Thoughts on a Ferry 8/26/2012

Header Photo Credit:  Steve Fridley, from a trip his family made to the Island in June, 2012.

Riding ferries back and forth to Mackinac Island has become such an engrained part of our lives that we consider it just as normal as main-landers opening their car doors each day and setting off to whatever event/store they have in mind.

Because 99% of my ferry rides take me to Mackinaw City to pick up the truck, I boarded the Mac City ferry Friday morning –  chatting to Jill a hundred miles an hour (and vice versa) – waved “bye” to her through the window, and took my seat about three rows up from the back (if you want to blend in with islanders and not appear to be a “fudgie”, ride in the back of the ferry).  I opened my book (Unsaid by Neil Abramson) and settled back to spend 15 minutes of bliss – reading with no interruptions.

About half-way across, I glanced up and noticed something strange.  The Mackinac Bridge wasn’t where it should be at that point in the ride.  Instead of being on my left, it was on my right.  And that’s when I realized I was on the wrong ferry.  I’d been heading to St. Ignace for a hair appointment, but in my usual “zone”, I’d marched onto the Mac City ferry, and the bad thing was Jill had LET me do it – knowing full well I was going to St. Iggy!  I immediately called her and said, “You have GOT to start taking better care of me!”

Pat, who works for Shepler, sat down with me just as I was disconnecting with Jill, and I told him “what an idiot” I am.  He got a good laugh out of it and said, “Just get off in Mac City, get back on the next ferry to the Island, then get on the right ferry to St. Ignace.”  Just like a man.  Didn’t he know that hair appointments were at a premium and I’d waited two weeks just to get on Pam’s appointment book!?

“No, no – that won’t work!”  I said.  I asked Pat to call and get the truck brought to the dock for me, which he did.

I was a little nervous because I’d never driven across the Mackinac Bridge before – but all went well, and I arrived for my hair appointment only 15 minutes late – with a good story to tell the salon ladies.

Two hours later – less gray and with 1/2″ of splint ends trimmed off – I crossed the bridge again, just in time to catch Shepler’s 3 p.m. ferry back to the Island.  Once again I chose the rear of the boat and opened my book.

Since earlier choosing the wrong ferry, my whole day had seemed a little off-kilter, and as the boat pulled away from the dock . . .

. . . I closed the book and decided to people-watch instead..

As I looked around, I began to remember the excitement I felt boarding the ferry in our earlier years.

I didn’t care one whit then if I looked like a tourist – camera hanging from my neck, sitting at the front of the boat, oohing and ahhing over freighters and lighthouses and the bridge.

I remembered the joy of the trip – riding with the front hatch open – the wind and crispness of the pure Michigan air promising us an awesome time on Mackinac . . .

. . . and I remembered shaking my head in dismay when the door was closed because someone complained about a little “spray” coming in.

I remembered making up stories about the other folks on the ferry. Maybe this couple was on their honeymoon – or maybe it was their first vacation since the children came along, and now the kids were old enough to spend a few days at Grandma’s and Granddaddy’s house.  Or . . . . maybe he was taking her to the Island to propose!

I remembered especially loving to watch the older folks. Could this couple be celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary at the Grand? Had they stayed on the Island on their honeymoon? Or . . . were they arriving for a grandchild’s wedding on the Island?

And I remember thinking back then, as we’d curve around the Passage Light – so closely it seemed we could touch it –  “Don’t let our days here go by too fast!”

While the ferry docked, I gathered my book, my bag of hair products, and my backpack.  As I eased out into the aisle and joined the happy fudgies setting foot on the Island for the first time, I looked around and tried to see the fort on the hill, the horses, and the busy downtown area as I did when  we arrived that first time in July, 2000.  I remembered exactly how I’d felt.

And as I entered Main Street and turned toward home, I thought, “Don’t ever let me forget the magic of this place.”

I smiled all the way up the hill.

A Little Mackinac Magic Story

Just a short little story today . . . but so “Mackinac”!

After Frankie and I had our favorite lunch of Super Nachos at Horn’s on Wednesday, I walked over to the post office to mail Mystery Spot prizes to the winners from one and two weeks ago (I’m always behind on that – fair warning).  While standing in line, friend Mary Jane walked in from checking her post office box, held up a ring filled with keys, and asked Deb, the postmistress, “How did my keys get in my P.O. box?”

It seems the last time Mary Jane had her keys, she was dropping off her car for service in St. Ignace.  When she returned home, she realized her keys were missing, but then thought, “Oh, of course, I left them with my car!”  No worries.

What really happened was this.  She did leave a key with the car – but only the car key.  Her next stop was Bay View Pharmacy in St. Ignace, where – unknown to her – she left her keys on the counter.  The pharmacy folks looked through all the keys and found a post office key, so they ran over to the St. Ignace post office to see if it belonged to one of their customers.

“No, it’s not ours,” the postal clerk said, “Looks like a Mackinac Island key.”

The keys were  put on a ferry coming to the Island and marked “Post Office”.

When they arrived here, Deb determined it was a Mac Island key, looked up the number, and placed them in Mary Jane’s postal box . . .

. . . and that’s where she found them Wednesday afternoon – before she even knew they were lost.

Have a great weekend!  See you on Monday!  God bless.

Header:  A sunset in June from

The Week . . . So Far 8/21/2012

WE HAVE A WINNER!  She is Renita Dompier!  Please see end of this post for this week’s Mystery Spot answer.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island must employ a “think tank” full of fun folks to come up with new and exciting ideas and events.  You just never know what might be happening next at the historic hotel, and this week – with no fanfare at all – they began what has to be the most fun idea of the summer for their guests . . .

. . . . movies on the lawn! When the sun set on Saturday and Sunday evening, folks brought out towels and blankets and settled on the grass below the Grand for a family movie on a giant screen. What a “grand” idea! Don’t know if this is going to be an on-going weekend thing or not, but it sure was a hit!

The Grand is always thinking ahead, and according to a recent Matt Mikus article in the Town Crier, future plans may include:  1)  expansion of the exercise and spa facilities;  2) two hotel rooms expanded into family-style suites; and 3) an ice cream parlor where Margaret’s Garden Shop now stands (Margaret’s would move inside so guests could watch florists at work).  The ice cream parlor would offer such goodies as banana splits, malts, ice cream, AND Jersey muds!  Ted is ecstatic!  In all changes, the historical character of the hotel will be maintained, and one thing that will never change is the requirement of coat & tie for gentlemen and proper dress for ladies in the hotel and dining room after 6:30 p.m.  The Grand Hotel now owns four restaurants on the Island, and the option of casual dining is available at each of these off-site dining facilities – the Jockey Club, Woods, the Gate House,and Cawthorne’s Village Inn.

Monday was a busy day at the Stuart House.  Nearly 60 folks visited the museum during by 10-2 shift, and some of those folks were Bree’s Blog readers!

Ok, ok. Sophie doesn’t read the blog, but she sure was cute! Here she is showing off her new collar from Ella & Ivy!  She and Ella had fun playing while mom shopped.

Sophie’s mom Kathy IS a blog fan!  (Good grief, I lost the paper I wrote everything down on – but I believe Kathy’s husband was George and their two children were Ally and Anthony).  The family was staying at the dog-friendly Park Place Suites on Market Street.

Another blog-reading couple stopped by that morning – Karen and Neil from Fort Gratiot, MI. Jill was going to take the photo, but professional photographer Steven Blair, whose studio and gallery is just across from the Stuart House, saw us posing and walked over to get us all in the shot. Thanks, Steven! Karen and Neil stayed their first night at the Island House and were moving over to the Lake View Hotel the next night, when children and grandchildren were arriving.

Speaking of Steven, when I got off work, I walked over to check out the little garden he’s planted behind his studio. Would you believe those are tomato plants!? He’s growing four types of tomatoes and a few squash and pumpkins in that tiny space – all organic. I have never seen tomato vines that high, and yes, he promised to share when they got ripe!

We have zinnias in our condo flower beds this summer! Love them!

Incredible sunset on Sunday evening. (Photo: Mission Point Resort).

Reader Photographs

Fran from Florida.
Sunrise flag-raising on the Arnold Dock.
Fran spent a day this month on the Island with her two boys. They arrived early, when the downtown area was quiet, and then spent the day hiking in the middle of the Island.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Lamp post and gardens at the Iroquois Hotel – in July.

Shannon Hoorn – Grand Rapids, MI
First weekend in August, 2012.
Mackinac Island from her son Nick’s perspective at Fort Mackinac.

Dave Crans – Canfield, Ohio
Dave was on the Island for five days recently and was lucky enough to be here on the evening of August 10 when that unbelievably beautiful rainbow appeared.

Personal Note:  There’s a very good possibility Ted and I are going to be out very late on Thursday evening (dinner and party at Woods Restaurant following golf tournament Ted is playing in).  If Friday’s blog isn’t posted before we leave for dinner, I’ll publish it sometime during the day on Friday.  See you then!

Mystery Spot Contest

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 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 (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). 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? Hint: This is NOT at Turtle Park.

Again, please email your answers to me at  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

Mystery Spot Answer

This week’s Mystery Spot was the chimney of the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence located at the top of Fort Hill.

Spring . . . Summer . . . Fall? 8/19/2012

Hmmm.  There’s a little nip in the air.  It  warms up nicely by two or three o’clock (“nicely” being low 70’s, not mid-80’s), but then the thermometer mercury begins sliding back down the tube.  Friday and Saturday were very windy, and although I don’t think Fall is quite ready to declare “I’ve  arrived!”, it’s certainly lurking out there somewhere – throwing us a few more sunny, warm days to pamper us, before beginning to turn green leaves into gold and warm breezes into chilly winds.

To be frank, I’m ready for Labor Day.  As big as our crowds on the Island have been all summer, it seems for the last two weeks they’ve been even bigger!  Because of the crowds, I haven’t been downtown as much this summer; but at the same time, I’ve been thanking the good Lord for all the business for the shops, hotels, and restaurants.  The economic numbers have begun to come in, and Mackinac Island is coming back strong.

When I drew the shades up Saturday morning, I knew I just couldn’t stay home.  The sun was shining, the air was cool, it was breezy, and the sky and water were matching shades of blue.  Perfect!  Jill and I had been trying to get together for weeks, and Saturday we finally both were free at the same time!

Jill met me at the condo, and we took the long way downtown, walking down Fort Street. The weeping willow tree shows just how windy it was!

We ate outside at J.L. Beanery, moving to the dock, and sitting at tables in the sun. From there we could see the marina, the lighthouses, and the Straits. I called Ted at the Visitors Center and asked him to walk out on the back deck. From there he could turn in our direction and see us waving at him.  I think he was a little jealous he was working, and we were playing.

When we left the Beanery, we noticed a wedding party across the street at the Island House . . .

. . . . where a very handsome Marine and his beautiful bride were posing for wedding photographs.  Just before this pose, he had swept her up in his arms, and she had taken off his hat and put it on her head – as in the final scene in “An Officer and a Gentleman”.  SO romantic . . . and I didn’t have my camera ready!

I needed a baby gift for my Georgia friend Dawn’s about-to-be-born grandson, so I shopped in Little Luxuries, while Jill ran in the bookstore to put her “left-over” sandwich in the frig.  She was working the late shift on Saturday, so that would become her dinner.  Then we crossed the street to visit Anne at Ella & Ivy’s.  Both places were crowded with customers, and little Ella (Anne’s Maltese) was getting plenty of pampering by everyone who walked in.  We said “Hello!” to Loretta in Martha’s Sweet Shop, but she was so busy she couldn’t break away even for a second.  We all decided after Labor Day we had to have a Girl’s Lunch to celebrate a great season!

Jill had books to return to the library. I never tire of walking in that beautiful building. On Saturday, the back doors were open, and we could look straight through to the lighthouse.  We enjoyed looking at the beautiful art of the Mackinac Seven, a group of local artists who display their work in the library each August.

I browsed through the Used Book section (Hardbacks-$2, Softbacks-$1) and through the DVD and VHS rentals. I thought of all the old movies I had stacked up at home and made plans in my head to ship them to the Island library when we return to Georgia. As you can tell, the wind was kicking up a little more by now, and the waves and whitecaps were becoming more numerous.

Outside the library, I met Jane from Kalamazoo, MI, a fan of Bree’s Blog, with her precious daughter (hope I remembered that name correctly).  Good grief, look at my hair!  Well, I said it was a windy day!

The boardwalk, on the west end of Main Street, was lined with visitors – all enjoying their day on the Island.

Even the sidewalk on Cadotte was crowded . . .

. . . and many visitors stopped to watch a few innings of the vintage baseball game, played every Saturday in the open space below the Grand Hotel.

Saturday night Ted and I headed back downtown for date night.  We had drinks at the Pony, then walked down the street to Mary’s Bistro for dinner (their signature dish is the spit-fired chicken with mashed potatoes). I get it every time we go there – yummy!

We tend to favor restaurants on the water, and Mary’s fills that bill. We usually eat outside on the deck at lunch, but at night inside is more cozy.

Saturday was a great day – spending time with a good friend, visiting other good friends, and capping it off with a sweet date with Ted.  Blessed – so blessed.

Random Pics from the Weekend

Blog reader Yvonne Pitsch and her husband Tony (from Iowa) were on the Island this week, and we made plans to meet up on Friday morning as I walked with Bear down to the ferry (grooming day in Cheboygan).

Bear loved meeting ANOTHER Bear – their German Shepard/Collie mix. What a sweet dog! Tony and Yvonne were staying at the dog-friendly Harbor View Suites downtown. So good to see you again, Yvonne, and to meet Tony and Bear!

Bear on the ferry Friday morning. With the wind like it was, it was going to be a bumpy ride both ways, so we headed to the lower deck. There were a few brave folks who opted to “try it out” up top, but by five minutes into the ride, they were downstairs – not because of the ride, but because of the spray off the water.

The Tale of the Skirt

This morning I decided I would try something new – riding my bike to church, wearing a skirt.  Ted had gone down ahead of me, so I finished dressing, took Maddie and Bear out one more time (in case we decided to eat lunch downtown), locked up and got on my bike.  I was very conscious of trying to ride “ladylike” and also keep the skirt (mid-calf length and full) from getting into gears and bike chain and sprockets.  I was doing a darn good job too . . . until I reached the Grand.  Suddenly, instead of the whir of bike wheels, I heard the “click, click, click” of something wrong.  I was going VERY slowly and had time to stop the bike before it stopped on its own.  I was right next to a stopped carriage, and the driver looked over and said, “Uh, oh!”  My skirt was totally wrapped in the back gears.  Because it was long and full, I was able to get off the bike.  There was nothing to do but rip the material out of the gear (the wheel would no longer turn), leaving about an inch of the skirt in the gear.  I couldn’t see the damage, but I asked the driver his opinion.  “Ah, you can’t even tell it’s torn,” he said.  “Just be thankful you didn’t fall.”  Well, I was, but I also had a feeling the damage was a little greater than what he was letting on.

I ripped the rest of my skirt out of the gears and walked the bike around the corner to Margaret’s Garden Shop at the Grand.  Parking the bike, I walked inside, explained my problem, and asked if they had some sharp scissors.  “Just do the best you can,” I said.  They cut out the ragged edge, straightening the line as best they could, and swearing that because the skirt had an underskirt, it looked right in fashion.  I thanked them and walked the bike the rest of the way to church.

They missed a couple of ragged tears . . .

. . . but like they said, with the underskirt, it doesn’t look really, really bad. Maybe I’ll just cut the other side the same way!

Lesson learned:  Don’t try the skirt thing on a bike again.

Favorite Photos from the Weekend

Sunrise this weekend from Mackinaw City. (Photo: Patrick Conlon, Shepler’s Ferry Line)

One of the most gorgeous dawn photos I’ve ever seen.  Wow and double Wow.  (Photo:  Abby Holstrom)

Another busy week ahead – working on Monday, friends possibly coming on Tuesday, lunch with Frankie on Wednesday, Ted in golf tournament for Medical Center on Thursday, with accompanying dinner at the Woods for wives that evening, and off-island for appointments on Friday.

Have I mentioned it’s been a busy summer?!

See you on Wednesday with the full report.  Have a great week!

This, That, and . . . the Other 8.16.2012

Hi Everyone!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this, but I was off-island all day.  After the blog was published last night, I received several correct answers and several more today.The first correct answer came from Tina Fiste of Midland, MI.  The Mystery Spot is the cart trail up to a green in the Jewel Golf Course.  It can easily be seen walking up Cadotte – right before you get to “Four Corners” and the horse barns.

Have we had a “Photos Only” post this season?  I don’t think so!

So . . . I now declare this the First Official “Photos Only” post of the 2012 Mackinac Island Season (Whew!  I’m glad I’m getting at least one in before the season is over)!

THIS . . .

Possibly my favorite Island road – from Point Lookout to Ft. Holmes. Especially glorious in the Fall.

Not a good day for kayaking. We watched from the boardwalk as one boat flipped, and its passenger hit the water. He clung to his kayak until his buddy arrived to help. All ok.

I learned something new about Sugar Loaf! This opening is called “the Keyhole”.  It’s a shallow cave (about 8′ deep) and has two flumes that ventilate at the top.  Climbing up to check all this out is prohibited.

My friend Mcgyver, getting a little buggy-pulling exercise. I was walking up the hill, turned around when I heard clip-clops, and there he was!

The Mackinac Island recycling dray. Recycling day is once every two weeks. As each resident or business recycling container is picked up, it’s sorted on board the dray, then returned for use the next time.  All heavy cardboard, including boxes, must be flattened and tied together in bundles.  Same with magazines and newspapers.

I left my bike parked at the Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast the other night when I rode a taxi to a party with other ladies from downtown. When I picked it up the next day on my way to work, I caught the Cloghaun “mascot” Maggie on the steps going up the the porch. She was keeping a little girl who was staying there with her parents company.

Happy flowers at the Cloghaun B & B.

THAT . . .

A particularly nasty summer storm a couple of weeks ago brought down limbs and a few trees in the middle of the night. The Market Street side of Market and Cadotte was blocked most of the morning as tree cutters worked to remove huge limbs that had fallen – and others threatening to fall.  One house had some roof damage that was quickly repaired.

On Cadotte, a house can barely be seen through all the downed limbs, but there was no damage to the home.

Like magic, wood chippers appeared, and by afternoon all evidence of the storm had vanished.  Amazing!

Georgia visitors on the Island! We’ve known Don and Nancy for years, and they were on Mackinac Wednesday with a tour group from Carrollton, GA. We met them at the Grand Hotel (after they enjoyed the Grand Lunch Buffet) and rode with them on a two-hour private tour of the Island

I love, love, love seeing the Island through the eyes of a first-time visitor! I think the phrase I heard most from Nancy was, “Oh my goodness, look at that!”


We have NO WINNER for the Mystery Spot this week.  I am totally mystified – ’cause it was an easy one – well, at least to me it was.  You know what?  I’m not going to reveal the answer.  Next Wednesday I’ll post it again – but from a different angle.  Bet you get it then!  Between now and then, if the answer dawns on you, go ahead and email me at!

I’m off to the groomers with Bear tomorrow, which means spending a few hours off-island in Cheboygan’s WalMart.  It’s funny how when we’re home in Georgia, a trip to the local WalMart is no big deal (something I’d rather skip, as a matter of fact).  Up here though,  you’d think I was heading to Bloomingdale’s in New York City by how excited I get.  I guess it’s all relative!

Have a great weekend!  God bless.

Unexpected Gifts and Fun Moments 8/14/2012

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.  Anonymous

Blake and I received an unexpected gift last Friday evening.

We rode over to the mainland on the 8 p.m. boat.  I’d never been to Anne’s cabin before and wanted to find it before dark.  Carp Lake is only a 12-minute drive to the Pellston airport, and every little minute of sleep would count since Blake had to be at the airport at 5:30 Saturday morning.  Anne was so sweet to invite us to stay over with her, even though I’m sure she knew full-well we’d make enough noise getting up and getting out that she’d be up mighty early too.  But she invited us anyway.

We found the cabin with no problem, and as we turned into her drive, we looked straight through her yard –  past garage and house – to the most incredible sky and rainbow I have ever – ever – seen.

“Oh, Blake!  Look at the light!” I said, practically falling out of the truck in my haste to get my camera out of my bag.

Blake was as spellbound as I.  Anne was coming out the side door to meet us, and I think we had the decency to at least say “hello” before rushing by, pulling her with us into her own backyard.

Blake hurried out to the end of the dock, turning on his camera and adjusting it as he slid to a stop just before going off the end.

I stood with Anne near her fire pit.  The rainbow seemed to have been born in Mackinaw City . . .

. . . then traveled through Heaven, coming down out of the clouds to touch Earth again miles and miles away.  As beautiful as it looks here, the photograph does not even begin to touch how this scene truly looked.

Special light, special rainbow, special moment shared.


Around 8:30 Monday evening, I’d just walked into the den when I heard voices outside yelling, “Hi, Brenda!  Hi Ted!  Hi Maddie!  Hi Bear!”  Ted heard them too, so I knew I wasn’t imaging things!  We rushed to the window and looked out to find a wagon full of people and dogs and hay stopped on the street beside our boardwalk.  It was a birthday hayride for little Jordan Fisher – who’d just turned three years old!

The wagon was filled with parents, grandparents, Jordan’s little sister Jenavieve, friends and family pooches!

Friend Joan Barch, with her daughter Julie Fisher and grandchildren – birthday boy Jordan and little Jenavieve.

There might be a few other places where moments like this happen . . . a horse-pulled hay wagon, filled with friends, who stop by and yell “Hello!” up to your open windows.  But I don’t know where they are, and I just feel so, so blessed to be living here, where little moments like this happen on almost a daily basis.  Geez, I love this place!


Readers’  Mackinac Island Photographs

Deborah Crawford – Midland, Ontario, Canada
From a July, 2010 visit to the Island. Deborah told this shot while sitting in Margaret’s Garden at the Grand Hotel and said, “This photo just shows everything I love about the Island – flowers, horses, beautiful scenery wherever you look.”

Patti Foote – Buffalo, N.Y.
Patti and her sister visited the Island in June, 2011. They saw this same kitty twice during their visit.  Here he’s on a fence near the boardwalk.

Jean Lenard – Powell, Ohio
Photo taken on porch of Iroquois Hotel in July, 2012.

Paul and Elaine Williams – Yale, MI
From August, 2007. Photo was taken as they walked on the road behind the West Bluff houses. Paul and Elaine visit the Island several times every summer.

Mystery Spot Contest

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 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 (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). 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?

Again, please email your answers to me at  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

See you on Friday!

“I Know Great Horses Live Again.” 8/12/2012

Saturday was a very subdued day at the Festival of the Horse – for all the workers and anyone connected in any way to horses.  Shortly after returning to the Island from the airport, the devastating news of a tragic fire at a horse training facility downstate reached me online – nine horses were lost, and one of them was Ferrari, one of Maryanke Alexander’s glorious Friesians.  Maryanke and Ferrari had begun competing in Dressage, and her goals for the future with him were etched deeply in her heart.  He was a very, very special horse, and, as she does all her horses, Maryanke loved him passionately and completely.  Maryanke left on the first ferry out Saturday morning to go downstate.

I was scheduled to work the Festival from 12:30-3:30 at the admission table.  My work-time coincided with the Breed Show – an event I’ve written about for the past two years – so I really had no plans to photograph it again.  But my co-worker at the table said, “Go – photograph!  I can handle this!”

Just as I was walking away from the table, a family with three children stepped up, wanting to go on the pony rides, which were offered at specific times every day of the Festival.  The rides had ended 15 minutes earlier, and all the horses were on their way back to the barn.  This precious little 3-year-old boy had been crying all morning to “ride a horse”, and his parents were so disappointed they had missed the opportunity.

Just then, I looked up to see Barb walking onto the Burroughs Lot, leading their family pony, Topaz – with one of her grandchildren astride.  Topaz would take the arena later in the Paint division of the Breed Show.  On this day, filled with such sadness, it just seemed extra-important – if possible – for anyone with a love of horses to connect with them – no matter how young, no matter how briefly.  I walked over and asked Barb if she would allow the little boy to ride Topaz around the arena, and she beamed  “Yes!  Of course!”

Down came the grandson, and up went Jacob for a thrill-of-his-life THREE circuits of the arena, led by Barb.

A happy little boy.

Jacob’s six-year-old sister Madelyn also got to ride. Thanks so much, Barb, for making the day for these two!

I stayed out at the arena and snapped photographs for an hour.  Here are a few of my favorites (some from Friday) of our precious Mackinac horses -and the owners and riders who love them so.

From Friday – Maryanke on her beautiful Regina for the musical kur, “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.

“Puttin’ on the Ritz” was presented again on Saturday – with Michelle Stuck stepping up for Maryanke and riding Gysbert.  That’s Ann on Lars East, Katie on Teddie, and Kate on Hercules.

Michelle – on her magnificent Gysbert on Saturday.

Little Blaze, a Haflinger – and every 4-H child’s favorite Island horse. He can do it all, and he can do it well.

Ann Levy on Lars East.

The mighty Percheron, Dan.

Every little girl wants a horse, and this one got her wish very early. She’s on her much loved Ricky – a miniature.

Kate – on Hercules – walking onto the Burroughs Lot.

Topaz, our “fill-in” for the pony ride! Here, Barb leads him with grandson Aiden aboard.

Doc Al – with Skip, a Standardbred.

Katie on Mary Stancik’s Teddie (my handsome god-horse).

From Friday – Maryanke on Regina and Katie on Teddie.

Regina looks on as I pose with Teddie – just before he slobbered all over my head.

“Wow! How many oats do I need to get THAT big!?”

In Loving Memory of Ferrari

Somewhere…somewhere in time’s own space
There must be some sweet pastured place

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow

Some Paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen
I know great horses live again.

Stanley Harrison

Ferrari and Maryanke – in a recent Dressage competition.

At a past Festival of the Horse – Maryanke on Ferrari – riding the wind.

We pray God’s peace to Maryanke and all the owners who lost horses on Friday night.