Good Times . . . and Sad Times 5/28/2013

Memorial Day was beautiful on the Island.  Ted and I biked over to the Post Cemetery to wait on Fort Mackinac interpreters, dressed in period costume, to arrive.  A small crowd had gathered by the time we heard the drum cadence in the distance.

When the first soldiers come around that curve in the road, you can almost put yourself back in time and imagine what it must have been like to be waiting for this same ceremony over 200 years ago.

The Fort Mackinac interpreters, acting as soldiers, walk up to the cemetery from the fort . . .

. . . followed by a small group from town.

. . . followed by the ladies of the fort and a group of visitors from town.

Phil Porter, the Director of Mackinac Historic State Parks, gave a brief history of the traditional ceremony . . .

Phil Porter, the Director of Mackinac Historic State Parks, gave a brief history of the traditional ceremony . . .

. . . and one of the ladies laid a wreath at the grave of an unknown soldier.

. . . and one of the ladies laid a wreath at the grave of an unknown soldier.

At the end of the ceremony, the soldiers fired three rounds, and then came the poignant playing of "Taps".

At the end of the ceremony, the soldiers fired a salute, and then came the poignant playing of “Taps”.

The soldiers and ladies then march solemnly from the cemetery and return to Fort Mackinac.

The soldiers and ladies then march solemnly from the cemetery and return to Fort Mackinac.

Jim and Janice Groat, who have been on the Island for almost a month now, came up for the ceremony.  We will miss them when they have to leave at the end of May.

Jim and Janice Groat, who have been on the Island for almost a month now, came up for the ceremony. We will miss them when they have to leave at the end of May.  Hoping they come back before the summer is over!

While we were chatting after the ceremony, a runner came by, followed by her dog - who was carrying a stick almost as big as he was!

While we were chatting after the ceremony, a runner came by, followed by her dog – who was carrying a stick almost as big as he was!   He stopped long enough to let one of us toss the stick a couple of times . . .

. . . then took off running after his master.

. . . then took off running after his mom.

We stopped by Surrey Hill to pick up some fresh-baked donuts, then went back to the condo until it was time to walk downtown for the Memorial Day service at Veterans Park.  Crazy me – I forgot to take my camera card out of the computer and arrived downtown with no way to snap photos . . .

. . . so I'm borrowing one of Clark Bloswick's.  That's Paul Waundrie acting as Master of Ceremonies.  By the way, I finally met Clark this morning up at the Post Cemetery ceremony.

. . . so I’m borrowing one of Clark Bloswick’s. That’s Paul Wandrie acting as Master of Ceremonies. By the way, I finally met Clark this morning up at the Post Cemetery ceremony.

Since Ted hadn’t visited Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor yet, we stopped in there on the way home.  I ordered Royal Coconut Chocolate (one dip, sugar cone), and Ted ordered his first of many Jersey Mudds.

This flavor has a lot more coconut than chocolate, and it was really good.  On a scale of 1 - 10, with 10 being the best, I have to give it an 8 - mostly because I would have liked a little more chocolate flavor.

This flavor has a lot more coconut than chocolate, and it was really good. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the best, I have to give it an 8 – mostly because I would have liked a little more chocolate.  But that’s just me.

My "one dip" was so large I almost lost it to the floor after one lick!  So they gave me a cup, and that worked much better.  Here I'm trying Ted's Jersey Mudd.  Oh my goodness, it was good!

My “one dip” was so large I almost lost it to the floor after one lick! So they gave me a cup, and that worked much better. Here I’m trying Ted’s Jersey Mudd. Oh my goodness, it was good! 

Ted agreed!  He said it tasted just like he remembers them from the Bon-Aire in Cedarville.

Ted agreed! He said it tasted just like he remembers them from the Bon-Aire in Cedarville.

On Sunday night we had the pleasure of having dinner at The Woods Restaurant with Cindy and John Irish.  Cindy had contacted me about a book she is writing that she wanted to base in a southern town, and they asked us to dinner to get some background about the south and the area of Georgia we're from.

On Monday night we had the pleasure of having dinner at The Woods Restaurant with Cindy and John Irish. Cindy had contacted me about a book she is writing that she wants to base in a southern town.  They asked us to dinner to get some background about the south and the area in Georgia where we live.  We really enjoyed our time with Cindy and John, and I’m hoping to see some of our shared information in her book.

We Tuesday morning to chilly temps and rain – a really yucky day to go off-island for Bear’s grooming – but I wasn’t about to put it off any longer!  Bear and I walked down the hill, caught the ferry, and rode to Alanson, where we stopped at Taylor’d Grooming and Pet Resort, a groomer recommended to us by the Conlons.  After dropping Bear off, I rode into Petoskey and spent a few hours exploring.  It’s a much larger than Cheboygan, and I can see myself really enjoying shopping there this summer.  Bear looked awesome, by the way, when I picked him up later in the afternoon.

Around noon I received a text message from Jill to call her “when I stopped somewhere” because she needed to tell me something.  My immediate thought was, “This can’t be good.” And it wasn’t.  Our cab driver to The Woods last night was our friend Ron McCord.  We all chatted together on the drive out through the woods to the restaurant, and the subject turned to ghost stories on the Island.  Ron shared a couple of his favorites and told us a funny story about one night when he discovered thousands of frogs on one of the Island’s deserted roads.  He dropped us at the restaurant, and I remember turning around on the porch and calling, “Thank you, Ron!”

He answered, as always, “My pleasure!” Then, smiling and waving his hand, he drove away.

That was at 6:45.

A couple of hours later, Ron died from an apparent heart attack as he sat on his taxi seat, talking with someone on the street downtown.  He simply bowed his head and was gone, his hands still holding his team’s reins.

I will miss Ron so much, and so will everyone on Mackinac.  He was one of the people I most look forward to seeing each year when we arrive, and I’d already ridden with him several times this year.  He leaves a wife and at least one grown daughter.  Our hearts and our prayers are with them tonight.

A photo from June 12, 2012 blog post.  We met Ron on his taxi while we were biking around the island that day.  He stopped a moment to chat and told us he'd just taken some young people about half-way around the island to a spot where they could swim.

A photo from June 12, 2012 blog post. We met Ron on his taxi while we were biking around the island that day. He stopped a moment to chat and told us he’d just taken some young people about half-way around the island to a spot where they could swim.  A good memory.

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24 thoughts on “Good Times . . . and Sad Times 5/28/2013

  1. RIP Ron….I met him too & have a pic of him taking us back to the Mission Point one night. I’ll dig it up for ya. 😦 how sad

  2. Brenda — the story of the frogs- Bill was with him that night. It was by the swamp on British Landing Rd. They heard a strange noise and turned the taxi light on and there were thousands of frogs all over the road. Both would talk about it every time we were on the taxi. If you can imagine thousands of frogs peeping all at one time!! Ron said that he would not go back to town that way and went along the shore road! The horses were jumping all over but Ron keep them calm. I don’t think the horses liked stepping on them. Ron was a wonderful man. I know that the ride to BL. will not be the same anymore.

  3. I’m glad you and Ted had a good Memorial Day.

    Very sad to hear about Ron. However, I am touched by someone so filled with love for the island, his job, and his friends, died doing something he loved, and did it so peacefully. Rest in peace.

  4. Brenda,

    I just don’t like to hear about people dying, even when I don’t know them. It always seems so sad, and certainly it is for his family and those who knew Ron. I’m praying for all.

    I was thinking, don’t you think you could write a book with the story set in a small town in Georgia, and another book with the story set on Mackinac Island? Maybe with all that leisure time you’ll have when you move to Florida.

    • If that Florida thing happens, Lowell, I’m promising myself a little more free time – but two books? Don’t know about that!

      Sent from my iPhone

  5. Very sorry to hear about Ron. As noted above, it’s a blessing that he went so peacefully and doing what he loved to do.

  6. So sad about Ron. Great memories though and a great Memorial Day. So good to remember. (I must admit that I like those ice cream photos………I saw those and had to take my momma out for a cone! 🙂

  7. Ron will be missed and we will pray for him and his family. What a peaceful way to leave this world, doing what you love and in a peaceful manner.

  8. So sad to hear about your friend Ron, but I can imagine that would have been where he wanted to be when it happened…..doing what I’m sure he loved.

  9. Hey Bree, Ron has an adult son with I believe three grandchildren. He was such a great man! My kids will definitely miss him!! Always smiling….

  10. Thanks for sharing your story about Ron’s love for Mackinac Island, his job and guests. I will miss him too. He took me up to my home in the Village on Thursday night with my mom and 11year old nephew; my nephew was looking forward to coming back in June to spend the day with Ron.

  11. Sad news about Ron. I was just catching with my old “Town Crier” issues, and he was mentioned in the “News about people on Mackinac” section. If it’s any consolation, he passed doing what he loved.

    I also have perhaps an odd question. I thought I saw last fall in the Crier that the Haunted Theater was getting torn down. Did that happen? I hope not, my kids love that place! Not to mention, what will happen to the displaced bats?

  12. Ron was my cousin. What a lovely tribute you have left to him, thank you. He also has a grown son and grandchildren : )

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