Rendezvous in Prairie du Chien
By Emma Palova
Lowell, MI – One of the most difficult times in my life came in the summer of 2007.
My husband Ludek lost his mold making job in the nearby Grand Rapids. After months of searching, he couldn’t find a job in our area.
He finally landed a job at Zeman’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The firm was opening a new mold making shop in Prairie du Chien located on the Mississippi River right on the border with Iowa.
The town is approximately eight hours away from where we live.
Ludek left on Aug.19 of 2007 before the last concert of the season got rained out. I have great photos of the storm moving in with scary funnel dark clouds.
I had to stay back in Michigan because of my reporting job and our house. I would be alone for the next two winters.
Looking back I don’t know what was the hardest whether the loneliness, the harsh winters or a combination of everything.
The dog got sick, I got sick, the car broke down and the snow kept falling.
At first Ludek was driving every weekend home, but it got to be too much.
I dreaded every Sunday afternoon when he left for the eight hour drive through Chicago. I got him a transporter bag for snacks and food.
Sometimes he took the boat from Muskegon across Lake Michigan. I joined him a few times for a wild ride on rough waters.
I’ve never liked Sundays, but I started hating them. Even today seven years later, I still can recall the desperation of those moments.
Twice I took the Amtrak train to LaCrosse to visit with Ludek. I wrote on the train.
I was even more desperate when I arrived in Prairie because of its isolation from the world.
We stayed in an apartment in downtown on Main Street near an Irish pub Mulligan’s. They had awesome pork right from Iowa. Ludek liked going to Sawmill bar after he arrived at night in Prairie.
We tried to find good things about the whole situation, and one of them is the Rendezvous, a trapper re-enactment one of a kind in the USA.
The Rendezvous is always held on Father’s Day weekend.
…..to be continued
Copyright © 2014 story and photos by Emma Palova