Sunday was a picture perfect Father’s Day on Mackinac Island. I had gone to the movies with Judy over at Mission Point Saturday night, and since the movie didn’t start until 9 p.m., we were almost midnight getting home. We saw Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks, which was long (but very good), then we called for a taxi to bring us home.
Ted was already sound asleep when I tiptoed in, so I got his Father’s Day card from me and another one from Maddie and Bear and put them out on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot, so he would see them first thing Sunday morning. When you have children spread out all over the world like we do, having even one of them at home for a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day is a rare thing. It didn’t happen this year either. But that’s ok – they will all be up here in July, and we are getting very excited about that.
We had a leisurely cup of coffee, then decided to walk down to the Chippewa for breakfast, which for us is usually a carton of yogurt for me and a banana for Ted. We were due for a serious sit-down “let’s see how much we can eat” breakfast – one of those where you decide right then and there that lunch is out of the question. We walked down Turkey Hill, which brings you out at the base of Fort Mackinac, just in time for the raising of the flags. Boy and Girl Scout troops from all over Michigan alternate weeks on Mackinac each summer, and one of their duties is to raise and lower the flags each day. At the fort, Scouts are spaced up the hill leading to the entrance, and the flags are raised in unison. Where flags are flown in other locations around the island, the ceremony is performed at precisely the same time. It is a stirring sight to watch these fine young people honor our nation, and just as stirring to watch adults stand at attention while the flags are raised.
We opted to sit outside for breakfast at the Chip, where it was still relatively quiet in the marina. A bank of fog that the sun had not quite burned off hovered over Bois Blanc and Round Islands.
It was a peaceful setting for Sunday breakfast, and the restaurant filled up fast. There were lots of daddies and moms and little children, daddies and moms and teenagers, and older couples like us, whose children were other places on this special day. Ted knew our crew was thinking about him though because the cards had already been received, and the calls had come this morning before we left the house.
Ted ordered his favorite Chip breakfast – a casserole filled with eggs, cheese, hash browns, and peppers. I usually order the parfait, a mixture of yogurt and granola with fruit, served with the best banana nut bread in the world. But today I was seriously hungry. I had skipped dinner last night in favor of movie popcorn, so I ordered the Chippewa Big Breakfast – eggs, home fries, bacon, toast and fruit. As we savored every delicious bite, the harbor came slowly to life – people going off island lined up on the docks, the ferries arrived, and boats began to come into the marina. I leaned over the rail where we were sitting and took a picture of the beautiful clear water.
After we left the Chippewa, we walked over to the Island Bookstore to pick up Judy’s newspaper and one for ourselves. Judy pays for the papers a month in advance, and the bookstore holds one for her each day. We had just missed Jill, who works in the bookstore, modeling some new scarves they had gotten in. Jill is trying to help me find some additional information on Anne’s Tablet and Constance Fenimore Woolson.
We walked up Fort Street, and I stopped to take my umpteenth shot from this exact same spot just below the Governor’s Summer Residence. Everyday I tell myself, “don’t take another picture from here”, and everyday I do it anyway. No matter how many times I look out over the water from the top of this hill, there is always something different to see. At this moment it was the way the water had been stirred up by the ferries, making the lake resemble a giant mixing bowl full of cake batter that you’ve dipped your spatula in and twirled around. A few second later, it was smooth as glass again.
We had taken a lot of time at the restaurant, then poked around downtown, walking in some shops and window shopping others. Ted had an interview planned for early afternoon for a volunteer job, so we took a shortcut through the woods. We’ve been walking the trails that wind through the woods on this island for years. We always encourage tourists who are staying downtown to get a map and go exploring. The trails are well-marked, and you will get to see there is a lot more to Mackinac Island than the fudge.
Ted’s interview went well, and he will begin working two half-days each week. I made him his favorite meal for dinner – fried cube steak, rice and gravy, and green beans – can’t get much more southern than that!
It was basically a normal day for us. We find ourselves spending a lot more time together when we are on the island. The option of jumping in the car and “going somewhere” is not available without a ferry ride first; therefore, we find ways to entertain ourselves that are more peaceful and special – “quality time together” takes on a whole new meaning.
Because it was Father’s Day, I found myself thinking of my dad a lot. He died before Ted and I ever began coming here to this magical place. I know he would have loved it – the water, the woods, nature. He was a country boy, born on a small farm in South Georgia. He grew up during the depression, was a “glass half-full” kind of man, and had an amazingly joyful spirit. Mom used to ask him when he was ever going to grow up. He’d always laugh and say, “Never, I hope.” I’ve felt like a grown-up all my life. But now here, on Mackinac, I’m discovering the joy of being a child, and I know my dad is loving that I have found my way here. Love you, daddy.