First Day Back 5/19/2010

Oh good grief – ya’ll know I can’t stay away from the laptop when I’m on this island!  Everything I see I want to share with you, so needless to say, you’re getting more than one photo today!

I had to make a deal with myself though:  Unpack – write a little, take a walk – write a little, unpack some more – write a little more, go downtown – write.  It worked out pretty well.

Here are a few notes and pics from our first day back, or maybe I should start with Monday right after we arrived – the bad stuff first.

I give my husband an A+ in loading a taxi!

You remember last year when we got to the condo and didn’t have any hot water?  Guess what.  Repeat!  Only this time, instead of the element being burned out, we had water standing under the hot water heater where a drip pan overflowed.  When our caretaker turned on the hot water a few day ago, he noticed a small leak and placed a catch-pan under it, thinking it would be fine until we got here on Monday.  It wasn’t fine.  So just like last year, our first call was to our plumber friend, Jerry.  Jerry was here first thing this morning checking it out and fixing the leak.  Ted has already decided we need to replace the whole thing because it is original with the condo (1989), but he is hoping to wait until winter.  We’ll see.

This morning we sat out on the porch drinking coffee and watching the Carriage Tour wagons come up the hill.  I cannot tell you the feeling I got in my heart watching that daily routine for the first time in six months.  The sound of horses’ hooves clip-clopping over pavement is one of the most soothing sounds in the world to me.  But – today I had lots to do, so I couldn’t sit around long.  I unpacked one suitcase, then got ready to walk downtown.

So far, this is the only lilac tree I've seen blooming.

I wanted to go with Jill at 10 a.m. to meet other friends who were arriving on the ferry this morning.  Nothing makes you feel more special when you dock than to see smiling faces waiting for you, and it’s an island tradition to meet friends when they arrive and see them off when they leave.  As I was walking across the hill by the horse corral, I noticed one lilac tree about to be in full bloom.  Don’t panic if you are planning to be here for the Lilac Festival.  That was the only one I saw – no clue why it is so far ahead of the others.

Jill met me at the bottom of Turkey Hill, and we walked into town together.  Our friends who were arriving at ten called to say they were running late and wouldn’t get here until 12:30.  I knew I couldn’t stay downtown that long, so we just ran some errands.  I stopped in at the Arnold Ferry office to purchase commuter tickets for the season and ran into one of my favorite people on the island – Richard, who Ted and I met several years ago.  Richard lives on the island during the summer and spends most of the day either in the corner park across from Doud’s or on the Arnold dock.  Richard is retired and is an avid “people watcher”.  We exchange Christmas cards every year and either Ted or I (or both of us) see him just about every day downtown.  Richard is a character, and I mean that in only the fondest of ways.

Our friend, Richard.

I’ve been hearing about the “school bus” for a couple of years now, but have never seen it until today.  We’ve been on the island this early before, but I guess we were never in the right spot at the right time.  The “bus” is actually a Carriage Tour buggy, filled with novice carriage drivers.  The carriage is driven by a veteran tour guide and the “students” ride the same route over and over, learning the history of the streets they will soon be driving on themselves.  There is a script they follow, but the really good guides always throw in tidbits that they have researched for themselves, along with cute stories about island life.

A bus-full of fledgling carriage tour drivers.

Several chapters of the Red Hat Society were staying at the Grand this week, and the group below was waiting for Carriage Tour tickets.  The Red Hat Society was founded by artist Ellen Cooper, who gave a friend a 55th birthday gift consisting of a red fedora purchased at a thrift shop.  She also gave her friend a copy of Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning” which opens with the lines, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.  With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t fit me.”  Cooper repeated the gift several times on request and eventually several of the women bought purple outfits and held a tea party.  Now there are 70,000 members and almost 24,000 chapters in the U.S. and 25 other countries.  It is the largest women’s social group in the world.

Jill took this great shot of the Red Hat ladies.

We visited several shops and said “hello” to the owners we knew.  Last year when I arrived on the island I knew practically no one.  Today, I spent the morning visiting friends all around town.  Amazing!

Me with Nicole, who owns Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. I could do some serious damage to my debit card in Nicole's shop!

After all the errands were run, including stopping at the post office and dropping by Doud's to get something for lunch, Jill walked with me halfway home. We met Joan Barch coming down Cadotte with her grandbaby. Joan was the census taker for the island this year. She visited every island resident on her snowmobile.

Spotted this dray full of plants headed for the Grand - maybe to the greenhouse?

What can I say? The tulips are blooming at the Grand.

This beautiful dove was strolling past tulips growing along a white picket fence in a yard on Cadotte.

Anna's back! I saw her as I passed the Grand. Anna is a poop scooper, and she has turned that position into a public relations career. If anyone smiles bigger than Anna when they are working, I want to meet them. Love that Anna!

I can’t promise this much for the rest of the week, but we’ll see.  Since I wrote the paragraph above about the hot water heater, it has begun to leak again, and Ted has ordered a new one.  Enough with hoses running from the third floor to the second floor sink, draining water out of that tank – Ted wants it fixed!  Me too – I am not a fan of cold showers!


32 thoughts on “First Day Back 5/19/2010

  1. Bree – I am so excited to find your blog. You are living my dream and I am delighted to be able to follow your Island adventures!

    My husband & I began coming from Indiana to Mackinac in the mid-80’s and now bring our two youngest grandkids (10 & 11) every year. every year we stay a day or two longer; hopefully one day we can stay for the whole summer!

    My “bucket list” dream is to spend a year on the Island to be able to experience all of the seasons. until that happens, your blog is at the top of my Google Reader and I will look forward to regular “fixes” about my favorite place!

    • Welcome, Kathy! Ted and I are so blessed to be here all summer. I’m still wanting to “do” a winter, but I have to convince Ted about that – so far, no luck. Never give up on that dream of being here for the summer – dreams DO come true!

      • Thanks, Bree — I’d love to say “hi” in person when we visit this year; we’ll be bringing our doggie Sophie and staying at the Park Place, so we’ll be close to everything! I know Soph would LOVE a playdate!!

  2. You are surely jinxed with that water heater but I’m glad that Jerry was able to fix the leak while you order a new one. The tulips are simply gorgeous!
    Happy Wednesday!

  3. The lilacs down here bloomed about 3 weeks early this year. Normally they hit about mother’s day but were in full force by mid-april.

    • I can see it now – “There’s Bree, doddering around town with her camera, still blogging after all these years.”

  4. Ahhhh the pictures are back! Are you sure your not a real photographer who just writes blogs on the side? 😉 Gorgeous pictures, the tulips are to die for and its so nice to see pictures of people from last year. I can actually say, hey I remember them 🙂 Sorry about your water heater Brenda but I know that’s not stopping you from enjoying island life. So happy for you.

  5. Thanks for the great photos…I feel like I have just “strolled around town”.

    Sorry about the water heater “ordeal”. Just think how happy you will be when the new one is installed! It is good that the problem surfaced now instead of when you had a lot of company!!Keep those great photos coming! Judy

  6. It will probably be another year that we won’t be able to make it to the Island, but, thanks to you, I can enjoy it through your pictures and stories. So glad to hear you made it safely! I’m looking forward to reading your blog all summer.

  7. I just found your blog, and what a dangerous blog it is. I’m ready to shoot up there right now. You have beautiful photos and I can’t wait to see more.

  8. What a joy when I clicked on a link and read your blog! Love, love, love it! You have a gift for making the reader feel like they are a part of your world.

    A Michigander my entire life…I harbor a secret dream of spending extended time on the Island. Living vicariously through you!!

  9. Brenda, I’m so glad your Mackinac blog is back full time. If you don’t mind I “borrowed” a tulips photo to put as my wallpaper on my computer…no trip to Michigan for us this year, but I’m seriously hoping for next summer (gotta do one last trip with the step-kids while we can before they are too busy…they are 19 and almost 21 now). I love living vicariously through you while you are there!!

  10. I didn’t realize how much I have been holding my breath waiting for you to get to the island but I’m sure I can almost smell the flowers and the horse poop now and it is sublime. The temp here is 90 with 110% humidity. I’m getting so excited that I’m going to start packing. Don’t let the water heater spoil a second of your bliss. When is the fireplace coming?

    • We continue to check on the fireplace. It is in St. Ignace. Ted may have to swim over and tow it to the island with his teeth. More to come . . . get packing!!!

  11. Loved all of the pictures today. The one of the carriage tour drives was interesting. I had always wondered how they learned the right way to take the tours and all the information. Thanks to you I now know. Come Sept. when we’ll be on the Island I plan to visit Nicole and her shop. I’ve been following her blog and she has some really nice things.

  12. I too loved seeing all the pictures for today. I can’t wait for this weekend and Saturday when I can come over to the Island for the day. I love to take pictures too and will load up my SD card.

    Looking forward to hearing & seeing more of the island that I love too.

  13. The pictures look beautiful! Looks like you were greeted with amazing weather! I can’t wait for our trip up to Mackinac this year. Last year we went around my birthday which is coming up in June.

    I really enjoy viewing all of your pictures .Really gives an insiders view on the behind the scenes happenings of the island.
    Enjoy and I hope the hot water heater problem gets fixed asap! I am with you I really cannot stand cold showers.
    Have fun!


  14. Hi Bree,
    I can feel your happiness of being back on the island right through your words. I look forward to reading about another season of island livng with the “Horton Four.”

  15. Your photos are fabulous! Please continue to share so we can keep up with everything until we arrive. Looking forward to meeting you.

  16. Jack Lalane (?)would have already had that fireplace to the island and been spitting fish out. Tell Ted he’s a slacker. I hate to inconvenience the plumber so we wont come visit until the hot water heater is fixed. Nice ya’ll had a safe and pleasant trip north.

  17. Love the blog and the pictures! I am so glad to read all of the updates! Hope you get your hot water fixed!!
    Have a great day!

  18. Thank you for taking the time to make this blog. My mother & I were walking from Grand Hotel to the village (after attending Win-Some Women) while you were taking some of these pictures. We, too, saw the “school bus” for the very first time and the dray loaded with plants heading up the hill. We were just a little ways ahead of you!

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