A Busy Weekend & Lots More Packing to Do! 5/6/2013

Monday night.  I started packing around 10 this morning and stopped around 4, with time-outs for lunch, a short nap, several phone calls and a brushing session for Bear .  I’m probably half-done, and I think that’s pretty good considering the busy weekend we had and that I’m recovering from a little mishap at the wedding.

The Weekend – Brett and Jack’s Wedding

Ted had to stay home and babysit Maddie and Bear because the kennel wouldn’t take them while they’re recovering from kennel cough.  My sweet friend, Dawn, volunteered to go with me to ensure I didn’t fall asleep during the three-hour trip back and forth.  We turned it into a girls road trip and had such a good time spending two days together.

We rode all the way to Washington, GA Saturday in the rain, and the outlook for the 6 p.m. wedding and outside reception was for rain, harder rain, and wind with rain.  We checked into the historic Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington, found a little restaurant behind the hotel, and grabbed a quick late lunch.  Dawn wasn’t going to the wedding, so I got ready (little black dress/black jacket, first high heels and hose I’d had on in six years), and drove the 12 miles out into the country to a little church outside Rayle, GA.  It was raining the entire way.

My wonderful Sumner first cousins - Ronald, Midge (mother-of-the-bride), Wanda, and Sharon.

My wonderful Sumner first cousins – Ronald, Midge (mother-of-the-bride), Wanda, and Sharon.

Beautiful bride Brett and her handsome husband Jack, with Midge and husband Clay.

Beautiful bride Brett and her handsome husband Jack, with Midge and husband Clay.

It’s somewhat of a miracle how the entire bridal party managed to stay dry as they waited to enter the church, but they did!

Just before I took the the photos above, I walked out to the car to get my iphone to snap a few candid shots (forgot my camera).  I was carrying my umbrella above my head, my glasses, my keys, and the wedding program.  Remember what I said about not having been in heels in six years? As soon as I stepped off the sidewalk, my heels sank in the mushy grass, and I went crashing down onto my side in the church yard.  I remember hearing lots of breaths being drawn in and “Oh no’s!” being whispered.  At that moment I was hoping the grass would go ahead and turn into a sink hole, and I would disappear from sight until everyone had gone home.  No such luck.

A sweet, sweet couple came rushing over as I rolled into a sitting position, thanking the good Lord I was wearing my “pull-up” Spanxx (you ladies will know what I’m talking about).  The gentlemen pulled me to my feet, and his wife proceeded to “wipe me down” as I was covered in wet grass from head to toe. Ta-dah . . . . once more, my grace knows no end.

The reception was at Midge and Clay’s home and was held in a huge tent that kept everyone dry.  Great band and great food.  So much fun!

Congratulations Brett and Jack, who are on their honeymoon right now on a Caribbean Island somewhere, enjoying sunny skies and tropical beaches!

The Weekend – Party Time!

An hour after we got back to the lake Sunday we were on the way to Booger Bottom for a combined Going Away/Cinco de Mayo Birthday Party for Ted.

What every guy wants for his birthday.  Good thing all these ladies are my very good friends!

What every guy wants for his birthday. Good thing all these ladies are my very good friends!

Dawn and Sally being silly.

Dawn and Sally being silly.

These two beautiful ladies, Renae and her mom Sue, and brother Rick and dad Mr. Charlie planned the party for us.  Such a great family!

These two beautiful ladies, Renae and her mom Sue, Renae’s brother Rick and Sue’s husband, Mr. Charlie, planned the party for us. Such a great family!

Would you believe Sue fried 35 lbs. of chicken because she knows Ted thinks she makes the best fried chicken in the world.

Would you believe Sue fried 35 lbs. of chicken because she knows Ted thinks she makes the best fried chicken in the world!

Everyone brought a dish . . . good gracious we ate too much!

Everyone brought a dish . . . good gracious, we ate too much!  That’s Ed, Dawn and Sally.

Karen and Gary.

Karen and Gary.

Gifts for Ted!

Gifts for Ted!

Me and my sweetie.

Me and my sweetie.

My sweetie and me.  Sorry for the double photos of us, but you know how hard it is to get Ted to smile for a photo, and he was smiling in both of these!

My sweetie and me. Sorry for the double photos of us, but you know how hard it is to get Ted to smile for a photo, and he was smiling in both of these!

fffffff

Waymon, Carmen, Karen, Diane, and Marianne.

Sweet Mr. Charlie.

Sweet Mr. Charlie.

Such good friends.  Will miss you all so much!

Such good friends. We’ll miss you all so much!

Mackinac Island – Here We Come!

We’re still scheduled to leave on Saturday, but Ted is working the first three days of this week.  He swears he can get packed up on Thursday and Friday (glad it’s not me), so a Saturday leave date is still the plan.  Nearly every hotel, shop and restaurant is open now, so every day I’m not there I feel like I’m missing something!

And geez, do I hate I missed THIS by one weekend!

All of us have ridden by Silver Birches and wished it would reopen.  And now it's happening!

All of us have ridden by Silver Birches and wished it would reopen. And now it’s happening! (All Silver Birches photos – Mary McGuire)

The Open House held on Saturday was well attended.  Everyone was so excited to get a look inside the lodge and cabins.

The Open House held on Saturday was well attended. Everyone was so excited to get a look inside the lodge and cabins.

The rarely seen inside of the lodge.

The rarely seen inside of the lodge.

Island friend Mary Maquire was on hand to provide entertainment for the Open House.

Island friend Mary McGuire was on hand to provide entertainment for the Open House.

I'm hoping once I'm on the Island I can get a tour and do a story on the renovation!

I’m hoping once I’m on the Island I can get a tour and do a story on the renovation!

More horses arrive every day and will continue to arrive through June.  (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

More horses arrive every day and will continue to arrive through June. (Photo: Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau)

Mission Point flowers were in full bloom for their opening weekend.

Mission Point Resort flowers were in full bloom for their opening weekend. (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

The Great Lakes Trader eastbound. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The Great Lakes Trader – eastbound. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Sunrise - May 3.  (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

Sunrise – May 3. (Photo: Patrick Conlon)

I’ll try to get one more post in by the end of the week, and then we’ll be off for another wonderful summer on Mackinac Island!  

Have a great rest of the week, everyone! God bless.

Countdown! Twelve . . Eleven . . Ten! 5/1/2013

Ten days until we leave.  One box packed to ship.  Nothing else done.  I’m thinking this is the way I should have been doing this for the last five summers instead of turning packing into a month-long marathon!

What’s different this year?  Yes, we are putting the condo on the market – but when Ted and I bought the condo, it had been on the market more than two years.  If it sells in one summer, we will both be in shock – so we are planning on being there from the middle of May until at least the end of October – and enjoying every moment – just like always.

What’s different this year?  I have such a peace about what lies ahead that it seems my usual excitement is being tempered by almost a sense of tranquility, a slow-down of my normal pace in getting ready, an attitude of, “Oh just throw a few things in the suitcase, and if I missed something, I can get it there.”  That is NOT my normal self.  Y’all know that.  I will ship everything I own so I don’t have two of anything.  Why haven’t I been like this before?!  Sooooo much more relaxing!  I know a bunch of you are out there laughing right now, saying “We’ve told you that a million times!”

What’s different this year?  We’re another year older, and this winter, as usual, I’ve become a couch potato. All plans to stay active for the last six months have gone by the wayside.  I know I’m going to struggle the first two weeks on the Island – just like I always do.  I’m dreading that . . . . . but I’m also looking forward to it – the getting back in shape part, not the part where every muscle will be screaming by day three on Mackinac!  You’d think one day I’d learn.

Ok – enough about me.  You’re here to read something about our magical Island!

Mackinac has come alive in the last two weeks.  The snow’s melted – well most of it anyway.  Shops and restaurants and hotels are opening every day, with more to come in the next week or so.  Here’s a few news items:

  • The Spirit of the North Yoga Boutique has moved into the lower level of the Lilac Tree Hotel, and yoga will be offered all summer.  The instructor is Lisa Knaffla, a registered yoga teacher and certified Health & Fitness Coach.  So if you are into yoga – or want to be – you can sign up by calling Lisa at (231) 818-3001.
  • Sadie’s, the new ice cream parlor at the Grand Hotel, opens May 3.  I wonder if Ted will let us stop the taxi on our first trip up the hill to get a Jersey Mud . . . . probably not.  I don’t know though – he’s pretty crazy about Jersey Muds!
  • Stu Stuart, who has been making visitors to the Island laugh for many years, is moving his comedy show from the lower level of the Lilac Tree Hotel to the Eagle Point Cave Room in the Conference Center across from Mission Point Resort’s Main Lodge.  Stu will have you laughing out loud about all things “Mackinac”, and is a must-see during your Mackinac visit!
  • So sad to report that Marc’s Double Oven Bakery will not be open this summer. Marc and his fabulous baked goods will be missed by one and all!
  • A new business – Sail Mackinac – opens this summer.  It will offer sailing lessons on a racing sail boat and special sails for island events like the 4th of July fireworks.  More information here:  http://sailmackinac.com
b277401013fc4f1edc74f97aa1d0d504_98am

Awesome boat!

It’s so funny how fast news gets around on the Island.  The realtor we purchased our condo from six years ago called us this week.  He’d been coming across on the ferry, and one of the island residents – who is a blog reader – said to him, “You knew Brenda and Ted were planning on selling their condo, didn’t you?”

He called to see if he could show it that afternoon!  All I could think about was how we leave that place every fall.  Bikes are stacked everywhere on the inside, along with deck chairs and tables.  Bathroom floor mats are off the floors and kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors are wide open to let heat in so pipes won’t freeze.  I’m sure whoever saw it thought, “Oh my goodness, what a mess!”

The tulips are coming up at the Grand!

The tulips are coming up at the Grand . . .

. . . and the red carpet is rolled out for the Friday, May 1 Grand Opening!  (Photo credit for this and above photo: Grand Hotel)

. . . and the red carpet is rolled out for the Friday, May 3 Grand Opening! (Photo credit for this and above photo: Grand Hotel)

The first Shepler Ferry of the season arrives at the Island early this past Monday morning.  (Photo:  Caddywampus)

The first Shepler Ferry of the season arrives at the Island early this past Monday morning. (Photo: Caddywampus)

The lights of town shrouded in fog. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The lights of town shrouded in fog. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The first Adirondack chairs are out at Mission Point.  The grass is still a little brown, but it won't be long before it turns that unmistakable Mackinac green. (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

The first Adirondack chairs are out at Mission Point. The grass is still a little brown, but it won’t be long before it turns that unmistakable Mackinac green. (Photo: Mission Point Resort)

Oh Lordy!  This year Doud's is baking, and donuts will be available warm and oh so yummy every morning! (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

Oh my goodness! This year Doud’s is baking, and donuts will be available warm and oh-so-yummy every morning!  (Photo: Sonnet Quinn)

It takes a long ladder to reach the flagpole on top of the Grand Hotel's cupola; but when the flagpole needs painting, they find a way to make it happen! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

It takes a long ladder to reach the flagpole on top of the Grand Hotel’s cupola. But when the flagpole needs painting, they find a way to make it happen! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Patrick starts us off with another season of sunrises. BEAUTIFUL!  Can't wait to see one for myself . . . oh wait, I'm never up that early.

Patrick Conlon starts us off with another season of sunrises. BEAUTIFUL! Can’t wait to see one for myself . . . oh wait, I’m never up that early!

Little Luxuries is open for a new season, and the store is now twice as big!  Over the winter they expanded into the space where the Yankee Peddler has been for many years.  One of my first stops after we get unpacked!

Little Luxuries on Mackinac is open for a new season, and the store is now twice as big! Over the winter they expanded into the space the Yankee Peddler occupied for many years. You all know it will be one of my first stops after we get unpacked!  (Photo: Little Luxuries)

A tug and barge headed for Soo Ontario under the light of a full moon. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A tug and barge headed for Soo Ontario under the light of a full moon. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Lake Blackshear News

We boarded Bear and Maddie two weekends ago while we went to see the grandkids.  A week later, around 2:30 on Sunday morning,  Bear woke us up coughing and retching so badly we thought he couldn’t get his breath.  I have never heard a dog cough like that.  He finally calmed down and went back to sleep, only to awake around 6:30 a.m. with the same symptoms.  When I got in touch with the vet before noon on Sunday, she diagnosed him over the phone, “He has kennel cough,” she said.  She knew that Bear had gotten all his shots, including the kennel cough vaccine, a month before, and I told her the kennel is adamant about their clients providing records from the vet that the dogs have been vaccinated.

“Doesn’t matter,” she said.  “The kennel cough vaccine is not 100% effective, and we think we’re dealing with a new strain, or a particularly virulent strain that the vaccine doesn’t cover.  We are seeing it pop up in every boarding kennel in the area.”

Geez.  We started Bear on meds, and he is doing great, but today Maddie started coughing.  Yikes!

Off to a wedding this weekend near Athens, GA.  We can’t board Maddie or Bear because of their cough, so Ted is doggie-sitting, and my good friend Dawn is going with me to the wedding.  We’re turning it into a girls road trip and spending the night in the historic Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington, GA.  We’ll get there in plenty of time to have lunch and look around this sweet little Georgia town before the 6 p.m. wedding.

Then it’s back home on Sunday for a going-away party at Booger Bottom that lake friends are throwing for us that afternoon.  Busy, busy weekend!

Hmmm . . . maybe I’ll start packing on Monday. That will give me five whole days before we leave.  Sure – that’s enough.  Right? Right?

 

The Day After 4/26/2013

I wasn’t planning to write today, but after so many of you wrote such wonderful comments supporting us yesterday, I just had to say a heartfelt thank you.  When I published yesterday’s post, it was with such a sense of relief that  I was a little afraid to begin reading your comments.  Would you understand, or would you think “Those Hortons have really lost it this time!”  I should have known better than to worry.  My post yesterday was like writing an important letter to a friend, and that is exactly how you responded – as friends.  You were so supportive, so warm, so exactly-what-I-needed that I’ve read and reread your words several times today.

There is nothing more anxiety-relieving than sharing a burden with a friend.  Even if nothing is said in response, it’s just such a lift to talk about what’s on your heart with a caring person.  And when that caring person responds with just the right words, your relief is doubled.

Thank you so much, my friends.

Never to Late to Say Thank You

When Bear and I were working Monday at Phoebe Putney Hospital, we visited with a waiting room full of folks in oncology.  Most of the people are waiting for friends or relatives to return from their chemo or radiation treatments, so we chat with them and let our pet partners work their magic.

As we worked the room, my eyes kept being drawn to a handsome gentleman sitting alone with his Kindle open in his lap.  He seemed really engrossed in whatever he was reading, but he took a moment to pet Bear and tell me he had a Labradoodle at home.  We moved away, but I kept thinking “I know that man from somewhere.”  It finally dawned on me who he was, but to be sure I asked someone, “Isn’t that Dr. ___?”

She nodded yes.

I had to work up my nerve to interrupt him again, but I finally approached him, and as he glanced up, I said, “Dr. __?

He smiled and said, “Yes?”

“I apologize for interrupting you, but 34 years ago you operated on my son Blake’s eye.  He had been bitten by a neighbor’s dog, and the dog’s fangs had split Blake’s tear duct.”

After Dr. __ stitched the tear duct back together (he later told us it was like working on something with the diameter of two human hairs), he treaded a suture through the top duct and out the bottom one, tying it off in a knot that remained a little below the corner of Blake’s eye for six weeks.  The doctor told us he did that to keep scar tissue from forming inside the duct.  If that had happened, tears would have never drained properly, and Blake’s eye would have continuously watered for the rest of his life.

“I just wanted you to know that Blake’s eye is perfect, and he’s never had any problem with it.”

The doctor smiled.  He apologized for not being able to remember.  He said we got lucky then with Blake because many dog bites to the eye end badly because of scar tissue.  He told me he was retired now, and I said I didn’t know that.

We chatted a few more moments, and then someone in a nurse’s uniform called, “Dr. __?”

He rose.  “Thank you so much for telling me about Blake.  We don’t usually get to hear what happens after we last see someone we’ve tried to help.”

He held out his hand to shake mine, and it was then I noticed the hospital bracelet on his wrist.  He was not there to pick up a friend or family member; he was there as a patient.

Saying thank you is such an easy thing to do we sometimes take it for granted.  But sometimes, it just might make someone’s day.

A Few Pics

photo-3

Bear, giving his full attention to a middle school reader at one of our local schools.

Crabapple tree berries and birds - they just go naturally go together.

Crabapple tree berries and birds – they just go naturally go together.

From our trip to Ormond Beach last weekend.  Matthew's in there somewhere!

From our trip to Ormond Beach last weekend. Matthew’s in there somewhere!

Sprinting for the finish line.

Sprinting for the finish line.

Proud G-Daddy!  Matthew was 38th out of almost 500 runners of all ages!

Proud G-Daddy! Matthew was 38th out of almost 500 runners of all ages!

Our sweet boy.

Our sweet boy.

Gorgeous day at the lake today.  All our windows are open, we had a high of close to 80 - but no humidity.  Perfect!

Gorgeous day at the lake today. All our windows are open, we had a high of close to 80 – but no humidity.  Perfect!

Two weeks from tomorrow we will be leaving for Mackinac Island, and  WAIT – YOU AREN”T GOING TO BELIEVE THIS . . . . I haven’t packed a thing!  I figure on Monday panic will strike, I’ll pull out all the suitcases, and the countdown will begin.  Until then, here’s a little video one of my reader’s husbands found.  The first part is about Mackinac Island, and I know you will love it!

Oh . . . one more thing . . . no more scheduled posts.  They might pop up two in a row (like yesterday and today), once a week, or every day (LOL).  So it’s even more important to hit that little “follow” button so you will get a notification email when a new post hits. 

Oh . . . one more thing . . . a big THANK YOU to Clark Bloswick for capturing this breathtakingly beautiful pink moon over Mackinac last night and the header photo of the Round Island Light from the air.  Two more weeks, Clark, and I can stop stealing your photos . . . or not.

32378_374606022644230_1065048336_n[1]

Oh . . . one more thing . . . Love you ALL!

Mackinac video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_FiquoSPBI&sns=em

From My Heart 4/25/2013

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselvesAnatole France.

It’s been a strange winter for me.  I don’t mean the weather, although that’s been strange enough.  I mean strange as in introspective – not a quality I identify a lot with myself.  I’ve always been one of those impulsive, spur-of-the-moment people.  An idea will pop into my head, and without so much as three minutes of real thought, I’m off on some new project that usually turns out as well as it would have if I’d spent weeks planning each step.

Of course it doesn’t always work.  My readers can remember quite a few times I’ve said, “This summer I’m going to do (fill-in-the-blank) on the blog.”  And it just didn’t happen.  A perfect example is last summer’s “Dog-Eared Page” – Lordy, what a disaster.

A few of my impulses have worked out pretty well though.  This blog was an impulse.  I remember, as we prepared to return to Mackinac for our first full summer, saying to myself, “I think I’ll try writing about the season on the Island.”  I remember sitting down, opening the laptop, registering with WordPress.com and starting this journal of our lives that is about to enter its fifth year – 622 posts, over 650,000 visitors from all over the world.

An impulse idea that truly changed my world was when I said to Ted, “I think we should buy a summer home on Mackinac Island.”  After Ted stopped laughing, he sat me down – bless his heart – and shared with me all the reasons that was never going to happen.  I must have been temporarily deaf that day.  When he saw I was serious, Ted went through all the gyrations he always does when making any decision – whether it’s buying a vacation home or deciding the nutritional differences between whole wheat and white bread.  He studied all the resources available, made calls and wrote letters.  And after weeks and weeks of research, he said to me one evening, “Ok, I think we can do this.”

I remember giving him a big kiss, a bigger hug and whispering in his ear, “I thought we could!”

Last November, after we arrived home and had a wonderful Thanksgiving here at the lake with all the cousins, I arose one morning with a nagging thought that would not let me go.  I tried praying about it, tried to ignore it, tried to talk myself around it, tried to convince myself I was not really feeling what I was feeling.

But I was.

And what I was feeling was an intense need to nest.  When I was honest with myself, I admitted that the feeling had begun on the island last summer.  I felt as though as I was walking through the motions of living there.  Whenever I thought of something I wanted to do at the condo, my first thought would be, “But why?  I won’t be here much longer to enjoy it.”  The same thing was happening here in Georgia.  With all the work we’d done in the kitchen last spring, we left a week later and didn’t get to enjoy it for 5 months.  Yes, it was here when we returned, but I could look ahead and see similar events like that through the coming years. 

I have no idea why this has become such an issue with me now unless it’s an age thing – a deep internal craving to be settled, to be nested-in for good, to be at home – truly at home – at this time in our lives.  Another factor is our grandchildren.  They’re in Florida now, and we’ve seen them at least once a month since we’ve been home.  But they’re not going to be able to come north this summer, so for the next 6 months we won’t see them.  That was often the case when they lived in Arkansas, but now they’re only four hours away.

I finally approached the subject with Ted a few weeks ago and was so relieved to find he’d been having much the same conversation with himself – not the nesting thing, but concerns more on the practical side.  Two houses are expensive to maintain, and nearly all our resources go toward keeping them up.  We’d both like to travel more.  We’d both like a home that we can make improvements on and be around all year to enjoy.

Over the last weeks, Ted and I have talked and soul-searched more than probably any other time in our marriage.  After writing down list after list of pros and cons, what we’ve decided on is this:

Step one:  This summer we will put our Mackinac condo on the market.

Step two:  When we return in the fall (or if the condo sells, whenever we return to Georgia), we will put the lake house on the market.

Step three:  When both have sold (we realize, of course, that it may be three weeks, three months, or three years before any of this happens), we want to relocate to the east coast of Florida somewhere around the Amelia Island/Fernandino Beach area.

As I just typed those steps, I am amazed at the calmness of my spirit.  It didn’t come easily.  As usual, when I am going through a turmoil of emotions, I first try to “go it alone”.  It was only after I got down on my knees and turned it all over to God that I found my peace.  My prayer was this: Lord, this is a tremendous change to think about in our senior years.  I ask, whatever Your will is in our lives, that You only open those doors.  If this move is pleasing to You, it will happen.  If not, it won’t.  We won’t force it.  We put it all into your more than capable hands.”

When I stood from my prayer place on my knees by our bed, the peace came like a warm breeze whispering over me.  From that moment on, I’ve been calm about what we are considering.

I know to most of my readers, and our friends and our family that all this is more than surprising.  My deep love for Mackinac has not changed, and I believe it will forever be my heart’s home.  I don’t intend to give it up. One of our ideas is to continue to spend a couple of months there in the summer.  But we will be coming as visitors, not as residents.  There is no part of me that longs to let go completely of my magical Mackinac. 

Ted and I both deeply love our home and friends at the lake, and leaving here will be hard.  But most of our friends here are beach people also, and I have a feeling they will visit us much more often in Florida than they did in Michigan. 

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that Ted and I both must have a pint or two of gypsy blood flowing in our veins.  Hopefully, if all this works out and we land ocean-side, that gypsy blood will have thinned out enough for us to ignore it for the rest of our lives.

Why the beach?  While I found my heart’s home on Mackinac, Ted’s heart has always belonged to the ocean – to sandy beaches and warm, tropical winds.  I love the beach also – not as much as my husband, but enough to think our lives would be rich, peaceful and fulfilled there.  The added plus is we would only be a couple of hours from our grandchildren.

So today is the beginning of the new normal for Ted and I.  We will pack up for Mackinac and move northward – just like the last six summers.  If the condo does not sell, we are planning a fabulous season on the island, and we’ll be back in Georgia in November.  If it does sell, we’ll be back earlier.

From now on, there will only be one blog – the one from Mackinac – although it’s name will change as our lives change.  From this point on, we will be focused on transitioning into our forever home.

I hope you choose to follow us on this journey.  You, my readers, have become friends not only to me, but to each other.  I love you all, and I’ve whispered your names into God’s ear on many occasions.  You are such an important part of my life – I don’t want you to go away.

I know this is a lot to process, but the writing of it has helped me put it all into even more perspective.  I can already fill the excitement of this next life’s journey taking hold.

Just as you followed me to Mackinac five summers ago, I hope we can take this next step together.

God bless.

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Hey y’all! It’s Lana from Never Enough Thyme with a message for you.

I know you were expecting to hear from Brenda today but, unfortunately, she’s having a little problem with her laptop. It’s in the clinic and since she’s out of town this weekend and working with Bear on Monday, she won’t be able to get it back until next Tuesday! So just hang on…she’s coming back as soon as she can. And knowing Brenda, she’ll have something fantastic to share with all of us by next week.

In the meantime, you could always pay a little visit to my blog. There’s always something good cooking over there 🙂

Mackinac Loses an Island Icon 4/14/2013

Any news I would have otherwise shared today is greatly overshadowed by the passing of R.D. Musser, Jr., Chairman of the Grand Hotel.

On Saturday, April 13, a statement from the hotel read: It is with great sadness we let you know R.D. Musser, Jr. passed away early this morning.  Mr. Musser was highly respected in the hospitality industry and a true icon to everyone who knew him.  He became president of the hotel in 1960 and then purchased it with his wife Amelia in 1979.  For more than 60 years he operated America’s Summer Place.  As we approach the 80th consecutive year of the hotel opening under the stewardship of the same family, it will not be the same without the presence of Mr. Musser who had a ritual of going through each guest room before the hotel opened to make sure it was ready for the season. He will be greatly missed by his loyal staff and guests.

The last time I saw and spoke to Mr. Musser was this past fall on October 27, when Jill and I were at the Grand for its closing day ceremony.  After Mr. Musser and his son spoke briefly and rang the bell signaling the close of the season, I happened to be on the front porch when Mr. Musser stepped outside for a few moments.  He graciously allowed Jill to snap a photo of him and me together, and that photo becomes even more special to me now.

grand6

Our prayers go out to Mr. Musser’s wife, Amelia, their daughter Robin Agnew and her husband Jamie of Ann Arbor, daughter Margaret “Mimi” Cunningham of Mackinac Island, son R. D. Musser III and his wife Marlee Brown of Mackinac Island, and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, April 17 at 10 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church in East Lansing, with burial at a later date on Mackinac Island.

In the years to come, I will not only miss seeing him at the hotel, but also watching him on the electric cart he used (due to health issues) to travel back and forth numerous times a day between the hotel, town and his family’s island home.  Those trips were never quick because he’d be hailed so many times by friends and hotel guests from past and present.  He would always pull over and chat with anyone who called to him.

Mr. Musser’s warmth, hospitality and integrity will be greatly missed in the years ahead, but he leaves the hotel in the very capable hands of his son, Dan, III, who took over the reins of the Grand this past summer.  God willing, the Musser legend will continue at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for many years to come.

In one of hundreds of comments on the Grand Hotel’s web site, a former guest left this poignant comment: I already knew that in Heaven there would be many mansions.  And now I also know it will be filled with red geraniums.”

The Michigan Live web site has a wonderful article about Mr. Musser, including a 2009 video interview. You can access that article here:  http://www.mlive.com/business/index.ssf/2013/04/mackinac_islands_grand_hotel_o.html

Mackinac Island Spring Update 4/7/2013

Five weeks to go . . . I think.

Ted has had a possible 3-day job come up May 6-8 here in Georgia (the week we would be doing our final packing to leave).  If that job commitment is made, there’s a chance we won’t get out of here Mother’s Day weekend.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens . . .

I only have a few photos tonight, and most of the ones I do have deal with more snow . . . something the island will be happy now to see end.  The first of the Grand Hotel workers arrived this week, and most of them came from very warm climates.  I’m hearing there are a lot of very happy Jamaicans seeing their first snow ever and enjoying it immensely!  I just can’t quite comprehend that the Grand “soft” opens at the end of this month and officially opens one week later, on May 2.

I read in The St. Ignace News this week that P.J. Parrish, the author of “Heart of Ice” – set on Mackinac Island – will be participating in the Mackinac Island Library Summer Author Series.  As you know “P.J.” is actually the pen name for two sisters, Kristy Montee and Kelly Nichols.  They’ll be at the island library on June 28 at 4 p.m. – can’t wait to hear them!

The Seabiscuit Cafe is already open!  Love, love, love their English Pot Roast Muffins!  Oh my gosh – now my tummy is growling!

April 4 and it is snowing on the island.  That cart just arrived with the first of this year's merchandise for Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island.  Have I mentioned that Nicole's shop will be twice as large this year?!  Oh my goodness, do NOT tell Ted!

April 4 and it is snowing on the island. That cart just arrived with the first of this year’s merchandise for Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island. I chatted with Nicole this afternoon, and she said more snow is forecast for the end of the coming week.  Good grief!  Oh . . .have I mentioned that Nicole’s shop will be twice as large this year?! Oh my goodness, do NOT tell Ted – he will chop up my charge card. (Photo: Nicole Doud)

The Father Marquette statue welcomed April to the Island through a veil of snow flakes.

The Father Marquette statue welcomed April to the Island through a veil of snow flakes. (Photo:  Clark Bloswick)

gggggg

For the entire month of April the Mackinac Bridge is illuminated by blue lights as part of an autism awareness campaign.  So beautiful.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Perfect place - perfect time.  Clark Bloswick was walking down Astor Street when he spotted the Huron coming straight on to the Arnold dock.

Perfect place at the perfect time. Clark Bloswick was walking down Astor Street when he spotted the Huron coming straight in to the Arnold dock.  I swear when we get to the Island I’m tracking down Clark Bloswick and Robert McGreevy and following them around all summer.  Maybe that way I can get some fantastic shots too!

Greg Main posted this photo of the new street lights that are being added.

Greg Main posted this photo of the new street lights being added downtown.  The light with the speed limit sign is older, and you can see the new lights beyond that one are brighter and seem to direct more light down on the street.  Love them!

As the weeks tick by, I’ve begun to think seriously about Bree’s Blog, and where I want to go with it this summer .  Coming up in June will be what I hope is one of the best stories yet from that magical spot.  It involves a wonderful, loyal reader and his wife and the amazing way the Island is helping make a dream come true.  That’s all I’m giving away for now . . . . :)!

That’s all for tonight.  Have a great week, think SPRING, and God bless.