Way Back Wednesday – For the Love of An Island 2/8/17

Personal Note:  This post is titled “Way Back Wednesday” instead of “Throw Back Tuesday” because . . . . . . I forgot to do it yesterday (I’m old enough that I can use that as an excuse, and no one even blinks an eye)!

The post below is from November, 2009.  We were getting ready to leave the island and go back to our little lake house in Georgia, and I was reminiscing about the love I feel for Mackinac Island.  I still feel the same way – even eight years later.

I’ll be back tomorrow for Throw Back Thursday . . . . IF I remember.

Header:  An early morning delivery to the airport.  (Photo by Josh Carley).


Let me tell you a story.  Ted and I were walking downtown Wednesday morning, going to the ferry to cross to St. Ignace.  We rounded a corner, and Mike (he is in charge of Carriage Tours downtown, which closed down for the season about a week ago) was coming toward us on his bike.  He stopped when he saw us.

“Brenda,” he said, “Did you lose your camera case?”

“I don’t think so,” I said.  I remembered briefly looking for it that morning to put my camera in to carry on the ferry but had just figured it was buried under something in the condo.

“Well,” Mike said, “Someone found one on a taxi a couple of days ago, and we think it’s yours.”

I wondered how many people had been on taxis with cameras in the last few days.  I told Mike I would check when we got back home, but I didn’t think it was mine.

We walked a few more blocks and ran into Smi Horn, going to the ferry also.  Smi is the Mayor Pro Tem and our neighbor in the Village.  “Brenda,” he said.  “Did you lose your camera case?”

I laughed out loud.  “I didn’t know I did, but now I am beginning to wonder,” I said.

“Well, someone turned one in over at the Lenox, and everyone thinks it’s yours.”  I told him we would go by the Lenox when we got back from St. Ignace.

We crossed over, looked at electric fireplaces (no decision), came back, saw Jill off, ate at Millie’s, went to the post office, then went to the Lenox – an office building for the city.  The first person I saw was Sheri, who works in the office where you pay for dray services. 

“Hi, Sheri,” I said.

“Hi!  Did you lose your camera case?” she asked.  And she turned around and pulled my camera case out of a drawer.

“I didn’t even know I had lost it!  How did you know it was mine?”

It seems that Sheri had been on a taxi a couple of days ago and found the case on the seat.  She asked the driver who had been on his taxi that day.  Two of his riders had been “that couple up at Surrey Ridge with Bear and Maddie” (still known by our dogs, as you can see).

Sheri said she figured it was mine since I have been the one running all over town taking pictures all summer.

So my camera case and I were reunited, even before I knew it was missing.

This story sums up in a few words the reason why this is such a special place to me.  Over the summer, I have been everywhere on this island – meeting people, taking pictures, and asking questions.  I’d say we know an equal number of seasonal and year-round residents.  Living where we do in the Village has allowed us to meet both groups.  We have been welcomed by everyone – not immediately in some cases – but over time, the welcome has been extended.  I remember one day this summer a gentlemen who lives in the Village – someone I had never seen speak to anyone – called “Hi” to me from across the road.  I was so happy I almost cried, and we are now on a first name basis. 

Mackinac Island is not for everyone.  We have been in restaurants downtown, and we have heard tourists say, “Once you’ve seen the fudge shops and the fort, what else is there to do?”  Ted usually has to hold me in my seat so I won’t jump up, join them at their table, and explain that they haven’t even scratched the surface of the island.  Of course I wouldn’t do that, but I sure have wanted to.

We have made many  “beginner”  friends, folks with whom – over the summers to come – we hope to forge real friendships.  And one friend – Jill – I already feel I have known all my life.  An accidental connection?  I don’t think so.  I think God puts special people in our lives for special reasons.

I began this blog because I love Mackinac Island and because folks back home in Georgia wanted a way to keep in touch with us.  It began with 12 readers.  Now I have around 700 a day, and sometimes get eight or nine hundred.  One day, I almost reached 1,000.  Why?  Because there are so many people out there who love this island like I do and want to know everything about it.  Oh, I don’t mean the touristy stuff – although there are those questions also.  But most want to know what it is like to LIVE here – and for those folks, this blog has filled a niche.

I feel incredibly blessed to be able to spend 5 1/2 months here each year.  As I have said before, this island spoke to me when I first set foot on the ferry dock in June of 2000, and it continues to speak to me every day.  Its words come to me everywhere – in the woods, on the hills, past the horse barns, in the spring tulips, at the water’s edge, through the summer flowers, and from the fall leaves.  And the words are always the same – Your heart belongs here, and it always will.  I will give you joy and happiness and laughter. I will give you peace and quiet and rest and calm and contentment. You may travel to other places and love to visit there.  But only here will you find your heart’s true home.  Only here. 

The people in Georgia – our family and our friends – will always carry us back there, and I have a deep longing to get back to them now.  There will never be anyone on the island who will know me and love me like these precious people in Georgia do. They are my foundation and my history – people I have known and loved, in some cases, practically since birth, others for years and years.   I bring my love for them with me when we come  here.  The friends and family who came to visit this summer have begun to understand the love I have for this place, and they know it doesn’t diminish at all the love in my heart for them.  In a perfect world, we could have the people we love the most in the place we love the most.  But here on earth, that seldom happens.  That’s what I believe Heaven will be like – all of our loved ones gathered together in the most perfect place ever.  Can you imagine the joy!

Good Lord willing, we will all meet again right here on this island blog next spring.  I hope, through me this summer, you have grown to know Mackinac Island better and to love it even more.  And whether it is here, or another magical place, I wish you all your heart’s true home.   God bless.



16 thoughts on “Way Back Wednesday – For the Love of An Island 2/8/17

  1. Boy does the island ever speak to you! Loud and clear and that’s why we always go back even after family and friends ask WHY? You need to go somewhere new… ummm no thank you. 😃

  2. I have been to the Island many times in my life, seeing as I live in MI and it is a nice get away for us usually once a year. Had never stayed overnite until a few years ago when our Children gave us a nite at the Grand as a anniversary gift, which we loved. But I never get tired of going there, and I am sure you have seen a lot more of it than I have, and I enjoy learning more about it thru you.

  3. How could that have been eight years ago? I remember it so well! You express feelings that our group has had about that special island for so many years, and people before us and people after us, too. Thank you!

  4. what do residents do with their cars when they board the ferry? do most residents have cars on the mainland? it would be difficult to do grocery shopping without one. have been on the island many times and enjoy the times i spend the night best.

    • Good questions, Susan. Yes, the majority of residents keep cars on the mainland. There are places that rent out space near the ferry docks where they store their cars. Visitors and most summer residents take advantage of valet parking offered by the ferry companies. A quick phone call as you’re leaving the island has your car waiting for you when you get off the ferry.

  5. Brenda,

    I remember reading that blog. Enjoyed it then and enjoyed it again. I can’t imagine not wanting to go to the Island. I just enjoy being there. I don’t know why people think they always have to be DOING something. I guess that’s why I was so satisfied to sit on the bench at Hart’s Inn, reading a book and listening to the clip clop of the horses as they went by.

    Was the picture of you and Ted taken 8 years ago or was it more recent? In either case you both don’t seem to change.

    Thank you for taking me back.

  6. We live in Ohio and try to visit the island every year. On the even years, we stay at the Grand for the CELEBRATE YOUR MARRIAGE conference in October. In the “off” years we try to catch the lilacs in bloom BEFORE the busyness of the Lilac Festival. Taking our bikes is a must, as we try to explore every nook and cranny of the island, always finding something new. I whole-heartedly agree with your deep love and strong bond with this magical place! Once, along the boardwalk, a couple stopped us and asked us to take a picture of them. As the young man handed us his camera, he whispered, “This is a proposal!” So we got to witness him down on his knee, holding the ring box to his beloved and her enthusiastic YES! response. It was the perfect setting for a proposal, and a cherished memory for us. (We even snapped a picture with our own camera to capture this romantic moment with total strangers) Though we will probably never get to experience actually living on Mackinac Island, I cherish every minute we spend there, and always have tears in my eyes as we leave.

  7. I’ve decided that I’ve done a 5k so I could bike around the island. I’ve never done it before, but while I don’t think it would be easy, if I had all day, it can’t be that hard, right? LOL

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