My cellphone awakened me from a dead sleep on Saturday afternoon. I had spent the morning doing some preliminary cleaning, getting ready for company. Ted had worked from 10-2 at the Welcome Center, and when he got home, we ate lunch. I settled in on the couch to read another chapter of a really good book, but my eyelids began to drift shut barely five minutes after I began reading. They seem to do that lately when I get still for a moment, and a few minutes later I was off to napland. As I hurried to the kitchen to catch the phone, Ted’s cellphone was ringing at the same time, and he rushed to answer it.
A man’s voice on the other end of my phone said, “This is Buz (static, static), met you (static, static) dinner tonight or tomorrow night (static).” Now I know three Buz(z)’s. One, an old friend (Buzz) who, with wife Rho, were – to the best of my knowledge – at their home in Virginia. Two, a Buzz who Ted and I had met at the Little Stone Church a couple of Sundays ago; and three, a Buz (one z) who was of the Buz and Patty I had met on the ferry on Thursday (I mentioned in the blog on Friday that he had surprised her with a birthday trip to Mackinac Island – they’re from Oklahoma). In the 30 seconds it took me to get fully awake, with a functioning brain, I also heard Ted saying, “Sure, Jim, we’ll be glad to tell them about the condos and island life.” So with that hint, plus my now awakened brain, plus the Buz on the other end of the line saying “ferry”, it finally clicked that this was “Buz” of Buz and Patty.
Let me go back in time a bit. I had first seen Buz and Patty Thursday when I rounded the corner at the ferry dock with Bear after taking him to Cheboygan to be groomed. I was 20 minutes early for the ferry, so I poured Bear some water in his “canine water bottle with drinking cup attached” and noticed a lady sitting on the bench, with a gentlemen standing nearby. I honestly don’t remember who spoke first, but it was probably me – being the shy person that I am. And I probably said something brilliant like, “Going to the island?” Anyway, they told me about the surprise birthday trip, asked me if I lived on the island, and we talked until the ferry came. We got on board together and chatted the whole trip over. They asked me for restaurant suggestions, and I gave them some tour possibilities. Naturally, I shared the whole “Mackinac Magic” story. Buz groaned a couple of times and said, “Please don’t tell Patty that. She wants to buy a second home every place we visit.” I just smiled and said, “Then you are in big trouble!” I had a taxi waiting for me when I got off the ferry, and they were heading for the Bayview Inn, which is on the water downtown. The last I saw of them, they were walking toward Main Street.
Well, would you believe, after a day and a half on the island, Patty and Buz visited Mackinac Island Realty and talked to Jim Smith about condos. They told him they had met me, Jim said he had sold us our condo and that there was one for sale now in our complex. They biked up the hill and looked at it that afternoon (Saturday). Jim had suggested they talk to us about island living and condo living and anything else they wanted to know, so they were calling to see if we could get together for dinner. We said “sure”. You know there is nothing we like better than talking about this island!
We met Buz and Patty at the Chippewa Hotel and decided to eat dinner in their dining room. It was like talking to two old friends. We had so much in common – children, grandchildren, same outlook on life, same senses of humor – we just hit it off. We closed down the restaurant, and when we noticed the wait staff yawning, we decided we needed to get up and let them go home. We really hated to see the evening end. We talked about church the next morning, and they asked where we were going. We told them The Little Stone Church, and invited them to come. They said, “We just might.”
And there they were this morning when we arrived. We sat together and listened as Vince Carroll gave a wonderful sermon. The Little Stone Church has refreshments after the Sunday service – in back of the church where you can look up at the fort and catch the breeze from across the street off Lake Huron. We introduced Buz and Patty to Jill, and Molly (the pastor’s wife), and several other ladies I had met through Jill, and through attending the “coffee club” at J.L. Beanery. It seemed that everywhere we turned someone was telling them something else wonderful about the island – the small town atmosphere, the close fellowship, the beauty of the island (which they had seen for themselves). Patty’s eyes were sparkling, and Buz was looking pretty much like “I think I’m in big trouble!”
Molly took a picture of the four of us (again, I didn’t bring my camera). Patty promised to email me the picture when she gets home, and I will put in on the blog when I receive it. They were on their way to visit the fort and have lunch at the Tea Room. We were on our way to finish up cleaning for company. And so – we parted again.
A chance meeting – isn’t that how some of the best things in our lives start out? Will we ever see these two again? I don’t know, but I think I can pretty much guarantee that the four of us will keep in touch. And if I were a betting person, I would say that we will see them again. We invited them back to island – to stay with us – and yes, we meant it. Sometimes you just instantly connect with someone, and that is what happened with Buz and Patty and Ted and I.
So thank you, Patty and Buz, for letting us share your vacation. We hope something we said will bring you back to our magical island – maybe even as neighbors! God bless.