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.

Throw Back Thursday – Catch Up! 5/4/17

Personal Note:  SOOOO many faces in this one you’ll recognize if you’ve followed the blog for very long!

I’ll be back on Sunday with a pre-Alaska blog.  This time next Thursday we will be on the way to Fairbanks!

FIRST PUBLISHED JUNE 30, 2013

I’m getting a really late start writing tonight (because we had the most perfectly beautiful day you can possibly imagine on Mackinac, and Ted and I stayed outside and enjoyed it until hunger drove us in).  So, I’m going to just toss up some photos with captions and let that do for now.

We had some foggy days at the beginning of last week, and fog creates some strange illusions. Loved these "waves" of wisp

We had some foggy days at the beginning of last week, and fog creates some strange illusions. Loved these “waves” of wispy fog clouds between the break wall and the lighthouses.

We ate in the Chippewa one evening and watched the fog roll into the harbor . . .

Ted and I ate in the Chippewa one evening and watched the fog roll into the harbor.

When we stepped out onto Main Street to start home, the streetlights shining through the fog turned Main Street

When we stepped out of the hotel to start home, the streetlights shining through the fog gave downtown’s Main Street a rather haunting look . . .

. . . and the east end

. . . and the east end really looked eerie in front of Marquette Park.  Good night for the ghost tours!

Mike Forrester and his family rented kayaks from Great Turtle Kayak Tours and really enjoyed paddling around the marina. We need to go kayaking!

Mike Forrester and his family rented kayaks from Great Turtle Kayak Tours and really enjoyed paddling around the marina on their next-to-last-day on the Island.   Talk about a serene scene!  (Photo: Mike Forrester)

Ted and I met blog reader Jeff and his family - Camille, Lisa, Mia and Jake - at Sadie's Saturday for ice cream. Flavor #5 - Blueberry Cobbler (vanilla ice cream with blueberries AND pieces of cobbler crust)! Oh. My. Goodness. Another 10!

Ted and I met blog reader Jeff and his family – Camille, Lisa, Mia and Jake – at Sadie’s Saturday for ice cream. Flavor #5 – Blueberry Cobbler (vanilla ice cream with blueberries AND pieces of cobbler crust)! Oh. My. Goodness. Another 10!

On a walk the other day, we cut through the Trillium Heights neighborhood, which is about three hills further up Cadotte than we are. I really like this area though - lovely homes and nice folks living in them!

On a walk the other day we cut through the Trillium Heights neighborhood, which is about three hills further up Cadotte than we are. I really like this area – lovely homes and nice folks living in them!

Who, me? Uh-uh. Maddie did it.

“Who, me? Uh-uh. Maddie did it.”

Love this view from the East Bluff.

Have always loved this view from the East Bluff.

Jill - getting some puppy love!

Jill – getting some puppy love!

From a trip to Mac City - out-of-the-water sailboats at the marina.

From a trip to Mac City – out-of-the-water sailboats at the marina . . .

ggggg

. . . and the little park adjacent to the Shepler dock.

Pansies! Don't you just love pansies!

Pansies! Don’t you just love pansies!

One day this week we walked into town and met up with Chris Ann and Burton's family at Marquette Park. Two of the grandchildren fell in love with the Bearster.

One day this week we walked into town and met up with Chris Ann and Burton’s family at Marquette Park. Two of the grandchildren fell in love with the Bearster.

chip1

We went over to visit our neighbor, Chief Duck Andress, this week and noticed a chipmunk running up and down the top of his fence. Duck went over and poured out some peanuts and told me to go stand right by the fence and not move. Sure enough, in just a minute or two, Mr. Chipmunk scurried right down to the treats. Chipmunk to himself: “Hmmmm . . . peanuts!”

"I think I'll try one . . .

“I think I’ll try one . . .

. . . or two, or seven, or twelve. Man, I wish I had bigger cheeks!"

. . . or two, or seven, or twelve. Man, I wish I had bigger cheeks!”

Mary Warner, a blog reader, and her entire family were staying at the Yacht Club this week. I biked down to meet her and husband Steve, their two sons and their wives and the three grandchildren. What a fun family!

Mary, a blog reader, and her entire family were staying at the Yacht Club this week. I biked down to meet her and husband Steve, their two sons and their wives, and the three grandchildren. What a fun family!  And guess what, Lowell – Mary and her parents used to eat at the Carriage Lantern in the 50’s, Mary worked one summer for the Benjamin Photography Store, and (drum roll please) Mary, as an 8-year-old, ALSO walked across Arch Rock!  There seems to have been quite a bit of that going on in the 50’s.

 

I loved these t-shirts they were all wearing. Each date is the year that someone new in the family first visited Mackinac Island.

I loved these t-shirts they were all wearing. Each date is the year that someone new in the family first visited Mackinac Island.

Me - hurrying to the library last Friday to hear authors PJ Parrish (really two sisters

Me – hurrying to the library last Friday to hear author P.J. Parrish. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

You'll remember that P.J. Parrish is actually two sisters, Kelly Nichols and Kristy Montee, and their latest book is Heart of Ice, set on Mackinac Island.

You’ll remember that P.J. Parrish is actually two sisters, Kelly Nichols and Kristy Montee, and their latest book is Heart of Ice, set on Mackinac Island.  These two sisters graciously mentioned Bree’s Blog in the Acknowledgement page as a source of some of their Mackinac Island information. 

The library was packed, and the sisters spoke for about an hour about their new book and what it's like to write together - one from Michigan and one from Florida. After the lecture there was a book signing, and the books were flying out of the library! It is SO good!

The library was packed, and the sisters spoke for about an hour about the new book and what it’s like to write together – one from Michigan and one from Florida. After the lecture there was a book signing.  Hope you’ve read Heart of Ice.   It is SO good!

We rode out to today and found a pony wash in progress.

We rode out today to the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center and found a pony wash in progress.

Friend Joan Barch was there with her grandson Jordan. Well, it seems there were no dirty ponies so sweet Blaze got to be "dirtied up" with finger paints . . .

Friend Joan Barch was there with her grandson Jordan. It seems there were no dirty ponies, so sweet Blaze volunteered to be “dirtied up” with finger paints . . .

. . . and Jordan had great fun leaving his fingerprints everywhere!

. . . and Jordan had great fun leaving his hand prints everywhere!

After they decorated Blaze in very patriotic red, white and blue paint, they, of course, washed it all off!

After they decorated Blaze in very patriotic red, white and blue paint, they then washed it all off!  That Blaze will put up with anything for these young horse lovers.

The article reporter Stephanie Fortino wrote on Lowell and Faye's visit to the Island appeared in this week's Town Crier!

The article that Stepanie Fortino wrote about Lowell and Faye’s visit to Mackinac was in this week’s Town Crier!

I have a funny story to tell you, and then I’m done for tonight.  The day that Lowell, Faye, Jill, reporter Stephanie, Ted and I had lunch at the Grand Hotel, we were all sitting and chatting, waiting for our food to arrive.  I totally forget what it was, but Ted said something sweet, and I reached out with my right hand – still chatting with someone down the table on my left – to give him a sweet pat and rub on his cheek.  As I patted and rubbed, I noticed everyone had stopped mid-sentence and they were all staring at me wide-eyed.  I heard Ted clear his throat and say, “Uh, Sweetie?”

That’s when I turned toward Ted and discovered that instead of patting and rubbing Ted’s cheek, I was patting and rubbing the arm of our server.

I put my head down on the table and about DIED! But the waiter thought it was funny (and so did everyone else), and he laughingly agreed to recreating the "scene" for this pic.

I put my head down on the table and about DIED! But the waiter thought it was funny (and so did everyone else), and he laughingly agreed to recreate the “scene” for this pic.  Oh, Lordy.

And that’s the last time I “pat and rub” without looking first!

We have another busy, busy week ahead, with lots of 4th of July activities, and on Tuesday we’re going sailing!  Really excited about that and will share that adventure later in the week, along with whatever other goodies pop up.  The weather is supposed to be stuck on PERFECT all week, so if there’s any way you can jump in a car or bus or train or plane and get up here, you won’t be disappointed!

Have a great week, and I’ll be back in a few days with more good stuff from Mackinac!  God bless.

Throw Back Thursday – Walking on Sunshine 4/27/17

Personal Note:  Loved going back and reading this blog and seeing all the photos.  So many friends are in this one, including sweet Chris Ann, who we lost a few years later.  I wrote it a couple of days after we arrived on the island for the season in May, 2011.

_________________________________________________________________

First Published May 20,2011

“The sun always shines on Mackinac Island” is a local saying those of us who love this place use a lot.  Even when it’s cold or raining, and even when the wind is howling around the corners of the buildings downtown, some of us Pollyannas are still looking up –  fully expecting the sun to peek through at any minute.  To us, it doesn’t really matter what Mother Nature sends – just being on Mackinac makes the sun come out – even if it only shows itself in the smiles on our faces.

By the time I publish this, we will have been on the island approximately 70 hours.  We arrived in sunshine, with temps in the 50’s, but the rest of the week has been pretty wet and pretty chilly.  Here’s a look at what the week’s been like since our arrival . . .

Monday (noon-ish):  After 4 1/2 hours on the road (which included lunch at Ted’s favorite chain restaurant, Big Boy’s (this is a childhood memory thing for him, left over from visits when he lived in Ft. Thomas, KY), we turned into the Shepler’s Ferry docks.  We had some business to take care of before we could board the next boat (parking and season passes), so we unloaded Maddie and Bear and headed for the main office.

Chris Ann and Burton Nelson were on the dock to greet us in Mackinaw City. They stayed with us overnight in Georgia a few weeks ago on their way north from their winter home in Florida.

Taking care of business. Beside me is Captain Bill Shepler, the head of this awesome clan, then Captain Chris, and that’s Misty (head of the Marketing Department) across from me.

 

About to board.

 
 

Bear, Maddie and I getting off the ferry at the island . . .

 
 

. . . followed by Ted with lots of luggage.

 
Following Mackinac Island tradition, friends were on the dock to greet us.  Oh my gosh!  It had been almost seven months since we’d seen these folks.  We were excited!
 

Jill is taking the photo, but that’s Loretta (who owns Martha’s Sweet Shop) petting Bear and Mary from the Grand behind her. What’s in the white box Loretta is carrying? Only the best cinnamon buns, blueberry muffins and raspberry muffins you have ever put in your mouth! We haven’t had to buy breakfast food yet!  Did you notice the heavy coats everyone has on?

 

All the ladies who came to greet us had to scurry back to work, so we wasted no time loading up on the taxi which was waiting for us (Ted had called for it from the ferry).

 
 

And up the Grand hill we go. I know I take practically this same photo each year, but I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to see the Grand come into view for the first time each spring. With some of the big trees gone (cut down in the winter because of disease and replaced by strong, healthy young trees), the beautiful hotel could be seen a lot further down Cadotte this year.

 
 
 

As usual, Maddie had to be subdued into remembering that she weighs 12 lbs. and the horses weigh 2 tons . . .

 
 

. . . while Bear propped his head up on the back of the seat and dozed off.

 

The tulips are just before bursting into bloom at the Grand!

 
Ted did most of the luggage-carrying up the steps of the condo, and as we started to unpack I realized, as I always do, that I had brought way to much “stuff”.  Do you remember that last fall I took photos of all the clothes I was leaving so I wouldn’t duplicate anything again?  Guess what – if you CAN’T FIND THE PHOTOS, they don’t do you any good!
 
By four we couldn’t stand it any longer and had to get outside.  Bear and Maddie needed walking, and Ted and I both were in need of some leg-stretching ourselves.  With Bear off the leash once we got into the woods, we were interested in seeing what he remembered about the island.  We started down an oft-traveled road, with Bear running several feet ahead of us.  Suddenly he stopped, peered left into the woods, looked back at us, and immediately darted down the wooded path we’d traveled so many times last summer.  He knew immediately where he was and led us onto all our favorite paths as we walked.
 
After returning home to feed Maddie and Bear, we started down the hill for the first time – headed for the Chippewa and dinner.
 
 

The corral in front of our condo is not nearly full of horses yet, but this big guy was enjoying his supper. The horses all put on weight over the winter (all they do is eat, and with no exercise to keep those calories in check, they bulk up).  Hmmmmm . . . same thing happens to me!

 

First time this spring down Turkey Hill, next to the Grand’s Jewel Golf Course. With no leaves on the trees yet, it’s easy to see Lake Huron through the branches.

 
 

First stop – outside the Island Bookstore where we met up with Frankie, some of Bonnie’s family, Jill and Bonnie.

 

Then it was on to the Pink Pony at the Chippewa Hotel where we were greeted by two of our favorite bartenders, Jacob . . .

 

. . . and Susanna.

 

Daffodils are coming up all over the island, and I noticed these after we left the Chip to start home. They’re at the Marquette Park corner of Fort Hill and Main Street.

 
On Tuesday Ted left to go across to get the rest of our luggage while I unpacked the rest of what we’d brought over the day before.  By the time he got back, the three boxes we’d mailed had also arrived, so the rest of the day was spent unpacking clothes we really shouldn’t have brought and carting suitcases upstairs to storage.
 
Now for what has REALLY kept me hopping the last two days!  A few days before we arrived, Shepler’s asked Chris Ann and I if we would help them as “welcomers” for the Win-Some Women conference held at the Grand Tuesday-Thursday.  Each day Shepler’s was expecting 800 ladies to arrive on the dock at Mackinaw City to cross to the island, and extra “hands on deck” would be appreciated.  We jumped at the chance!  Although I didn’t get to help on Tuesday (just couldn’t get over there the day after we arrived), Chris Ann worked all three days, and I worked Wednesday and Thursday.
 

I wanted to catch the 8 a.m. boat across to Mackinaw City, and Jill met me halfway up Cadotte and walked to the dock with me, where she snapped this photo.

 
 

The weather was really cold and wet on Wednesday, but the ladies arrived in good spirits and were loaded quickly onto the ferries. I took this shot after returning to the dock from where I was “stationed” – at an intersection to direct arriving cars into the proper parking lot. I had on my cuddle duds, a turtleneck, a windbreaker, long pants, and was carrying an umbrella. I needed all that – and more!

 
 
 
 

Back on the island at the bookstore on Wednesday afternoon. You know how straight my hair is in the photos above? It was that straight when I left the condo that morning also. All those waves come springing out in the rain! Loving my Shepler’s windbreaker and the Shepler’s backpack that were volunteering perks.

Thursday was a much better day weather-wise! Chris Ann and I were stationed together at the main gate to the dock, and we had a blast welcoming the last group of 800 women. That’s Noel, another Shepler volunteer, who was directing traffic.

 

Eight hundred women = tons of luggage! The efficiency with which the cast got the luggage tagged and loaded was amazing.

 

As 800 women were headed TO the island, several hundred school children were coming OFF!

 
 

How’s this for great customer service – that’s Captain Bill Shepler, the owner of Shepler’s Ferry Line, out welcoming guests. Today I also saw him take luggage out of cars, load it onto luggage carts, handle problems over the hand-held radios, check out every single detail of what was happening on the dock, and still take the time to deliver two steaming hot cups of coffee to Chris Ann and I at our post.

 
 

Noon – and our volunteer time is over. We ate pizza for lunch with the rest of the cast members – then Chris Ann headed home about a mile away on the mainland, and I jumped back on the ferry to the island.

 
On Friday I plan to sleep late, finish the last of the unpacking, wash some clothes, and get rid of the winter dust on the furniture.  Sounds like kind of a boring, blah day, doesn’t it.  But, you know what?  All I have to do is look out the sliding glass doors or one of the windows of the condo . . . . and I’m walking on sunshine!

Throw Back Tuesday – The Island Without Jill 4/25/17

Personal Note:  I’m posting this as my “throw back” today because I know Jill will be returning to the island in the next week or so, and Mackinac just wouldn’t be Mackinac without Jill being there.  I’ve loved her since our very first summer on Mackinac, and I count her as among my very best friends.  She is everything I wrote in this blog back in 2009 – and much, much more.  Her heart is huge, her spirit is sweet, and her friendship is forever.  Love you, Jillski, and don’t fuss at me about posting this!______________________________________________________________________

FIRST PUBLISHED 10/29/09

I keep telling myself that one day this week I will sit down to write the “final post” for the season.  I’m not ready to do that yet, even though today was the closest I’ve come to saying, “Ok – I’m ready to go.”  And that is because today my good friend Jill left the island. 

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JIB in The Island Bookstore.

As I have said before, Jill is the communicator for Mackinac Island.  If Jill doesn’t know about something that’s going on, then it must not be going on.   She always seems to be everywhere at once, and when we were first getting to know each other, I gave her the nickname JIB (for Jill in the Box) – because she just popped up everywhere.  At first I thought she knew everything because she worked at the The Island Bookstore.  I figured there must be some secret information system that fed every little tidbit of news from every corner of the island into that tiny little store inside the Lilac Tree Hotel mall.  But then I realized, no – it’s just that Jill knows everyone on Mackinac, and everyone knows her. 

How in the world I would have ever kept this blog going without her constant stream of places to go and people to meet is beyond me.  It probably would have been dead in the water by June.  Jill was a Godsend. 

But the best part of meeting Jill was not how much she knew.  The best part was becoming her friend.  Being Jill’s friend is like taking little rays of sunshine and spreading them across your day – regardless of the weather, regardless of your mood, regardless of how you feel – Jill’s voice and her smiling face can lift you right up.  Her spirit is sweet and generous and kind, and she shares herself with everyone. 
This summer I have seen her come to the aid of an endless number of people in countless ways – housesitter, meeting someone at the ferry, seeing someone off at the ferry, helping people unpack – then helping them pack, dogsitter, delivering messages, delivering packages, catsitter, buying groceries for others, and picking up mail for a friend.  And she is usually taking care of all that before she goes to a a full-time job at the bookstore.  She does it all, and she never complains.  She never says she’s too busy or too tired to help someone, even though I know that sometimes she is both. 

On her breaks from the bookstore, she will walk down the sidewalk and have 20 people speak to her by name before she hits the first corner.  She is hailed from the street, from taxis, from bikes, and from stores.  She has this amazing ability to make you feel special.  That’s what she did for me, and that’s what she does for everyone lucky enough to know her. 

Jill left today on the 12:30 ferry.  Her plan is to spend a few months with her family in downstate Michigan, then spend some time with friends in Arizona, before returning to the island in the spring. Ted and I were there at the dock to see her off.  She wrote me a lovely note and gave it to me as she was boarding, making me promise not to open it until she was well out of sight.  I kept my promise. 

Watching the ferry pull away, I thought, “Now there is only one more important goodbye I have to say before we leave – and that will be to the island itself.”  

Then it will be time to go home.

Have a great winter, JIB!  Love you, my friend.

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Throw Back Thursday – Maddie’s Musings 4/20/17

Personal Note:  Maddie’s very first blog!  First published June 23, 2009 – our first year as island summer residents.  ____________________________________________________________________

Hello – Maddie here.

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My favorite place – my Dad’s lap.

I hope all of you folks out there who read Mom’s blog are happy to hear from me – finally.  I think Mom told you that I had been working on this thing for some time (in between everything else I have to do around here to keep the premises safe).  Somebody has to make sure we aren’t going to be attacked by squirrels or chipmunks or snakes – and it sure isn’t going to be that big furball I am forced to share Mom and Dad with.  All he’s good for is to prance around and look good.  You should see him right now – lying at Mom’s feet with every long, golden hair in place.  Well, let me tell you something – he stinks!  I can’t wait till Mom takes him off island on Thursday for another bath and to get groomed.  I know he told you about that bath he had down at the horse shower.  Mom’s good at a lot of things, but bathing 90 lbs. of dog in a shower built for a Clydesdale in front of an audience is not one of them.  He smelled a little better (at least our company didn’t gag when he came around), but he needs to go to a PROFESSIONAL.

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This is me and my all-time favorite toy. Why is it my favorite? Because I cannot destroy it! Of all the toys I have had in my five years of life, this is the only one that has survived. I keep trying though – I will NOT give up!

OK – back to me.  Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat.  I am a dachshund.  I know that is hard to spell – even Mom has to look it up in that big book of words every time she uses it in this blog.  I am NOT a weinie dog, a weiner dog, a hotdog, or a doxie.  Do you think puffball would like to be called a GOLDIE?  He is a golden retriever.  I am a dachshund.  I have papers to prove it – maybe not as many papers as goofy, but papers nonetheless.

I have two houses to take care of – one in Georgia and one up here where it’s still freezing even in June – ok it’s not freezing, but I do not have 17 tons of hair like the monster does – I have very short, shiny brown hair that nobody has to professionally take care of – I am a very low maintenance dog.  A couple of baths a year (in the bathtub at home, not at a fancy, spancy salon) is all it takes to keep me looking good.

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Me in my cold weather sweater and faux fur cover-up. I JUST put these away this week.

In Georgia, we live on a lake, and the yard is fenced in, front & back.  Therefore, when the door opens, I am free to run around outside to my heart’s content.  I can chase squirrels and ducks and birds (wish I could fly!) and dig up moles and catch mice (Mom says I must be half-cat), and hunt for snakes.  I know Mom told you about me going after that copperhead in the yard in Georgia.  I had it handled, but Dad says he saved my life.  I still say I had it handled. 

Then there was that time when I was tracking that big black snake that lived in the bushes outside our front door (in Georgia).  I was barking like crazy (something I am not allowed to do up here because of the neighbors).  Mom came out and was trying to get me away from the bush (she doesn’t much like snakes), and that snake dropped right on her foot.  You should have heard her scream!  I jumped right in there and grabbed that snake (Mom said it was at least three times longer than me), and whipped it around my head like a lasso.  Then I threw it down as hard as I could (you are thinking I am making this up, but you can ask Mom).  We all thought it was dead, but it was only dazed.  It crawled off, and our good neighbor at the lake (who doesn’t care if I bark) came over and took care of him with this big stick that goes BOOM (Dad was not at home at the time).

Ok – enough about the lake.  Mom told me to write what I like about living on Mackinac Island.  So, here’s my list:  1) There are no poisonous snakes on this island.  So, when I spot a snake and go after it, Mom and Dad don’t worry so much.  2) There are chipmunks!  They look like little squirrels with shorter tails.  3)  There is a chipmunk AND a snake that live under the boardwalk at the condo, and I love to hunt for them – I have even named them.  The chipmunk’s name is appetizer, and the snake’s name is entree.  4)  There are the biggest squirrels I have ever seen here.  The one who lives in the tree outside our living room window is black – our squirrels in Georgia are gray.  The squirrel’s name is dessert.  5)  We have more “quality” time with Mom and Dad here because we go on walks.  In Georgia, they just open the door and let us out.  Here, because we don’t have a fenced in yard, we have to be walked so Mom and Dad have to go with us.

Here's me "running free".

Here’s me “running free”.

Now, here’s my list of things I don’t like about the island:  1)  I have to wear a straitjacket.  You see, when I walk on a leash, I like to pull because there are always things to check out.  With just a collar, I ’bout choke myself to death.  So Mom ordered this harness-thing that puts the pressure on my chest instead of my neck.  Looks like a straitjacket to me, but now at least I don’t turn blue on walks.  2)  I can’t run free (see above).  There are leash laws here, but I have a flash for you.  They let dufus walk around without his leash.  We live near the woods, and once they have us on a wooded path, they let him go.  Now they say they can’t do that with me because I would run away chasing everything that moves.  And I won’t come back when I’m called, like that crazy dog does.  I mean, look at what my options would be – chasing a rabbit vs back into the straitjacket.  What would you do?   The only time I am semi-free is when we go to Turtle Park.  It is this huge, open area, and they will let go of the leash handle and let me run around.  They think that leash and handle will slow me down enough that they could catch me if they had to – pleezzee!  I LET them catch me just to keep them from freaking out.   4) Walking downtown with Mr. Personality and Mom and Dad.  We can’t get three inches without being stopped by a crowd of folks saying, “Ohhhh, what a beautiful golden retriever!  Isn’t he gorgeous?  Isn’t he so well-trained?  Isn’t he just like ours at home?  Isn’t he just like the one we had when we were growing up?  Come on, big boy, give us a kiss!”  You know what I want to say?  “Yeah, go ahead and get those kisses all over your face, and then I will tell you what he just picked up off the street and munched on.”

Actually, I think the island is pretty neat.  I love going in the woods, even on a leash because there is so much to explore and so many new smells to check out – other dogs, horses (who last year I thought were big dogs until I challenged one and got to see close up the biggest paws I have ever seen – and their paws have iron shoes on them), all kinds of wild animals, different plants, different trees – everything is so exciting (even in my straitjacket).  I also love the ferries and the buggies.  When we are going off island, I get to sit in Mom or Dad’s lap so I can see everything (and don’t get in people’s way).  How cool is riding in a buggy behind a team of horses and pretending that I’m the driver!! 

Me and Mom on the ferry. This was one of those cold days when Cathie and Charlie were here.

Me and Mom on the ferry.

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Me and Dad on the taxi. I’m telling the driver which way to turn.

And, I have to admit it, sometimes downtown, stinky breath gets ignored and people lean all the way down and say to me, “Aren’t you the sweetest thing!  Dachshunds are my favorite dogs.  We have two back home, and we miss them so much!  You are so cute!  You are such a happy girl!”  So I give them kisses – and stick my tongue out at the big blonde dog.

Ok – I guess that’s about all I have to say today.  If you like my first blog, be sure and tell Mom, and she will let me know.  I have lots more I could tell you!   I hope I get more fan mail than bushy tail.  That would make me VERY happy!

P.S.  I forgot to tell you that Dad calls Bozo his “big-headed boy”.  He calls me his “precious, sweet little baby”.  What does that tell you, Goldie?

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