Countdown to Lowell & Faye’s Visit – Part I 5/31/2013

Those of you who follow this blog know the excitement I’m feeling right now about Lowell & Faye Greene’s upcoming visit to Mackinac Island is a mixture of joy, anticipation and enthusiasm . . . with just a tiny bit of apprehension thrown in for good measure!

Lowell and his family had a scare a few weeks ago when he was hospitalized with congestive heart failure, and we were concerned he may not be able to make the trip.  But – thank you God – his doctor gave him the “ok” to travel, and the much anticipated visit begins Sunday with Faye and Lowell’s arrival on the Island.

I’m asking each and every one of you to promise to take a few minutes each day to pray for their safe travels and for Lowell’s health during the visit.  This trip is so very important to him.

Today and tomorrow I thought I’d re-publish the two blog posts I’ve previously written about Lowell, just to refresh your memories – or introduce those new to the blog to Lowell and his family.  While they are here (arrival on Sunday, departure on Wednesday), I’ll be following their visit some, but I’ll also try to give them some alone time to do whatever they want to do, without me tagging along.

Before I add the first blog about Lowell below, there’s something pretty awesome I want to share with you.  When the idea of this visit came up, I made some phone calls and talked with friends here on the Island.  From those calls and chats, the beautiful spirit of the Island has made me so proud to be a part of this community.  Bobby Benser and Brian Bailey, owner and general manager of the Chippewa Hotel, are providing the Greene’s three nights in one of the Chippewa’s beautiful Harbor Suites at no charge.  Shepler’s Ferry is providing their ferry tickets for the round-trip crossing.  There are others I’ll mention as the week progresses, but to do so now would give away a few surprises we have in store for these two.  Suffice it to say that Mackinac Island is going to give Lowell and Faye a visit that will make some wonderful new memories!

Here’s the first post I wrote about Lowell – August 10, 2010:

Lowell Greene and his wife Faye are two of my most loyal readers.  Lowell comments on my posts regularly, and quite a while ago he asked me to check on something for him.

Lowell and Faye live in Michigan, and he worked on Mackinac Island 55 years ago.  Health concerns prevent Lowell from visiting Mackinac as he’d like, but he has shared some great memories of the Island with me.

In 1955 I hitch hiked from my home in Cheboygan to Mackinaw City and took the ferry to Mackinac Island.  I walked down one side of Main Street and about half way up the other before finding a job.  I worked at two different restaurants that summer, before my 16th birthday on October 6.  I first worked at Phil Corby’s “Coffee Cup.”  Then I worked at “The Carriage Lantern.”  While I was on the Island that summer, I roomed at Ella Chambers’ house.  The next 2 summers I roomed at her house and worked at her “Arch Rock Curio Shop” – a little way to the right of Arch RockI’ve climbed up under Arch Rock from the road below (they’ve taken all the fun out of that now with a stairway), and I actually walked across Arch Rock, something I recommend to no one – but I was a teenager thenAnother memory was the day a friend and I took a small fishing boat out to Round Island.  We beached the boat on the sand and walked over to the lighthouse.  Finding it unlocked, we explored it thoroughly before pushing off to return to Mackinac.  As we were returning, a huge freighter passed us so close I thought I could reach out and touch it.  I don’t know if I was scared or just in awe of that huge ship.”
 

Because Lowell worked at Arch Rock, he remembered a brass tablet near there dedicated to John Nicolet, the first white man to set foot in Michigan and the old Northwest territory.  He wondered if the tablet was still there and gave me an approximate vicinity to look in – “I think that tablet is just a little way into the trees to the left of Arch Rock, as you’re looking toward the water.”

I’ve been meaning to go out and look for the tablet for a couple of months now, and just never seemed to find the time.  On Sunday I awoke with Lowell’s tablet on my mind, and Ted and I made plans to ride over after lunch, which we did.

It was a wonderful day for a bike ride.  The weather forecast had called for storms all day, but as so often happens, no storms arrived, and by early afternoon the skies were blue, and the temperature was perfect in the mid-70’s.    I’m always the “follower” on bike rides, so Ted chooses how we’re going to get to wherever we’re going.  He loves mixing paved roads, wooded trails , and a few I like to call “nonexistent pathways”, but we nevertheless always manage to arrive at our destination.

So you can get your bearings – you can see a splash of red through the trees on the right side of this photo.  That is someone walking out to the viewing platform at Arch Rock.  As Lowell said, the tablet is to the left of the Arch.
The steps to the top of the hill where the tablet was placed.
At the top of the steps, you walk out on a platform that rests on the top of the hill, and there it is – just as Lowell said it would be!
I got Ted to take my pic with the tablet just to prove I’d really been there!
Standing behind the tablet – looking east.
Another view from the platform.  I can never get over how BIG the great lakes are!
Tranquil Bluff Trail begins at the top of the platform and runs almost all the way to British Landing. It’s one of the most difficult bike trails on the Island.

Lowell, I’m sorry it took me so long to check on this for you, but I figured if I did it too soon, you’d stop writing me all those great memories you have of the Island.  You and Faye have a great day canning those green beans, and God bless.

Parking Cars, Meeting Jeb, and Waiting on Lowell & Faye 5/30/2013

Thank goodness for Thursday!  It has been one crazy week here at the Horton Hilton, and this ole girl was needing a rest day!  Memorial Day Monday, then off the Island with Bear on Tuesday, then working at Shepler’s on Wednesday as 1,700 Detroit Chamber members arrived on the dock to be ferried across to the Grand Hotel.

Here’s a quote from Chris Shepler on Wednesday’s accomplishment:  “3,946 pieces of luggage, 1,700 delegates, 900 vehicles parked, one brother and son of past presidents (Jeb Bush), Detroit Mayor Bing, the owner of Ford Motor Company and one NASCAR Champion, all in a days work!”  Shepler’s rocked yesterday, and I’m proud to say I was there helping, even though all I did was smile, move cars forward to park, and ask folks to leave their keys in the car and “don’t forget your cell phone!”

The real excitement for the day came after I got back to the Island.  We knew Jeb Bush spoke at the conference at one Wednesday afternoon, and various rumors were flying around about when he’d be leaving the Island.  We also knew he was leaving on Shepler’s, the same way he’d come in the night before.  The most promising sounding rumor was he’d be leaving the Island at 3:30.  I hopped on the 2:30 back to the Island and met Jill on the dock.  We then put on our Sherlock Holmes hats and started sleuthing.

The most interesting thing we found was a dray filled with flowers heading up the hill.  Some were going to our condos for spring planting, and others were going even further up to private homes.

ddddd

It’s always amazing how the workers can secure bulky items like this on the drays . . .

. . .

. . . then drive that load up Cadotte – and other hills – without losing a single leaf.

At almost exactly 3:30, Ben Mosley pulled up at the Shepler dock driving one of the Grand Hotel VIP carriages . . . a dead giveaway!

Out stepped Jeb Bush, the former Governor of Florida – and some say a potential Presidential candidate.  He was carrying his own luggage and was traveling with only one other person, who I assumed was a PR person.  And you know me . . .

"Gov. Bush, would it be possible for this nice gentleman traveling with you to snap a photo of the two of us with my phone, while my friend Jill snaps a photo of him snapping a photo of us?"

“Gov. Bush, would it be possible for this nice gentleman traveling with you to snap a photo of the two of us with my phone, while my friend Jill snaps a photo of him snapping a photo of us?”

I'm pretty sure he said yes (or it could have been I just tossed my phone and moved up close to him so fast they never knew what hit them!"  I never realized he was so TALL!

I’m pretty sure he said yes (or it could have been I just tossed my phone and moved up close to him so fast they never knew what hit them!” I never realized he was so TALL!

Someone asked me today if he mentioned running for President, and he didn’t.  BUT . . . . his PR man, while giving me back my phone, smiled and said, “We’d appreciate your vote.”  Seriously, he said that . . . I kid you not.  Do you think I should call the networks?

I was dragging by the time I climbed the hill.  We had dinner, and I fell asleep at 8 p.m. in my recliner.  Ted woke me up at midnight to come to bed, and I remember mumbling, “I’ll just stay here.”  The next thing I knew my eyes popped open, and the sun was shining in the den windows.  That was the most sleep I’ve gotten in one stretch in a long, long time.  Felt so good today!

PHOTOS!

It was a foggy morning as I walked down Cadotte Wednesday morning on the way to the ferry dock.  I turned around to look back at the Grand and snapped this shot.

It was a foggy as I walked down Cadotte Wednesday morning on the way to the ferry dock. I turned around to look back at the Grand and snapped this shot.

The trillium are blooming this week in the woods.

The trillium are blooming this week in the woods.

Jill was on the dock at Shepler's Wednesday morning even earlier than I was.  Therefore, she got a great shot of Michelle Stucks Friesians arriving on the Island for the season.

Jill was on the dock at Shepler’s Wednesday morning even earlier than I was, and she got a great shot of Michelle Stuck’s Friesians arriving for the season.

THIS ONE'S FOR Y'ALL, LOWELL AND FAYE!  Jill took this photo downtown today.  The Lilacs blossoms are budding out - I think by Sunday we're going to have flowers!

THIS ONE’S FOR Y’ALL, LOWELL AND FAYE! Jill took this photo downtown today. The Lilac blossoms are budding out – I think by Sunday we’re going to have flowers!

SOME GOODIES

We have a live webcam operating again on Main Street.  Click here to view:  http://mackinaclive.com/index.asp?cam=0

Here’s a great contest from Shepler’s!  They are giving away two ferry tickets AND 2 Lakeshore Express plane tickets from Detroit to Pellston.  Total prize worth $446.  You can enter here, but hurry!  I think this contest ends next week:  http://bit.ly/19k3jXx

WHAT’S NEXT!

Friday: Working for Shepler’s again

Saturday: Resting

Sunday-Wednesday:  Lowell & Faye Green’s visit – and who knows WHAT else!

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

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

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

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

. . . followed by a small group from town.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. . . then took off running after his master.

. . . then took off running after his mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was at 6:45.

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

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

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

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

Walking on Sunshine! 5/26/2013

Good Day Sunshine!  Sunshine On My Shoulders!  Walking on Sunshine!

Are you catching my theme here?

If the first few days of last week were about as dark and stormy as they could get, the last few days have more than made up for them!  We’ve had sunshine, blue skies, and not a cloud in the sky.  It’s still a little chilly, but nothing an extra layer won’t fix.

Maddie was SO excited to be outside on dry grass.  She is the fussiest little thing about her feet getting wet!

Maddie was SO excited to be outside on dry grass. She is the fussiest little thing about her feet getting wet!

Bear, who couldn't care less whether it's wet or dry, was just happy to be able to run around off the leash, instead of being dragged into the condo as soon as he'd taken care of business!

Bear, who couldn’t care less whether it’s wet or dry, was just happy to be able to run around off the leash, instead of being dragged into the condo as soon as he’d taken care of business!

With the sun

With the sun came the crowds to the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory . . .

. . . and the

. . . and the Surrey Hill Carriage Museum, where folks were eating outside for the first time this spring!

Not finding Denise unloading riders at the front of the Carriage Museum, Bear made a bee-line for the back lot - where he waited for her to get off the phone before begging for treats.

Not finding Denise unloading riders at the front of the Carriage Museum, Bear made a bee-line for the back lot – where he waited for her to get off the phone before begging for treats.

Before going in we checked on the progress of our Lilac bushes.  Leaves are coming on really fast!  I still haven't checked downtown . . . have GOT to do that!

Before going in we checked on the progress of our Lilac bushes. Leaves are coming on really fast! I still haven’t checked downtown . . . have GOT to do that!

Blue sky, sunshine, flowers bloomin’, children say-in’ hello. Row boats, bird notes, People smilin’ everywhere that they go!

My 15-minutes walking excursion on Friday didn’t seem to set my foot back, so I was rarin’ to go when we had the opportunity to go over to Cedarville Saturday with friends Orietta and Steve – and their teenage neighbor Max. Ted had sailed with Steve last fall from the Mackinac Island Marina to the Viking Boat Harbor to take their sailboat out of the water for winter.  Now it was time to sail it back to Mackinac.

We all piled into Orietta's car in St. Ignace and made the 45-minute drive to Cedarville.  A quick stop at a grocery store, and we had the makings for lunch in the sun, which we enjoyed on a picnic table at the Viking Boat Harbor dock.

We all piled into Orietta’s car in St. Ignace and made the 45-minute drive to Cedarville. A quick stop at a grocery store, and we had the makings for lunch in the sun, which we enjoyed on a picnic table at the Viking Boat Harbor dock.

The boat was in the water, and while the guys puttered around getting ready to sail, I noticed some activity out at the end of the dock.

Now I don't know too much about fish, but this little boy was VERY excited when he pulled this one in. The funny thing was, after he landed it, he didn't want anything to do with it - wouldn't even hold the line so I could get his picture . . .

Now I don’t know too much about fish, but this little boy was VERY excited when he pulled this one in. The funny thing was, after he landed it, he didn’t want anything to do with it – wouldn’t even hold the line.  So his big brother helped him out – and told me it was a Northern Pike – about six lbs. worth.  After the photos, they removed the hook and released it to grow some more.  Good job guys!

When we were here in the fall, the shoreline was ablaze with red and yellow foliage.

When we were here in the fall, the shoreline was ablaze with red and yellow foliage.  Now, the first hint of green is beginning to appear.

Steve brought the dinghy around to tie up to the Windmill . . .

Steve brought the dinghy around to tie up to the Windmill . . .

. . . then was pulled aboard by First Mate Max.

. . . then came aboard.

Orietta hands off the most important cargo - snacks!

Orietta hands off the most important cargo – snacks!

Ready to leave the harbor.

Ready to leave the harbor . . .

. . . Steve maneuvers away from the dock . . .

. . . Steve maneuvers away from the dock . . .

. . . and they're away.

. . . and they’re away.

The 45-minute road trip took four hours by boat.  Ted snapped this shot of Steve and Max putting up the sails, but the wind held out for only about 30 minutes.  A motor provided power for the rest of the trip.

Ted snapped this shot of Steve and Max putting up the sails, but the wind held out for only about 30 minutes. A motor provided power for the rest of the trip.

They passed Dollar Island (one of the 36 Les Cheneaux Islands), which is almost totally covered in this one house.

They passed Dollar Island (one of the 36 Les Cheneaux Islands), which is almost totally covered by this one house.

Max - showing what a true Michigander he is.  Notice the bare feet.

Max – showing what a true Michigander he is. Notice the bare feet.

Steve and Max.  I hope to write a story on this young man this summer. At 13, he is a budding entrepreneur and has a thriving delivery service on the island.  He's on call seven days a week - at most any hour to run errands for islanders.

Steve and Max. I hope to write a story on this young man this summer. At 13, he is a budding entrepreneur and has a thriving delivery service on the Island. He’s on call seven days a week – at most any hour – to run errands for Islanders.  Steve is teaching him to sail.

Ted at the helm (no bare feet here)!

Ted at the helm.  Orietta and I drove back to the St. Ignace ferry dock and were back on the Island at 4 p.m.  The guys puttered into the Mackinac Island Marina at 6:30 p.m.  What an awesome day!

Just a note on Steve and Orietta.  They will be leaving the Island for a year, beginning in July.  They are off to Tanzania as doctors with the Peace Corps.  What an awesome opportunity to serve others!

Sunday Sunshine!

The Sunday-before-Memorial-Day service at Little Stone Church is always touching, and today was no different.  Island veterans Donald “Duck” Andress and Ben Horn have presented the colors at the service for the last six years, representing the Island’s American Legion Post 299. 

Andress is a veteran of the Korean War, and Horn served in Germany and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Andress is a veteran of the Korean War, and Horn served in Germany and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After the presentation of the colors, a wreath was brought to the altar – in memory of all soldiers who have laid down their lives for their country.  Our minister, Dr. Vince Carroll, who served in the Vietnam War, spoke on his experiences in that country as a Naval Chaplain.  Every pew was filled this morning as worshippers gave thanks to our veterans.

After the service, a large group walked over to The Gate House for lunch.  These folks are our foundation here on the Island.

After the service, a large group walked over to The Gate House for lunch (only two of the people in this pic are not Little Stone Church folks). We love being a part of this church’s  fellowship.

Walking home after church.  The tulips in the front bed at the Grand are in full bloom now!

Walking home after church. The tulips in the front bed at the Grand are in full bloom now!

Our downstairs neighbors are here for the weekend with their two labs.  We finally got them to pose together!  Bear, Tom Boy, and Hunter.

Our downstairs neighbors are here for the weekend with their two labs. We finally got them to pose together! Bear, Tom Boy, and Hunter.

SO MUCH TO COME!

There is so much coming up this week that I’m having to make lists on the calendar so I don’t forget something!  Here’s a few things about to happen . . .

  • Monday – Memorial Day service at the Post Cemetery and downtown
  • Monday evening – Ted and I are going out to dinner with Cindy Irish and her husband.  Cindy is a writer who reads Bree’s Blog – both on the Island and in south Georgia.  She wants to talk to us about a fictional town she is using in her next book that will be based on someplace very near and dear to Ted and I (more to come on that)!
  • Tuesday – Bear FINALLY gets bathed and groomed, so I’ll be off-island all day.
  • Wednesday – Volunteering for Shepler’s as they welcome 1,300+ Detroit Chamber of Commerce representatives to the Island. 
  • Thursday – Resting (I hope)
  • Friday – Back to Shepler’s as the Detroit Chamber leaves the Island
  • Saturday – Resting (I hope)
  • Sunday – BIG, BIG, BIG DAY!  Lowell and Faye Greene arrive on Mackinac for the first time in 26 years.  And boy do they have some surprises waiting for them.  I cannot WAIT to write this story (MUCH more to come on that)!

It will be at least Tuesday night before I publish again.  We’ll see how the week is going at that point and go from there.  Have a great Memorial Day on Monday and, if you’re traveling, stay safe!  God bless.

Breaking Out! 5/23/2013

Oh my goodness gracious.  Just when I thought I couldn’t stand one more minute of fog or misty rain, the clouds parted, and blue sky appeared.  WooHoo!  Sunshine!!

I can’t wait for tomorrow.  I’m declaring my self-imposed exile over and trying my foot out on a little walking adventure (yes, yes, yes . . . I promise not to overdo)!  But please, please, let me out of this house!  I need air, sunshine, the chirping of birds, the jangle of horse harnesses, the clip-clop of horse hooves, the smell of horse poop.   I need MACKINAC!

The Memorial Day weekend is shaping up to be a fantastic one.  The temps may be a little on the cool side, but the sun will be shining – so just throw on a sweater or two or three, and come on up!  Layer up in the morning and evening, and peel ’em off during the mid-day hours.  That’s the Mackinac way!

The first sign of blue appeared around lunch.

The first sign of blue appeared around lunch . . .

. . . .

. . . and by mid-afternoon the skies were clear!

All over the village we could hear lawn mowers being cranked as Mackinac Islanders took advantage of the beautiful day to tidy up yards for the holiday weekend ahead.

All over the village we could hear lawn mowers being cranked as Mackinac Islanders took advantage of the beautiful day to tidy up yards for the holiday weekend ahead.

One of my favorite private buggies - love those blue wheels!

One of my favorite drive-it-yourself buggies – love those blue wheels!

Carriage Tour wagons line up at Surrey Hill and wait to be sent to the barn.

Carriage Tour wagons line up at Surrey Hill and wait to be sent to the barn.

Late afternoon - and a Grand Hotel omnibus heads to the barn.

Late afternoon – and a Grand Hotel omnibus heads to the stable.  I think we’ve got some new horses this year at the Grand Stable.  I’ll have to get over there soon and meet them.

Maddie and Bear are SO excited to see sunshine!  Thank you Ted for taking over ALL the dog walking chores for the last few days!

Maddie and Bear are SO excited to see sunshine! Thank you Ted for taking over ALL the dog walking chores for the last few days!

Jill came over this afternoon (her day off) to visit and fill me in on everything happening downtown.  She also shared this beautiful shot of the bridge in the sunshine.

Jill came over this afternoon (her day off) to visit and fill me in on everything happening downtown. She also shared this beautiful shot of the bridge in the sunshine.

As we look forward a few days to Monday and the upcoming holiday, it is easy, on this history-filled island, to reminisce on how Memorial Day was enacted in memory of the soldiers who fought in the American Civil War.  It was later expanded to commemorate the soldiers who fought in all American wars.

There will be special ceremonies here Monday morning, and the laying-on of the wreath at the Post Cemetery – with all participants in period costume – has each year been one of my most cherished moments on this Island.  Thucydides said, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” It is my wish, as we celebrate this holiday with friends and family, that we all take a moment to thank God for the brave souls we honor on Monday – they saw the vision, they knew the danger, and yet they went forward. 

Safe travel prayers for those of you who will be on our roads this weekend.  God bless.

Foggy Days on the Rock 5/22/2013

I’m such a klutz.  On Sunday afternoon I reinjured the foot I hurt when I gracefully fell on my face at a wedding a few weeks ago.  This time the pain was much worse, and I couldn’t put any weight on it at all.  I called our Health Care 24-hour nurse yesterday and asked about getting it X-rayed, but with what I described, she thinks I just strained a ligament and suggested rest and ice, which I’ve been doing.

It’s been a good few days to be out of commission because since Sunday we’ve had ran showers, rain storms, wind and fog.

Downtown on Monday. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Downtown on Monday. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Yesterday.

Yesterday. Showers and fog.

This morning.

This morning.  Mostly fog and misty rain.

A kayaker floats into Hildebrand Bay with the fog. (Photo: Great Turtle Kayak Tours)

A kayaker floats into Haldimand Bay with the fog. (Photo: Great Turtle Kayak Tours)

Ted left on the 10 a.m. ferry this morning for the first “big groceries” buying trip at Wal-Mart in Cheboygin – time to stock up on paper products for the next few weeks.

We’ve already had Jerry, our plumber, up for the annual “first week back” pipe problems.  It never fails that something is leaking, dripping, or flowing when we return and get everything turned on.  In fact, when we called him our second day back, he told us, “I was wondering  why you hadn’t called yet!”  I love being part of this little community where we see the same “fix-it” folks every year – and who we can have on “speed dial”.

PHOTOS FROM SUNNIER DAYS

RRRR

Bikes and golf carts at the Grand pro shop.

Wow!  This guy must have been collecting cans all winter!

Wow! This guy must have been collecting cans all winter!

New gear for our wonderful Mackinac Island Fire Department. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

New gear for our wonderful Mackinac Island Fire Department. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)

The Pink Pony has a new Pink Pony!

The Pink Pony has a new pink pony!

All day yesterday I kept thinking something was missing, and it was driving me crazy!  I’d sit reading for a while, then look up and think, “What’s different?”  I’d wander a few feet from my chair, only to stop and try and figure out what was bugging me.  Finally, last night, as I was pulling down the blinds across the den and staring at the lights shrouded in fog, it hit me . . . . the fog horn wasn’t sounding.

When I awoke this morning to fog so thick we could barely see the Lilac bushes in our front yard – and still no fog horn – I went on a mission to find out why we weren’t hearing the lonely song normally played out on the Straits in this kind of weather.  I called the U.S. Coast Guard Station in St. Ignace, and the young man who answered my call gave me this answer: The horn is now activated only by the pilot houses of approaching vessels.  After activation, the horn sounds for 30 minutes, then automatically turns off.  This is the same process used at our airport on the island.  Instead of leaving the runway lights on all night, they can be activated by approaching pilots, then turn off when the plane has safely landed.  It’s all about saving money, and I understand that.  But I sure do miss that mournful sound – especially on foggy nights.

Everyone on Mackinac is eagerly looking forward to this Memorial Day weekend – the official start of the season for the Island.  Even though the temps will still be a little short of “warm”, the sun is supposed to be shining brightly, and the Rock is expecting people to start arriving in droves on Friday afternoon.  With the crowds we’ve been seeing downtown – even in the rain – I predict an awesome long holiday weekend for visitors to Mackinac.  Y’all come!

I’ll close with a photo that popped up on Facebook this week and is so awesome I just had to share it.  It was shot by someone at the Keyhole Bar & Grill in Mackinaw City, and it is pretty much beyond words.

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Prayers for Moore, OK

Instead of my original plan tonight to write a couple of silly paragraphs whining that I hurt my foot yesterday, please allow me to use this space for something a lot more serious.

As I write this, first responders from Moore and Oklahoma City, OK (and surrounding areas) are frantically trying to find survivors of the monster tornado that hit Moore this afternoon.  Please pray for all those trapped in buildings throughout the city, and please say a special prayer for the children who may be trapped and injured in the Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools.

My prayer is this:  Please God, be with the men and women from the fire departments, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement departments – and the residents of Moore  -as they search.  Make their eyes sharp and their movements quick and effective.  Please, dear Lord, guard the lives of those who wait beneath steel and wood and debris of any kind.  Let them feel Your presence and know that You are with them.  And when the last person has been found,  please God, help the people of Moore rebuild once again.

God’s merciful blessings on all those who wait for word in that ruined city.  This night will be endless.