It’s Time 1/7/18

When we arrived home from Mackinac Island this October I decided to take a break from writing until the first of the year. I confess to having an ulterior motive.

For at least two years now, I’ve been thinking the lifespan of Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog has really more than run its course.  When I began the blog in 2009 it was just at the beginning of the social media era.  Bree’s Blog was one of only a very few places on the web where folks could go for information about Mackinac, and I slid myself right into that special little niche – reserved for the dear folks who believe Mackinac Island is magical and the most beautiful place on earth.  The blog blossomed, and at its peak nearly 2,000 readers a day stopped by to see what was happening with the Hortons and their pooches on the island.

You followed us home to our precious lake house in Georgia for winters and packed up with us for the move back to the island for the season.  You gave us support and love through so many hard times – selling the condo on the island and our home in Georgia, moving into a rental while we built a new home in Florida, my hysterectomy, Bear’s knee surgery and two years later his death, hurricanes – the list goes on.  But for every hard time, there were hundreds of good times – endless summer days exploring the island, listening to the trees sing their song in the up north woods, riding hundreds of ferries back and forth across the Straits, horse and buggy adventures, nights at the Pink Pony, the discovery of Ted’s birth mother’s family . . . the list again goes on and on.  Even when we weren’t on Mackinac you traveled with us – a trip to Colorado to a ski resort, a trip to Alaska, a trip to Key West, a trip to an amazing little island in Canada, and numerous trips to Flagler Beach as we built our home.

The decision to post the “Throw Back Thursday” posts has given me so much joy – looking back at those first few years and remembering things I haven’t thought about since they happened.  But they also gave me the strength to say . . . .

It’s time.

I’ve told almost a thousand stories about Mackinac Island, and there are many other excellent blogs being written about the island.  All you have to do is Google “Mackinac” and hundreds of resources appear.  Through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and all those other media channels out there that I don’t even know the names of, Mackinac is now an open book.

This past summer on Mackinac was a little bit of a wake-up call for Ted and I.  We seemed to spend a lot of time recovering from spills – and we blamed most of them on Bodie.  But, being totally honest about it – and although Bodie did play his part – a lot of those falls and spills were because our reaction times have gotten slower, our ability to heal quickly has slowed down.  Since returning home we’ve begun to think about the time we would no longer be able to return to Mackinac on an extended time line.  We’ve begun quietly searching for other places where my need for cooler summers would be closer than 1300 miles away.

Until that time comes, and we pray we’ve still got years ahead of us before we have to get serious about it, I selfishly want to enjoy every minute on Mackinac without those self-imposed blog deadlines.  I just want to go and enjoy every second of its beauty and peace and magic.

So, it’s time.

What’s next?  The ending of Bree’s Blog certainly doesn’t mean I won’t be taking photos and posting to Facebook – about Mackinac, and about anything else either serious, mundane or silly that happens in our lives.  So, if you haven’t already, please follow me on Facebook.  Just search for “Brenda Horton” and you’ll find me.

And – there is certainly a possibility I will one day (maybe soon, maybe later) find my way back to blogging about something completely different.  But, that’s just a thought now – not a decision.  I do know writing is in my blood, and if I do go in another direction, I will let you know by posting the info here on this blog – so please don’t “unfollow” me here.  I’ll also let you know on Facebook.

Bree’s Blog will live on forever on the web.  I hope in the years to come newcomers who are just discovering Mackinac will click a key and discover a little blog about the Hortons spending part of their time on magical Mackinac. And I pray they know each and every word and each and every photograph is filled with love and thankfulness and the awe of the discovery of my heart’s home.

I can’t even begin to thank you all for the happiness writing this blog and sharing Mackinac with all of you has brought me.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been writing about the island for almost as long as I’ve been retired.  I began it on a whim, and that whim has buoyed me up over all these years and brought the most amazing people into our lives.  As half-year residents of Mackinac, we were given a behind the scenes glimpse over the years to what makes Mackinac tick, and I tried my best to share it all with you – so you could love it as much as I do.

Thank you to everyone to provided photographs over the winters when we weren’t on the island.  Your generosity and willingness to share your talents kept Bree’s Blog up and running over the cold season.  Thank you to readers, friends, and business owners who allowed me access to stories that wouldn’t otherwise have been told.  Your love of Mackinac makes my heart smile.

And a very special thank you to my dear friend Jill.  Without you there wouldn’t have been a Bree’s Blog.  Thank you for all the insider information over the years, the story ideas, and the thousands of photographs.  Thank you for being my sidekick, my always-willing-to-get-up-early partner in crime, my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, my “no-you-can’t-write-that” editor.  But most of all – thank you for being my forever friend.  You are beautiful and amazing, and I love you to the moon and back.  Ok – make that to the sun and back.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written and rewritten this post.  If I’d let myself I would have turned into a blubbering baby and sobbed my way through it.  But I want you all to know I don’t have one regret about the years spent here with all of you.  You all became friends – many of you close friends – and I love you all immensely.  You let me into your homes and lives by reading this blog, and that is the greatest gift writing this blog has given me.

So, for now, it’s time.

 

 

Thanks, Mary, for helping me make what I thought was an impossible dream come true . . .

God bless.

Fling Back Friday – “Lighting the Way to Winter 12/8/17

Personal Note – Part 2 of yesterday’s post from October of 2011.

Lighting the Way to Winter – First Published 10/14/11

October’s poplars are flaming torches lighting the way to winter.  Nova Bair

If you liked yesterday’s fall color pics, today’s should make you just as happy!  I’m finishing up with the photos I took on the last official sunny day of our Indian summer on Mackinac Island – and a couple of that weather change I talked about yesterday.

I love the quote I found for today . . . . flaming torches lighting the way to winter.  I’ve seen that for the past few days here on Mackinac.  The leaves have been so bright, as the sun filtered through, I’ve had to shade my eyes just to look at them.  With the coming of the rain, wind, and colder temps over the next few days, I know we’ll lose those torches.  But for a few more days . . . they burn on.

Again, we don’t have to venture too far from home to find color now. This tree is right next door and is always beautiful in the fall.

Maddie in the leaves

Still at Surrey Hill – this is the old blacksmith shop that has not been in operation since before we bought our condo.

Looking through the horse corral rails.

The road leading to the back side of the Carriage Museum.

Kinda camouflaged, isn’t she!

There’s really nothing I can say about these next few photos. They’re all taken next door on the Carriage Museum property, and with every different angle, I found more beauty through my lens.

“Man, it feels good to scratch an itch!”

My beautiful boy.

As I was about to leave the house Wednesday afternoon (the day the weather changed), Ted called from outside that there were horses in the backyard. He’s been trying to get me to use up all the horse treats we brought with us from Georgia, so they wouldn’t be sitting on the shelf all winter. I threw a handful in my pants pockets and went outside.  The dray was picking up all the items left in the condo two doors down that the new owner didn’t want.  I think the driver was happy to see a bike go on board.

The horses got their treats . . . . .

. . . and then, trying to avoid rolling over our boardwalk, the driver took the dray too close to a tree and got stuck. All it took was someone climbing a ladder with a board, shoving the board under the branch causing the problem, and heaving it up out of the way.  Out drove the dray.

Coming home late Wednesday afternoon as the weather changed, I paused just past the Grand stables and looked back. The fog was coming in fast, and I could barely make out anything down the hill beyond the bikers walking up . . .

. . . and as I walked my bike up the next-to-last hill from home, I could just make out the outline of our condos through the opening in the trees.

Personal Note:  In 2011 I added a “Mystery Spot” game to the blog.  I’d publish a pic of something most folks who were familiar with Mackinac Island recognize, and the first person who emailed me the location of the pic would get a “prize” mailed to them.  I decided to leave this one in today just so you could see how it worked.  The answer is also included.

THE MYSTERY SPOT

This will be the last Mystery Spot of the season, and I’ve made it a really, really easy one.  If you have visited Mackinac Island, you have seen this object because it is right out there in the open!
The object of the Mystery Spot  is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing, AND I’ll post the full photo of the mystery spot at the bottom of the blog with the answer. Is there a prize for the winner – yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is . .

Where is it?

 

MYSTERY SPOT ANSWER

The antique buggy sits on the porch of “The Lenox” building on Market Street. The Lenox is home for many of the Carriage Tour workers and also houses a few of the City of Mackinac offices on the ground floor.  Personal Note:  The “prize” was usually a bar of Lilac soap!

Throw Back Thursday – “Do They Know?” 11/2/17

Personal Note:  I’m often asked where the horses go in winter when they leave Mackinac Island.  Several years ago I wrote a two-part blog that followed a group of horses on their journey from the island to their winter quarters.  I was privileged to be allowed to travel with them on the ferry to St. Ignace and then in a caravan of trucks (pulling horse trailers) into the upper peninsula of Michigan.   Below is the first part of that blog, and I’ll post the second part, “To Fresh Woods and Pastures New”,  on Sunday.  Hope you enjoy!

DO THEY KNOW? (First published October 8, 2010)

“Do you think they know what’s about to happen?”

That was one of dozens of questions I asked Wednesday and Thursday.  I’ve always wanted to go to the Pickford farms, where the horses of the island go to spend their winters, but I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen – at least not this year.  Then a few days ago I put a bug in Doc Al’s (the island vet) ear that I’d like to do this story, and he asked all the right people, and all those people said “ok”.

So there I was at the big horse barn on Wednesday afternoon, where I’d been told by Dale Peterson (who runs the barn) I could watch the blacksmith remove the shoes from some of the horses leaving the island on Thursday morning.

I’ve never been inside the blacksmith’s shop on the island. I knew where it was (on the back side of the big barn where the majority of the Carriage Tour horses are housed) and always stopped by there at the end of the season to take a photograph of the hundreds and hundreds of horseshoes stacked up outside the door.
I watched as Eric and Keith (the blacksmiths) brought two horses out of the barn to have their shoes removed. These were two of the 36 which would be going to the winter pastures on Thursday. Their manes had already been shaved – so they don’t return in the spring with manes full of cockleburs. The haircut also ensures that the returning horses’ manes will all be the same length in the spring, giving the teams a more matched appearance.
Keith is the head blacksmith. While he worked, he explained that most of the horses wear steel shoes on their back hoofs and rubber-over-steel on their front hoofs (to add traction on wet pavement).
Removing the nails which keep the shoes on the horses’ hoofs (the process is completely painless, as is the shoeing itself) requires strength, balance, and the ability to keep the horse calm while the work is done.  Sometimes a simple prop is used to anchor the foot while the shoe is removed . . .
. . . and sometimes the hoof rests on the blacksmith’s hip.
Over 1,400 of the steel shoes and more than 3,000 rubber-over-steel shoes are used each season.  At the end of the summer the shoes are transported off the island for disposal.
Hay wagons travel up Cadotte all the time, but I had never actually witnessed what happens to the hay when it arrives at a barn. Carriage Tour workers were unloading a hay wagon as I was leaving Wednesday afternoon, and I stopped to watch the process. The bales are tossed onto an automated conveyor belt that carries each bale up into the hayloft of the barn.
At the top of the belt, another worker is waiting to remove the bale and stack it in the loft.

Ted set the alarm clock for 6:30 Thursday morning, and I grumbled myself awake.  I needed to be at the barn (a five-minute walk from the condo) at 8 a.m. so I could watch the workers catch the horses in the corral.  I figured an hour-and-a-half would be plenty of time to get myself awake enough to make sense when I got down there.  Silly me.  I’d forgotten how many months it’s been since I had to get up at 6:30 (almost 2 hours earlier than I’ve been getting up lately).  I needed to wash my hair (don’t ask me why – I just felt like it needed to be washed) – which I did.  I needed two cups of coffee so I wouldn’t growl at anyone (I made the coffee and didn’t have time to drink a drop).  I couldn’t decide how many layers to wear (after checking the Weather Channel for Pickford – an hour north),  I decided on three, saddling myself with two too many – it was a gorgeous northern Michigan Indian Summer day.

I left the condo at 7:50, and arrived at the barn to find taxi and Carriage Tour drivers busy washing and harnessing their horses for a regular day.

This two-horse hitch carriage was getting a quick rinse before pulling out for a day of transporting island visitors around the island.

It was while I was watching the horses in the corral that Dale walked over, and I asked, “Do you think they know what’s about to happen?”

He smiled.  “Oh, yeah – they know”, he said. “We have 36 going today, and yesterday all of their shoes were removed.  They are never put into the corral without their shoes.  So they know something is different.  And the ones who have been through this for a few years learn to anticipate it.”

A few minutes later, Eric moved toward the corral, opened the gate, and he and several other barn workers began to catch the horses, bring them outside the corral, and group them into four’s.
Denise, from the Carriage Museum, came down to take photos also and shared this one with me late this afternoon. That’s me with the backpack, standing around like I have no clue what’s going on while everyone else is busy, busy, busy.
We’d be transporting three groups of four horses this first trip. All the horses going today were either Belgians (all shades of brown) or Percherons (usually black, grey, white, or dappled).
“Jane” is a new horse this year. Because of that, she had her picture made before going off the island. It will be put into a computer file which stores “mug shots” of each horse owned by Carriage Tours.  That’s Jim holding Jane’s nametag.
Once the horses were grouped, everything started moving really fast. I instantly knew I had really messed up by not riding my bike. When these guys take off to walk down a hill, they don’t think “leisurely stroll”. I started off ahead of them and was soon ridiculously behind.
It was a wonderful morning on the island, and the horses seemed to sense that this was no ordinary walk around the block.  I’m sure the pavement must have felt very different to their feet without their shoes – maybe like that first barefoot day of summer right after school is out.
At Four Corners I knew I was about to lose this footrace. I started out ahead of the first group, and now was being overtaken by the last two groups.
This is another Denise photo (thank goodness!). And yes, that’s yours truly huffing down the hill on the right – now firmly in last place.
A great photo from Denise as one group passes the Grand Hotel.  They are really beginning to feel frisky now!
I took this one from behind (where I stayed for the rest of the trip down the hill).
The horses on Market Street (a Jill photo). I had just turned onto Market and was crossing behind them to Main Street.  That’s Frankie and Hershey on the sidewalk.
I arrived at the ferry dock a good 10 minutes after the horses, and thank goodness we had left the barns early. A crowd had formed on the dock (as it always does when word that “horses are coming” sweeps through downtown). Visitors are awed by getting up close to these gentle giants and love to pet them and snap photos.
This little boy had lots of questions about the “horseys” and wanted to touch them – as long as Mom touched them first.
As much as I’ve been around horses and their drivers for the last three years, I’m still always amazed at how the workers seem to know the names and temperaments of each and every horse – and I’m talking over 400 of these four-legged wonders.  In this photo, Eric was talking to a small crowd that had gathered about the likes and dislikes of each of these four.
And then there’s the obvious love the workers have for these animals – and that love is returned full measure by the horses. Watching them say goodbye always gets me teary-eyed.  Don’t know if I could handle doing it several times a week as they do this time of year.
I think these four were saying, “As soon as we get to the farm, let’s plan a party!”
Loading time finally arrived, and the first group was separated and led into the ferry – one by one.
Not a single one of the 12 balked. It was like they were thinking, “Ok – gotta take a little boat ride in order to start the vacation.”
The last group boarded, and I asked if I could go inside on the horse level to take photos. No worries – but they did suggest I might want to take the photos, then go topside for the trip over.
The horses are all tied individually at the rear of the ferry. Most have made the trip so often they take it all in stride.
“Let’s get this show on the road – uh, water!”
The Huron is a lot different from the catamaran we’re used to riding. It’s main purpose is to transport freight of all descriptions (including horses) back and forth across the Straits.
And we’re off!
The only other “civilian” on the boat was Tarry, who works with the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce. She had crossed with the horses many times and had all kinds of good suggestions for photos.
The horses made the trip just fine.  Next step to freedom – a trip down the gangplank . . .
. . . then a step up into the horse trailers.

On Sunday, we’ll travel to Pickford and watch the horses unload into what – to them – must feel like Heaven on earth.  You will love it!

Have a great weekend, and God bless.

One Week Home 10/22/17

The Hortons have been back in Florida for almost a week now.  The bags are all unpacked, the dirty clothes from the road trip are washed, and I’ve pressed all the clean stuff that came home in the luggage and just couldn’t be worn until the travel wrinkles were removed.  We are glad to be home.

I love our house here.  And I love our neighborhood, our friends, and knowing Julie and Matt and the grandkids are just a 20-minute ride down the road.  Before we head back to Mackinac next summer, our beautiful Jordan will graduate from high school.  How can that possibly be?

Jordan and Matthew on Homecoming night. It was Jordan’s last Homecoming before she graduates and Matthew’s first as a Freshman this year.

Our trip home was different this year.  We went a different route because Jason’s house in Atlanta is still being reconstructed after Irma dropped two trees on top of it.  We saw some different scenery, but we kind of missed the “tried and true” routine of our normal route.  I think we were most disappointed that the fall leaves were just not yet in full splendor in the mountains.

Jill captured our early morning departure from Shepler’s dock . . .

. . . . and our departing ferry. What a beautiful sunrise that day!

We loved West Virginia. It reminded us a lot of the farmland in Georgia . . .

. . . . except there were more hills!

We crossed into Virginia through a tunnel through a mountain . . .

. . . . and enjoyed some spectacular mountains vistas through that state as well as North and South Carolina.  But the colors – they just weren’t there yet.

The sunset from our deck our first night back was beautiful . . .

. . . . and dinner out the next evening with some of our neighbors made us feel like we’d finally arrived home.

As Bodie stated so eloquently our first evening back, “There’s just nothing like sleeping in your own bed.”

MEANWHILE, BACK ON MACKINAC

In the week we’ve been gone, Mackinac Island has been dressing for Fall in a big way and showing off as only Mackinac can!

A beautiful view of the village of Mackinac Island and the Straits beyond. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Trinity Church steeple against an awesome orange sky. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

Cadotte Avenue and its gorgeous Maples. (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

The Cadotte Avenue trees again with Little Stone Church’s steeple shining through.  (Photoe: Tom Chambers)

A brilliant sky highlights the Mackinac Bridge. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

The Round Island Passage Light against God’s magnificent artwork. (Photo: Steven Davenport)

Just an unbelievable photo from high up in Grand Hotel of Cadotte, the Grand golf course, and the Straits!  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

AND A FEW MORE

Dinner out our first night back at Breakaway’s. Eating outside right across the street from the Atlantic . . .

. . . . and watching a lady lead her pet turtle around with a weed eater. I kid you not. She says she takes him for a walk about once a month by cutting the grass with the weed eater.  He will follow her anywhere – lured by the sweet grass smell! She walked off down the sidewalk with him following right behind her.

The beautiful Cloghaun Bed and Breakfast – all decked out for Halloween. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A group of horses walk up Spring Street below Fort Mackinac (after coming down Turkey Hill), headed for the ferry and a few months of rest and relaxation in the UP. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)

There’s been a few days of rough ferry rides since we left. Jim Mishler captured waves crashing on the Mackinac shore during one storm.

8,000 tulip bulbs being planted in Grand Hotel’s garden so we can all enjoy the tulip display in May!  (Photo: Orietta Barquero)

Maddie: “Just what I’ve been waiting for – Bodie’s head on a platter.”

One of my favorite spots to leaf peek – Mackinac Island cemeteries. (Photo: Pam Day – Ohio)  That’s Pam’s husband Mike on the bike.

A vintage postcard, discovered by Roger Priebe, of the Chippewa Hotel Restaurant in the late 60’s.

Good morning from Grand Hotel. (Photo: Bob Decker)

A beautiful rainbow over the homes of Sunset Inlet. (Photo: Cat Brooks)

WHAT’S NEXT?

A good question – and one I’ll be thinking about a lot between now and the end of the year – and have been thinking about most of the summer.  Until then, I’m going to take a break from writing, but I’ll be back here at least once a week with some of my earlier posts.  Everyone seems to enjoy those, and I’ve sure got plenty to share.  So, stay tuned for Throwback Thursdays!  And, of course, you can always keep up with us on Facebook!

You all continue to be a source of great happiness for me, and I love each and every one of you.  You can’t imagine what it means to me to have you in my life. 

God bless.

 

 

And Away We Go 10/13/17

The bags are packed.  Ted took more than half our stuff over to the truck this morning and started the process of arranging it so we can once again get back home with everything we brought with us.  That part never seems to get easier.

I’ve got the last laundry load going, and anything that gets worn from this point on won’t get washed until we’re back at home in the sunshine state.  All that’s left to do is go out to eat this evening, try and get some sleep ,and be ready when the taxi arrives at 7:15 Saturday morning so we can make the 8 o’clock ferry.

I can’t believe it’s time to go.

I thought I’d post a few pics from around the island this week.  I wish I had a lot more fall colors to show, but those last three weeks of warmer-than-normal weather postponed the height of the “leaf” season on Mackinac.  It’s coming though, and those of you who have plans to visit Mackinac the last two weeks in October should be in for a great show!

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Not much color yet on Market Street, but what is there sure is pretty!  (Photo: Tom Chambers)

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Bodie (and yours truly) is sure going to miss our after-dinner walks in the cool, crisp air.

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All the corn stalks and mums downtown herald the fall season.  There was a bride and groom in that carriage passing in front of the Chippewa Hotel!

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Dinner last night in the Chippewa Dining Room.  Ted splurged and had the Cowboy Steak, and I had the Pasta Di’Angelina with Chicken.  Yum!

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Looking down Market Street to the sparkling waters of Lake Huron!

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Also going to miss watching Grand Hotel horses play in the corral outside the condo!

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Fall colors in the maples that line Cadotte are coming on strong!

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A brief visit to Petoskey this week – a great little Michigan city with a booming downtown.  Colors were more prevalent there.  Strange because they are south of Mackinac.

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Fall decorations at Shepler’s dock in Mackinaw City.

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“Mom.  Would you tell me the story one more time about why we’re leaving? I’m sure I loved the beach as much as I do Mackinac, but I can’t remember why just now.  You say it’s gonna snow here soon?  What’s snow? You say it’s like beach sand, except whiter and colder? I gotta tell you, mom, snow sounds pretty nice.  But I guess sand does too.  Oh wait! Is the beach where the crabs are? And that big grassy area where all the neighborhood dogs run and chase each other?  I remember now!  Ok . . . let’s go to the beach!  But, mom.  We can come back here next summer, right?  Oh good.  Thanks, mom.”

Please remember us as we travel back to Florida.  We’re skipping Atlanta this year and going home by a new route – through the Carolinas instead of Kentucky and Tennessee.  Hoping to see some fall colors along the way!

I’ll be posting on Facebook as we wind our way south.  We’re excited to get back to our Florida home, friends, and family.  I’m hoping the cool weather will follow us home, cause our Florida friends have sure had a hot, humid, and stormy summer.  They are ready for a cool-down!

God bless.

You Gotta Laugh 9/23/17

You gotta laugh.

When Ted and I look back on our three months on Mackinac the summer of 2017, we will laughingly (hopefully we’re laughing) label it “the summer of the mishaps”.  We have definitely spent more time on the ground and on the floor from falls than ever before on the island (which is saying a lot cause I’m a klutz and fall a lot – off bikes in front of horses, over roots in the woods, over my shoelaces, over a crack in the sidewalk,etc.), and we are hoping – from this point on until we return to Florida – we will be staying upright.  Wait.  I hope we stay upright in Florida also!

Most of you already know this from Facebook, but for those who don’t, it was my turn to hit the deck this week.  Actually, it was the street I hit when I stepped into the intersection at Market and Cadotte, and Bodie stepped in front of me at the same time.  I was distracted watching for taxis and tourists and horse poop, and I did a face plant over Bodie’s back into the pavement.

My cheekbone was the first body part to hit the cement . . .

.. . . . followed by the side of my hand as I tried to catch myself. I didn’t. My shoulder was next.  Then I rolled over onto my backpack, and was suddenly staring up at a circle of worried looking people and one very upset golden retriever, who was standing over me like, “Back off – this is my mom, and you aren’t touching her.”

In the next 20 minutes everything that I love about Mackinac Island came into play.

A couple, who I heard say “We’ll take the dog, we have goldens”, took Bodie’s leash and dragged him over to the sidewalk.  They told me later he continued to try to pull away from them and get to me.

Someone got my backpack off, but I was still laying in the middle of the intersection.  Several people asked if they needed to call the ambulance, and I repeatedly said “no”, and then I would hear Jill (who was with me and capturing the whole thing on camera because after knowing me all these years she KNEW I’d want to blog about this) say, “no” again.  My hand was hurting more than anything, and suddenly there was this VERY young, VERY nice looking guy bending over me saying, “May I look at your hand? I’m an orthopedic surgeon.”  To which I replied, “Yes, please.”

He examined by hand in minute detail and said, “I really don’t think it’s broken.  I’d ice it, rest it, and give it 2-3 days.  If it feels worse, get an x-ray.  If it feels better, you’re good to go.”

Now, while all that was going on (I didn’t know all this till Jill told me later), Carriage Tours had diverted taxis and tours in another direction.  The city police were there, as was Shelley, a Michigan state policewoman we know well.  Another friend, Gwen, found the lens that had popped out of my glasses and popped it back in.  She tried her best to bend the frames back into a somewhat normal position, and she did to the point that I could wear them.  Eventually, I was helped to my feet and walked over to the bench beside Mayor Doud’s house.  Bodie immediately jumped on the bench with me, and about that time Ted (who Jill had called) arrived by bike.

The intersection was cleared, and we all went wherever we were going – except for Bodie and I.  We went back to the condo instead of getting on the ferry for a grooming appointment.

All that happened on Tuesday and now today (Saturday), the swelling is way down, and my range of motion is much better. For the first few days Ted took over dog walking duty for both dogs, but I began to take Bodie on short walks yesterday.  So far, so good.

And that’s the Horton Drama of the Week!

PHOTOS

A just-washed Main Street in the early morning. (Photo: Hilde DaVanon)

One of my favorite island quiet spots – in back of the library. (Photo: Yvonne Pitsch)

Island House flowers. (Photo: Pam Magers Schuch)

Impromptu dinner with blog reading friends at the Chippewa: Pam and Mike Day, Denice Magers, Ted and I, Bud and Hilde DaVanon, Pam Magers Schuch, and Jill.  Love these people SO MUCH!

And loved running into these two blog readers from Ohio, Tara and Kyle Brodbeck!

A look up an almost- deserted Cadotte Avenue.

A beautiful late summer day on the island. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Leaving the island for a trip to Cheboygan on Wednesday.

The John D. Leitch off Windermere Point. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Out our window this morning.

That’s all for today except to say it’s the hottest day of the year here on Mackinac.  No worries though.  By the middle of the week it’s going to be into the low 60’s again.  We have company coming the next two weeks and then one more week after that we’re on our way home.  Can’t believe how fast it’s gone this year.

God bless.

 

A Not So Usual Week on Mackinac 9/8/17

Ted and I are sitting here on Mackinac Island – me attempting to put my thoughts together and write this blog, and Ted aiming the remote control – switching back and forth between the Weather Channel and a movie.  Our thoughts and prayers are over a thousand miles south of Michigan, and like everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, we are wondering exactly what Hurricane Irma’s final path will be.  At this moment, it’s not looking too promising for Miami, and yesterday it looked as though our little neighborhood in Beverly Beach would once again be visited by a not-at-all-welcome intruder.  Last year, only about two weeks later than this, Hurricane Matthew side-swiped our community.  This morning Irma has shifted west, which should be a little better news for the eastern coast.  But – Irma is so huge I truly believe pretty much every part of Florida is going to feel the effects – it’s just a matter of to what degree.

Yesterday, most of our neighbors were planning to evacuate, but now more are planning to hunker down and ride it out.  If Ted and I were there, I’m not sure what we’d be doing – staying or leaving.   But – we’re in Michigan.  We did everything we could do to prepare for a hurricane before we left in July – took the boat out of the water, installed the hurricane door stabilizer to our garage door, installed water deflectors in the sliding glass doors, emptied the freezer, etc.

And so – like so many thousands of others – we wait to see what will happen.

I’ve been out and about a lot over the Labor Day weekend and the beginning of this week, and that means photos to share!

SUNDAY/MONDAY

A newly found cousin, Marv and his wife Ruthie, spent Sunday night with us, and then Marv and Ted participated in the Labor Day Bridge Walk. They got to the island around lunch on Sunday, so we had plenty of time to walk around Mackinac – even making it up to Point Lookout and Fort Holmes!

The path – my island favorite – that connects Point Lookout and Ft. Holmes.

Bridge Walk 2017

Seriously now, could they look any more alike? Come back, Ruthie and Marv, when you can stay longer!

TUESDAY

On Tuesday the Mackinac Island Public School opened for the 2017-2018 year. I love that on Mackinac the opening day of school is celebrated by the entire island with a picnic at lunchtime. Every island resident who can shows up at the school at noon to join the students for hamburgers and hot dogs – grilled outside on the school grounds.

Jill and I are so excited to see that Stephanie Fortino is back writing for The St. Ignace News and The Town Crier on Mackinac.  We lost her for a while to another community, but she’s back now, and the entire island is delighted.  She’s just “the best”!

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday Ted was walking down the hall and stepped on a bone Bodie had left on the floor.  The bone is shaped like a wishbone and Ted’s foot treated it like an ice skate.  He basically did a split – and that’s not something 70-year-old bodies are used to doing.  He was in so much pain he couldn’t walk at all.  For 30 minutes I argued he should go to the med center by ambulance, but of course he wouldn’t listen.  It was only after he called the Nurse Hotline of our insurance company and SHE told him to go by ambulance to the med center that he agreed for me to make the 9ll call.

Diagnosis – severely pulled hamstring. Prognosis – good, IF he follows doctor’s orders to rest, take his meds, and stay off his bike for at least two weeks.  I don’t think that will be much of a problem since he’s having to use a walker just to get from one end of the condo to the other.  Bless his heart, he’s REALLY in a lot of pain.

So – I’m now in charge of all the things Ted would normally do during the day – the early morning (before coffee and practically before the sun comes up) dog walks, as well as all the other dog walks we’d split between us, the trips to Doud’s to buy groceries, COOKING the evening meals and fixing breakfast and lunch (we do our own thing for breakfast and lunch, but Ted is usually the evening meal cook) and serving him all these meals on the sofa so he can keep his leg propped up and on the heating pad.

I drew the line at going down to the Grand and lifting weights for him, even though he did try to talk me into that.

Many thanks to the Mackinac Island EMS team and the doctors, nurses, technicians and staff at the Medical Center.  We are always so impressed with the level of excellence in medical care we have here on Mackinac. 

!THURSDAY/FRIDAY

Chambers Corner is still in full summer bloom  . . . .

. . . but I spotted a few leaves practicing their fall colors on the trees lining Cadotte Ave.

Beautiful container garden in a sitting area along Cadotte.

An everyday scene at Windermere Point. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Looking down Market Street toward Lake Huron.

Stopping to rest while carrying grocery bags up Fort Hill. I’m in awe that Ted does this hill ON HIS BIKE with groceries in his basket. Geez, I am such a wuss!

A very old dray wagon parked on the side of the road to town.

Veterans Park is always full of blooms, but this year it seems even prettier than usual.

A black squirrel atop a white picket fence – spotted next to the post office.

Can you spot something unusual in this tree next to the Metivier Inn?

“I climbed the ladder and crawled through the tunnel, mom.  Now you want me to do what?”

PRAYER REQUEST

  1.  Please remember everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as Irma continues her destructive path – and those in the numerous islands she’s already passed through.  Praying that no other lives are lost.  As Florida Governor Rick Scott said at a news conference this week, “We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life.”
  2. Please pray for speedy and complete healing for Ted and for a truck-load of patience for me.  Wait.  Please pray for a truck-load of patience for Ted too.  I/m sure we are both going to learn some good life lessons from this.

Everyone in Irma’s path – stay safe.

God bless.

Island Postcard #2 8/22/17

Hi Friends!

Slowly, but surely, things are starting to return to more normal island activities.  My cough crud is definitely better, and a few days of enforced rest have helped my ankles return to almost their pre-island size.  So – six weeks into our 13-week stay – I’m getting up to speed and hopefully can finish out this trip with a lot more writing and photos than have come your way so far this summer!  And – hopefully – this is the last blog of the summer that will begin with a health report from yours truly!  Thank you SO MUCH for all the prayers lifted over the last few weeks.  Y’all are just the BEST!

In the category of “Things you don’t see out your window everyday – even on Mackinac”, I submit this entry.  Have you ever heard of slacklining?  Me either!  Our condo neighbor’s grandson is visiting this week, and he put on a slacklining demo for us early one morning.  It’s like tightrope walking, except the line is flat and made of a weaved material.  The tension can be changed just by tightening the line at either anchor – in this case a tree and a utility pole.  This young man was very good at this and kept us – and dozens of island visitors who happened to walk by – entertained for a good hour!

I walked downtown on Saturday evening to meet Ted for dinner.  At close to seven, the streets were much emptier than just a couple of hours earlier.  There’s always kind of a mass exodus from the island around 6 pm, as day trippers return to the mainland.  I confess to staying away from the downtown area as much as possible during the day!

A huge pot of petunias next to Trinity Church.

This pooch was getting a help up the hill from his sweet mom. Bike baskets are for more than hauling groceries!

An awesome Straits of Mackinac shot from Tom Chambers on one recent foggy morning. That’s the Ottawa and the James L. Oberstar passing by Windermere Point, with a Star ferry in the foreground.

A Bart Theron sunrise photo on Aug. 19. No words needed.

On Saturday night Ted and I walked down to The Island House for dinner. We hadn’t eaten there in a year or so, and we had a wonderful meal. Of course, the view from the dining room is awesome also. Afterwards we called for a taxi and, while we waited, we sat in rocking chairs out on the porch and watched as the light slowly dissolved into darkness. The taxi took almost an hour to arrive, but who cares! With this kind of beauty to take in, sitting and rocking is a very pleasant pass-time.

Dave and Diane, who were supposed to arrive today, postponed their trip until September.  We look forward to seeing them next month when they celebrate their anniversary on the island! 

Had a video chat with Blake on Sunday morning, and he looked and sounded great. This photo is on his second night in Ankara – with other team members.

Have a great week!

God bless.

A Rainy Day on Mackinac 8/17/17

Hi Friends!

The Horton clan awoke to heavy rain this morning on the island, and a few hours into the day it’s still coming down.  It’s one of those days when you don’t feel guilty for not going out and enjoying everything Mackinac has to offer, so I’m sitting here at the kitchen island, laptop open . . .

. . . looking out the front door glass at the rain creating little riverlets on the street, dog toys scattered everywhere, and pups watching the windows for any signs of Ted coming home from the weekly Men’s Breakfast at the Yacht Club.

After I wrote the last blog, I continued to push myself on my ankle, and I paid for it later in the week.  So, as of yesterday, I’m trying to do better.  I declared myself “off my feet” except for stuff I just couldn’t avoid doing, wrapped my ankle in the compression bandage the Med Center had provided, elevated it when possible, and really rested yesterday. This morning my ankle was less swollen than it’s been for three weeks, so I have the same plan for today.  Cough is basically the same.

And enough of that.

The good thing about “pushing it” is that I have lots of photos to share!

After church last Sunday I had to get a pic of the pots of geraniums lining the entrance to the church. Is there anything more welcoming than red geraniums?

On the walk home that day I slipped into the Grand Hotel’s gardens . . . .

. . . and came back out at the beautiful, curved red bench sitting strategically in a corner just off the sidewalk. It’s a great place to stop and rest on the walk up the hill or just to people watch!

Thanks, Jill, for getting this photo of two blog readers who stopped in the Island Bookstore recently. That’s Ashley and her mom Penny – both from Chicago! Thanks for reading the blog, ladies!

Loved these bikes with their “wheels of light” on Main Street the other night!

A typical busy day on Surrey Hill.  A visitor has pulled a chair out into the sun and is eating lunch (while texting, of course), people are walking down to the Grand stable to see the horses and the carriage museum it houses, and a private buggy, pulled by four Hackneys, waits in the shade for its passengers.

Bodie, in the closet and trying to figure out a way to get the dog treats out of my vest pocket.

Blog readers and friends Tony and Yvonne stopped by the condo one afternoon this week. They were at Grand Hotel celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. It was a nice day to sit on the porch and chat!

A beautiful sunrise captured by Max Jones.

Bodie and I left the island on Tuesday for his first grooming in Michigan. So proud of him – they said he was great for them in the tub and on the table. Still a little leery of the drying room, but he’s getting better at that too! He loves the ferry – and the taxi rides!

We were at a party downtown a few nights ago and got to enjoy a great sunset from the private dock.

Walking home after the party. We love Mackinac after dark.

We happened to get to this corner at the same time as a Mackinac Ghost Tour!

Beautiful Fort Mackinac.

Love this family of blog readers. You might remember Brittany as the college student who was in St. Augustine for a few weeks with her education major friends. She and the family called yesterday wanting us to join them at Sadie’s for ice cream, but I was determined to stay off my foot as much as possible. So I said, “Y’all come on up!” Loved visiting with Brittany, mom Lori, dad Craig, and brother Josh!

 UPDATE

Blake landed at his destination this morning around 4 a.m., after leaving Jacksonville early in the morning on Wednesday.  He texted this last night around 11 pm, and I had to laugh out loud. I can so see him, earbuds firmly planted and oblivious to everything else going on around him.  Blake’s text:  “You know, there’s that point in your day when you’re jamming out to some Jackson 5, some Commodores, some U2 – and then BOOM – wheels touch down in Istanbul. Surreal, but a very good moment”. He later flew on to Ankara.  Thank you so much for all the prayers that lifted for his safe journey.  Please continue to remember him as he settles into this new life.  (Photo is from a few weeks ago in Colorado.)

We have company coming in on Tuesday (Dave and Diane Bennick, who we stayed with on the trip up).  We love that we’re getting to see more of this great couple.  More “new family” coming in September!

Y’all have a great rest of the week.

God bless.

Back in My Happy Place 7/27/17

Hi Everyone!

We’ve been on the island now for almost two weeks, and I think we’re about settled in.  I’m a little surprised that the first week was harder than usual for me – physically I mean.  I knew I hadn’t been exercising much in Florida since it had gotten so hot (short walks with Bodie just don’t equal “in shape” on Mackinac).  The first walk up the hill to our condo left me breathing hard and thinking, “Geez, what the heck is this?”  But, it’s amazing how fast that climb got easier each time I did it, and yesterday Bodie and I covered over two miles of trails – up and down hill – and came back to the condo feeling great.  It makes me feel better that Bodie is having to get in shape too, but for some reason, I think he’s having a lot more fun than I am during the process.

Weather – what can I say?  We came from over 100 degrees heat index in Florida to here where the temps haven’t gotten out of the 70’s for highs since we arrived.  Shorts and t-shirts during the day, a jacket at night for the last dog walk, and a lap blanket out on the porch in the mornings while we have coffee.  We’ve had a couple of days of rain, but that’s ok.  We’re on the island.  We just pull on the rain gear and keep on truckin’.

Bodie has amazed us by how well he’s taking the island busyness in stride. From the time he stepped off the ferry . . .

. . . and jumped right into the taxi, he’s handled it all with a maturity I really didn’t think he possessed yet. He’s been surrounded by horses, carriages and people and is amazingly calm about all of it.  Maybe Maddie’s “so what” attitude has rubbed off on him!  Still very excited though when he meets new folks one-on-one.  We continue to work on that!

The island is beautiful in July, and we were so excited when we got to the condos to find all the landscaping done, flowers blooming, and butterflies floating from bush to bush.

And, we’re excited that we’ll be right here in this same place until we leave mid-October!

OUR FIRST TWO WEEKS IN PHOTOS

We celebrated our first evening on Mackinac with dinner at the Chippewa (a tradition). The second night we went out with friends Buz and Patty from Oklahoma. They’re here until the middle of September, and we’re so excited we’ll be seeing lots more of them before they leave. I think it was the third night we finally ate at the condo, and then walked down to Sadie’s for ice cream.

One of those stormy days. It’s amazing how quickly I forgot how dirty a golden retriever can get on the wet streets of Mackinac Island! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One thing all that rain produces are lush gardens all over the island, like this one of the west bluff.

As I was leaving the reunion, one of Ted’s newly-found cousins, Diane Caruso, gave us this wonderful pillow she had made because she knew of our love for little Maddie. It’s wonderful to have something “homemade” in the Mackinac condo, and when we leave we’ll take it to Florida, and it will find a home there.

You all know Ted and I have a morning coffee ritual – wherever we are. Maddie in Ted’s lap . . .

and Bodie guarding the front porch seems to be the theme for this summer.

One of cousin Dave and Diane’s sons, Scott, and his wife Tina and their boys spent the day on the island the week we arrived. They stopped by to say hello and added another “personal” item to the condo . . .

. . . . this great candid shot of their family on vacation!

Ran into artist Mary Lou Peters in Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island this week. Love this sweet lady!

Backtracking some now – I know most of you saw this on Facebook, but just in case you didn’t, Ted and I stopped in to see Lowell and Faye for a few moments as we passed through Olivet. It was storming and we had to leave the pups in the car, so we didn’t get to visit nearly long enough!

And one day while we were at Dave and Diane’s, I met Mary Saul and Frankie Thill in downtown Spring Lake for a girls chat session. So happy to see these two sweet friends.

I dropped by Mackinac Mud Pottery this afternoon and was just in time to watch owner Jay Barch creating at the wheel. Love this shop filled with original items. Ted and I use coffee mugs from Jay’s shop on Mackinac and in Florida.

Heading down Fort Hill this afternoon. There it is – that Michigan blue water and sky!

Pretty zinnias at the Grand!

Fort Mackinac on a gorgeous July day!

INDULGE ME – PLEASE

You’re just going to have to indulge me now for this section.  I’ve taken about 352 photos of Bodie since we arrived, and if left up to me I’d force you to look at each and every one. But I’m going to take pity and try and just put up a few of the best ones.  I promise, promise, promise I will NOT do this in every blog this summer, but for this one . . . well, please indulge me.

Mackinac, as seen through Bodie’s eyes his first week:

First of all, the cars here are pulled by animals called horses. Horses are much bigger than me, so I leave them alone. I don’t even bark at them. I have to admit riding around in a carriage is pretty cool stuff!  Would you believe there are people here who sweep up after the horses when they poop in the street.  I sure am glad, cause I don’t think they make poop bags big enough for horse poop!

Out my window I get to see horses in a corral. Seriously, I do.

Mackinac has woods, and being in the woods means I can be off-lead. That makes me very, very happy!

Mom makes me practice my Sit/Stay command all the time here (so she can take photos of me).

Mom said we didn’t have room in the truck for both my crate AND my bed. I’d rather she brought my bed. Maddie shares hers sometimes, but it’s not quite as big as mine.

Mom and I go on long, long walks – usually twice a day, and I’m really getting a full tour of Mackinac. Mom LOVES to take my photo at the different places we visit. Like the gazebo for Somewhere in Time . . .

. . .this place called Anne’s Tablet . . .

. . . . and in the Grand Hotel gardens!

Today we were in Turtle Park and this guy was kicking a soccer ball around. I figured he needed help.

I ran out to help him with the ball, and he stopped what he was doing and gave me great pets!  I thought that was pretty cool, but since he didn’t have treats in his pockets, I ran back to mom when she called.

This is absolutely the best place I’ve ever been so far in my life. It’s summertime, but it’s cool. There are miles and miles of trails to run on. Just about every person I meet wants to pet me. Everyone of you should seriously pack up all your pets and bring them to Mackinac!  They will thank you forever!

ONE MORE THING

Jill and I sat downtown at Marquette Park this afternoon people-watching and drinking our Arnold Palmer Lite Ice Tea (99 cents at Doud’s).  I have it on good authority that Friday, July 28, is Jill’s birthday, so everyone feel free to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY right here!  Yes, she’s going to kill me for doing that, but that’s the way it is with good friends.  We can get away with stuff!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILLSKI!!

See you back here in a few days!  God bless.