I feel like I also ought to mention Mabel who greatly enjoyed all the extra attention and treats and has spent the day sleeping it all off. 😅


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