Hello from H.O.T. Georgia. 85 degrees here today at Lake Blackshear, and nothing but 70′s and 80′s in the forecast for the next two weeks. As I’ve said before, there have been many turkeys eaten in shorts, t-shirts and sandals at our Thanksgiving table in Georgia over the years, and I have a feeling this might be another one. But that’s ok – Ted and I are so looking forward to seeing children and grandchildren gather around for the holiday – who cares what anyone has on!
Two big news items on the island this week: 1) Hunting Season began Nov. 15; and 2) the Christmas Bazaar is right around the corner (Dec. 2 – Dec. 5).
A large number of the male (and some female) year-round residents are deer hunters who will try to come home with venison for the freezer over the next two weeks. Hunting Season in Michigan is marked on calendars as a holiday, and a lot of businesses will close for a few days, knowing that their male employees will call in sick if they don’t. Michigan hunters take deer season very seriously! Most of the Mackinac Island men hunt on Bois Blanc Island and have had hunting camps there for years. Jeannette Doud reported in her column in The St. Ignace News last week that “many small boats have been leaving for Bois Blanc, carrying men and hunting camp provisions and equipment”. Snow would help with deer tracking, and around an inch is expected on Wednesday evening. Here’s wishing lots of good luck to the hunters, and prayers are going up for everyone’s safe return home.
Ah, the Christmas Bazaar! One of these days I’m going to be on the island for this spectacular event . . . but not this year. If you’re nearby and can attend, it would be a great way to do your Christmas shopping – there are wonderful items to purchase (a lot of them home-made). Before the Bazaar begins on Dec. 2, there will be a rummage sale on Friday, Dec. 1st, in the fire hall, following the lighting of the Mackinac Island Christmas tree at 5 p.m. downtown on Main Street. There will also be a book sale at the Mackinac Island Public Library following the Christmas Tree lighting.
By the way, if you’re not on the Island, and you’d like to purchase chances to win the snowmobile, you can call Doud’s at 906.847.3444. They’re open 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You DO NOT have to be present to win. The proceeds from the Christmas Bazaar benefit Little Stone Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, Mackinac Island Bible Church, Ste. Anne’s Catholic Church, and the Mackinac Island Medical Center.
Other items reported by Jeannette Doud include:
- A film crew arrived on the Island Oct. 28 to film at Fort Mackinac in preparation for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. (It will also be the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Grand Hotel! Next summer promises to be full of special events to celebrate these two anniversaries.)
- The Cottage Inn will reopen Dec. 1, after being closed for a month of renovations. Just in time for Christmas Bazaar!
- Pink roses are still blooming in the Grand Hotel’s Tea Garden.
- Many Island business people are attending the gift show in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, purchasing merchandise for the 2012 season.
This next story is about a friend of Jill’s, who I met at the Grand Hotel a couple of years ago – Dan Dewey. He worked on the island in the 70′s, and leads tours from the Grand Hotel during the Somewhere in Time Weekend each year. This is the story from USA Today, penned by Andre J. Jackson.
“Dan Dewey’s dad, Edgar Dewey, sat in a chair with tubes pumping chemotherapy into his veins in the cancer treatment center of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital. But one Thursday morning in 2007, he told his son he’d like a cup of coffee. Before Dan Dewey left for a Starbucks down the street, they asked other patients in the room whether they’d like a cup, too.
“He’s treating. I’ve got his wallet, and the nurse is holding him down,” Dewey recalled saying at the time.
One cup became several. And now, Dewey’s weekly order consists of 20 or more drinks, depending on how many patients are at the cancer center when he arrives. He is there every Thursday morning, even though his dad died in 2008.
“We love Dan,” said Kathy Courtney, oncology nurse and unit manager. “He’s here rain or shine; blizzard or tornado. No matter what’s going on out there, we know at 10 o’clock, he’s going to be here.”
Everyone knows to expect him: the staff and patients at the hospital, as well as the folks at Starbucks, where workers have come to fill Dewey’s orders so efficiently, they rarely get complaints from customers anymore.
But every now and then, someone wonders why that guy in white shorts and a gray sweatshirt is holding up the line buying so many cups of lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, strawberry smoothies, and, oh yeah, somebody wanted hot chocolate. When the complainers find out, well, they fall silent. And some put money down to help cover the costs.
Dan Dewey, 65, used to pay for the drinks — averaging about $50 a trip — out of his own pocket before a Starbucks staffer stepped in.
One of the baristas, Valerie Edgington, 46, of Waterford, Mich., decided last year to create a special debit-like card through which people can donate money for coffee runs. People can put money on the card in person via http://www.danscoffeerun.net or a Facebook page she set up. She also made T-shirts that sell for $20 and stickers ($5) to help spread the word and encourage contributions.
“He never asked for anything special,” Edgington said. “He just came in every Thursday ordering all these different drinks. Finally, I asked him what he was doing, and I wanted to help.”
The doctors and nurses say there may be something therapeutic about Dewey’s visits. “It’s definitely a mood-lifter, and a positive attitude is beneficial for any patient going through cancer treatment,” said Kathy Courtney, oncology nurse and unit manager.
Oncologist Rajan Krishnan, the doctor who treated Dewey’s dad, said the visits remind him of times gone by in his native India when people stopped by simply to share a cup of tea or coffee. Doing so showed people they mattered. Patients such as Mechelle Burdette, 45, an Eastpointe, Mich., resident with five brain tumors and a spot on her lung, appreciate that. “It’s so special it brings tears to your eyes,” Burdette said of the coffee visits. ” It gives you to the strength to make it through, just knowing the kind of people who are out there. “
Her aunt, a cancer survivor, said she offered to tip or pay Dewey, but he refused. “He said, ‘Oh no. No money touches my hands.’ I don’t think he’s a man. I think he’s an angel.”
Dewey said bringing coffee isn’t just about honoring his dad’s wishes. It makes him feel good, too.
“If anyone doubts why anybody would do something like this, all you have to do is see these people smile,” he said.
Dan’s story touched my heart so much I emailed Brian Williams of NBC News and suggested Dan’s story be featured on their nightly “Making a Difference” segment. No word back yet, but it certainly would make a great addition to those stories. One person – doing a relatively small act of kindness – what a difference he is making!
PHOTOS FROM THE ISLAND
MORE STEVE FRIDLEY PHOTOS
Steve’s photo of Trinity church featured last week will be used on the church’s web site soon. The church requested permission, and Steve graciously said yes. Thanks, Steve, for all you do to capture the Island’s beauty and magic!
That’s all for this week! I know you’re all busy preparing Thanksgiving day menus and starting to get your shopping done. That’s what we’re doing too! See you next week on the Wednesday BEFORE the big day – Thanksgiving Eve! God bless.