Slow Weekend 9/29/2013

You know how it is when you find a book you really, really like, and you don’t want to put it down . . . not for anything?  Well, that’s how I’ve been the last few days.  I’ve been reading Susan Wiggs’ Table for Five, and after two really “heavy-duty” books, Table for Five, although not exactly a “light” subject, is an easy-to-read and compelling story.

I’ve said all that because I’m using it as an excuse not to have much for you tonight in the way of news OR photos.  I know, I know.  I don’t need excuses with y’all, but it really IS the reason I’ve been sticking close to home for a few days.

Anyway, here’s what I have – taken on walks with Bear and on the way home from church this morning.

A tree on Fourth Street, just before I enter the State Park on Whitefield Road.

A tree on Fourth Street.  I’d just come off Whitefield Road, which is in the State Park,  into the Village.

The remains of an old wooden fence on Whitefield Road.  You can see leaves beginning to shift into yellow

The remains of an old wooden fence on Whitefield Road.  Love old fences!

We always have a goose or two around the Island, but now they're arriving in great flocks.  These were behind the school this morning as I came back from church.

We always have a goose or two around the Island, but now they’re arriving in great flocks. These were behind the school this morning as I came back from church.

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The Grand Hotel has been a beehive of activity for the last week.  They’ve been replacing the worn pavement in front of the hotel, and I’ve seen more motorized vehicles at the Grand (asphalt trucks, front-end loaders, etc) than I’ve seen on the entire island in the last six years.

The amazing thing is it's entirely done - in one week!  Old pavement removed, ground prepared, and new pavement poured.  People have asked why they didn't wait until after the hotel closed at the end of October.  The answer is WEATHER.  Asphalt cannot be poured below a certain outside temperature, and by the first of November, we could have snow.  So - it's done, it looks great, and next season, NO trucks or mess!

The amazing thing is it’s entirely done – in one week! Old pavement removed, ground prepared, and new pavement poured. People have asked why they didn’t wait until after the hotel closed at the end of October. The answer is WEATHER. Asphalt cannot be poured below a certain outside temperature, and by the first of November, we could have snow. So – it’s done, it looks great, and next season, NO trucks or mess!

My favorite golf course tree again - from another angle.

My favorite golf course tree again – from another angle.

The annual big barns pumpkin patch!

The annual big barns pumpkin patch!

We got a good rain last night - the first we've seen in a few weeks.  Well, we didn't actually SEE it 'cause we were asleep!  By morning, it was over except for some damp roads, which by noon were practically dry.

We got a good rain last night – the first we’ve seen in a few weeks. By morning, it was over except for some damp roads, which by noon were practically dry.

That’s it for tonight.  We’re about to leave for Mackinac Night at the Chippewa (which we’ve never attended before), and I’m running late as usual.

Hope everyone has a great week, and I promise to get out of the house more in the next few days.  God bless.

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Fall? Who Said? 9/25/2013

After working Monday morning at the Stuart House, I took some time to walk through downtown with my camera.  Everywhere I turned were gardens, flower beds, flower pots and hanging baskets – all beautiful and happily blooming away.  You’d never know we’ve been in the 50’s for highs this week and frost warnings have been issued the last two nights. 

So . . . Fall might be here on the calendar – but Mackinac Island’s summer flowers are still blooming their little hearts out!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the entrance is surrounded by tall, beautiful flowers that are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

Our post office always looks good, but this year the tall, beautiful flowers surrounding the entrance are really showing off. Makes going after the mail a real treat!

One of many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

One of the many hanging baskets at The Cottage Inn . . .

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can't stay away from his cell phone.

. . . and a little frog named Bob who just can’t stay away from his cell phone.

These beauties were outside Weber's, across

These beauties were outside Weber’s on Market Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering around also - like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a summer cottage on Huron Street.

Butterflies are still fluttering – like this one sipping at some flowers in front of a closed-for-the-winter cottage on Huron Street.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

There are no words for the floral wonders at the Island House this year.

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

Every garden is a masterpiece of color, variety . . .

. . . and

. . . and uniqueness.

The side of Bay View is

Bay View of Mackinac is a riot of flowering bushes.

Doud's Market.  I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted.  They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking!

Doud’s Market. I remember these window boxes in the spring when they first were planted. They have thrived all summer, and right now they are peaking.

Hanging basket outside Mary's Bistro.

Hanging basket outside Mary’s Bistro.

One perfect blossom - along the board walk.

One perfect blossom – along the board walk.

Cadotte from the Grand Hotel.

Cadotte Avenue from the Grand Hotel.

MORE SCENES FROM THE MONDAY AFTERNOON STROLL

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Looking across Marquette Park toward Fort Mackinac.  Not much Fall color yet – but it’s coming!

J.L. Beanery

J.L. Beanery Coffee House is a great place for breakfast – and awesome lunch sandwiches.

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Quiet street – from the Fort to the Island House.

The Mackinac Island Marine is another quiet place these days.

The Mackinac Island Marina is another quiet place these days.

The Island House

The Island House – tucked between Michigan blue skies and shamrock green lawns.

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A nice afternoon to visit across the white picket fence in front of the Windermere Hotel.

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

A shady curve of sidewalk leading to the library . . .

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check out

. . . where I ducked through the side yard to check if the chairs were still out on the back deck.

Quite possibly the most beautiful boardwalk in the world.

Walking along the boardwalk these days is a treat to all the senses . . .

. . . especially the visual.

. . . especially the visual.  A Shepler ferry . . .

. . . and Arnold's freight boat.

. . . and the Arnold freight boat glide across sparkling blue water.

Chambers Corner

Chambers Corner and a glimpse up Market Street.

Little Stone Church

Little Stone Church through the changing leaves of the new trees that line Cadotte.  I wonder how many more years I’ll call them the “new” trees?

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

A touch of color on a Jewel Golf Course tree . . .

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac are trying to swipe with every pass along the road.

. . . and apples near the road that every horse on Mackinac tries to swipe as they walk by.

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A wagon and a carriage stand side by side in the sunshine at Barn View.

NEWSY STUFF

Picking up the mail at the post office.

Picking up the outgoing mail at the post office.  The dray delivers it to the ferry, and the next morning the whole process starts again – in reverse.  (Photo:  Jill Sawatzki)

It's definitely Fall inside Doud's Market! (Photo:  Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

It’s definitely Fall inside Doud’s Market! (Photo: Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island)

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day?  These are packed full and on their first leg of their journey to Jamaica.

Remember those empty blue barrels from the other day? These are packed full and on the first leg of their journey to Jamaica – along with what looks like some carpet.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.

Getting my coffee fix at Lucky Bean, before opening the Stuart House on Monday morning.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Meet the Green's - Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa.  Kem discovered Bree's Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I've ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt with my first trip here, it is Kem.  Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years.  They're staying at the Chippewa and asked us to have dinner last night so they could ask questions about island life.  Such a nice couple.  I fell immediately in love with Kem's enthusiasm and positive attitude.  If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

Meet the Greens – Kem and Ed from Des Moines, Iowa. Kem discovered Bree’s Blog last summer after visiting Mackinac, and if I’ve ever met anyone who mirrors how I felt after my first trip here, it is Kem. Ed feels the same way, and they have a plan to be living (maybe full-time) on the Island in five years. They came over to the Stuart House on Monday and asked us to have dinner with them at the Chippewa Hotel (where they’re staying) last night so they could ask questions about island life. Such a nice couple! I fell immediately in love with Kem’s enthusiasm and positive attitude. If anyone can make that plan come true, these two can!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes so everyone introduced themselves.  This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin's.  She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said "Upstairs in the apartment."  So Kem said, "Why don't we take her for a walk?"  Do you see now why I'm crazy about these two.  Kem got Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa and they all went for a walk in the fog!

When the Greens came by the Stuart House Frankie and Hershey were visiting for a few minutes, so everyone introduced themselves. This morning was very foggy so Kem went out shopping and stopped in to see Frankie at Benjamin’s. She asked where Hershey was, and Frankie said “Upstairs in the apartment.” So Kem said, “Why don’t we take her for a walk?” Do you see why I’m crazy about these two. Kem collected Hershey, called Ed at the Chippewa, and they all went for a walk in the fog!

And speaking of fog.  The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in.  So eerie-looking!

And speaking of fog. The morning started off bright and beautiful, but Jim Ryerse captured the fog bank as it rolled in. So eerie-looking!

It looks like I'm not going to get out to Silver Birches after all this week, but the Town Crier interview worked out.  Stephanie Fortino, the reporter who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye's trip to the Island rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted for over two hours.  The story should run in the October Town Crier.

Stephanie Fortino, the reporter from the St. Ignace News/Town Crier who wrote the wonderful story about Lowell & Faye’s trip to the Island, rode up to the condo this afternoon, and we all chatted about Bree’s Blog for over two hours. The story should run in the October Town Crier.  I love working with Stephanie – another enthusiastic – and very professional – young lady.

WEDNESDAY WALK

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk.  I am always amazed at some of the bizarre formations of the island's

After Stephanie hurried down the hill to catch the ferry, Ted and I took Maddie and Bear for a long walk. I am always amazed at some of the bizarre forms aged or dead trees take on over the years.  These trunks on Cupid’s Pathway seemed almost fossilized.

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Rays of sunlight breaking through thick still-green foliage.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk.  Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Now that Bear is feeling better, he is getting rid of a lot of pent-up energy on every walk. Once off-leash in the woods he breaks into an all-out run and races through bushes and over fallen trees like a pack of wolves is after him.

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

Then he stops, digs a hole . . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . . grabs a stick . . .

. . . and chews.

. . . and chews.

And then he starts all over again!

And then he starts all over again! 

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

How they like to end every walk . . . running up the hill at the Carriage Museum to get treats from Denise!

Well, I guess you didn’t know when you sat down to read this you were going to be here this long!  I’ve really been out a lot with the camera this week! 

I still haven’t worked out the details with Liz Ware about my night at Silver Birches, but hopefully that is still going to happen. 

One big bit of news.  We had an offer on the condo this week, but after counter offers and re-counter offers, we just couldn’t get together on price.  So . . . no sale on that one. 

Hoping everyone is having a good week.  Stay safe, stay well, and I’ll see you back here in a few days!  God bless.

Subtle Changes 9/22/2013

Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season’s last crops.  Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

I’ve always loved the Peanuts cartoon characters, and being a dog lover, that little Beagle Snoopy is a favorite of mine.  Snoopy always finds a way to express his most joyous moments in the simplest of terms . . . like jumping into a pile of leaves, with his buddy Woodstock (after all, our experiences are always better if shared with a friend), to show us how much fun Fall is!

fall

Autumn has always been my favorite season.  There’s just something so mellow about a fall day – the crackle of dry leaves under my feet as I walk the roads and trails of Mackinac Island and the rustle of leaves high above me in trees that are being gently rocked by the wind.  At home in Georgia Autumn includes the smell of leaves burning in great piles down by the water or out by the road.  Bright crimson berries appear on the island and in our yard at the lake – making me think of Christmas and where I can use those berries as decorations. Pine cones are everywhere, and the earth smells rich and wet.

After the hurly-burly of Summer, the serenity of Fall is a welcome visitor.

I was thinking all this as Ted and I walked Maddie and Bear up to Ft. Holmes late this afternoon.  The highs here for the last two days have only been in the 50’s, and shorts and t-shirts have been replaced with sweaters, jeans and an occasional scarf.  It was only after I began to experience the Falls up north that I discovered the wonderful warmth offered by yards of soft material wrapped around my neck.  It’s amazing the difference a scarf makes in your body temperature!

We walked two blocks up Cadotte to Fifth Street and turned right.  That block ends with a short trail through a wooded area, and it was there I  caught on film the first color changes the Village.

We walked two blocks up Cadotte to Fifth Street and turned right. That block ends with a short trail through a wooded area, and it was there I caught on film the first color changes in the Village.

Love, love, love yellow flowers.  Are these brown-eyed Susans?  Somebody tell me please!

Love, love, love yellow flowers. Somebody tell me what these are please!

Same flowers - with a bee.

Same flowers – with a bee.  Which led  Ted and I into a “discussion” on the difference between Bumblebees and Honeybees.  I think this is a Bumblebee – a small one.  It was VERY sluggish today, barely moving.  Ours in Georgia – really BIG ones – get that way late in the Fall after the temps dive.  It’s my understanding that all Bumblebees die in the Fall except for the pregnant Queen, but Honeybees live on in their hive all winter, existing on the sweet honey they’ve produced all summer.  Speak up if you know the real story!

Crossing Turtle Park we came across some red

Crossing Turtle Park we came upon some leaves already turning red.

The entrance to the park on the "cemetery" side.

The entrance to the park on the “cemetery” side.

Bear and Maddie kept their noses to the ground practically the entire walk.  So MUCH to smell!

Bear and Maddie kept their noses to the ground practically the entire walk. So MUCH to smell!

Spots of yellow in the cemeteries.

Spots of yellow in the cemeteries . . .

. . . and beautiful red berries.

. . . and those beautiful red berries.

One of my favorite Mackinac Island "roads less taken."

One of my favorite Mackinac Island “roads less traveled” – up past the cemeteries, almost to Lookout Point.

Bear dragged me over to the steps leading down to Sugar Loaf, but I said, "Another day!"

Bear dragged me over to the steps leading down to Sugar Loaf, but I had to disappoint him and say, “Another day!”

Lookout Point

Lookout Point in the low light of late afternoon.  Over the fence . . .

. . . the trees surrounding Sugar Loaf are beginning their slow change.

. . . the trees surrounding Sugar Loaf are beginning their slow change to gold.

Right over the fence at Lookout Point there have been two trees as long as I can remember going up there.  One has been dead for quite a few years, and now it looks like maybe lightning maybe broke it off.

Right over the fence at Lookout Point there have been two trees as long as I can remember going up there. One has been dead for quite a few years, and now it looks like lightning maybe broke it off – or maybe it was cut down.  Either way it reminds me of an alligator coming up out of the water with its head held straight up toward the sky and its mouth open.  See the eye?  Yes, I know it looks like half his snout is chopped off.   What do you see?

Walking toward Ft. Holmes.

Walking toward Ft. Holmes – my FAVORITE “road less traveled” – whatever the season.

The sounds of children playing met us as we arrived at Ft. Holmes.  Several boys and girls were running in and out and along the top of the embackments.

The sounds of children playing met us as we arrived at Ft. Holmes. Several boys and girls were running in and out of the entrance and along the top of the embankments.  They left with their parents soon after we arrived, and we had the whole hilltop to ourselves.

More red . . .

More red berries.

ddd

Bear – taking a little rest.

There's talk that Ft. Holmes may soon be restored so visitors will be able to see what it really looked like in the early 1800's.

There’s talk that Ft. Holmes may soon be restored so visitors will be able to see what it really looked like in the early 1800’s.  I personally love the solitude of how it stands now – one of those places – like Anne’s Tablet – that people either don’t know about – or don’t want to climb up to.  I love it like it is.

It’s been a good weekend – not busy, quiet (except for 1200 Michigan Republicans at their convention).  But they stayed downtown, and I stayed up the hill, so all was good.  Bear’s hotspot has finally turned the corner toward healing.  Lordy!  Those things drive ME crazy trying to give him some relief and drive HIM crazy ’cause I haven’t found the magic solution yet – at least not one that works fast enough for either of us.

Hope you’re all doing well out there and that you have a fantastic week, I’ll be back in a few days with more news, good Lord willing.  Hugs to you all.  God bless.

Here and There and Everywhere! 9/19/2013

Hi gang!  It’s basically been a normal Mackinac Island week, so there isn’t a lot to write about tonight.    But . . . it seems everyone likes the “normal” stuff as well as the big events, so here’s what I have for you . . .

Monday I worked at the Stuart House, and it was one of only two of my volunteer days this season when no blog readers stopped by.  I felt lonely!  But since then, I’ve seen a couple of readers on Main Street, and tonight, as Ted and I were walking downtown, I heard someone calling, “Bree! Bree!”  We looked all around and finally looked UP!  A man was standing on the third floor balcony of the Grand Hotel shouting and waving, “My wife and I read your blog!”  We waved, and I shouted, “Thank you!”  Loved it!

POOR BEAR!

Tuesday I was off-island with Bear for his “spa day”.  Bless his heart.  He has his annual Fall season hot spot, and boy is this one in a doozie of a location – on the bottom of his tail, right up next to where the tail joins the body (think about it).  He has not been a happy camper all week, especially since he’s been forced to wear that awful halo collar so he can’t bite at the spot and just make it worse.  I’ve been trying some “natural” meds so I don’t have to resort to steroids, which he does not tolerate well at all.  I AM applying some ointment from the vet that has helped the itching, but I didn’t get that until after he was groomed.  The ladies at the spa said he was like a different dog on Tuesday – fidgety, nervous and refusing to stand still.  Well, I couldn’t stand still if I had an itch I couldn’t scratch either!   Poor Bear.

MAKING A WITHDRAWAL

I had some banking to do last week, and as I opened the bank door, a large dog who had been sitting on the sidewalk ran inside with me.  I figured her owner must be in the bank, so I just ignored her and walked over to the counter to write a check.  When I turned around . . .

. . . the dog, who I finally recognized as Annie (she belongs to a lady in the Village), was going from one teller window to another, standing on her hind legs and checking

. . . the dog, who I finally recognized as Annie (she belongs to a lady in the Village), was going from one teller window to another, standing on her hind legs and checking for possible hand-outs.

Everyone seemed to be busy, but that didn't deter Annie . . .

Everyone seemed to be busy, but that didn’t deter Annie . . .

. . . who finally checked a window where the teller had treats!

. . . who finally checked a window where the teller had treats!

Someone called Annie’s owner, who was down the street looking for her wayward dog.  She said when they left home that morning she told Annie they were going to the bank, so she guessed Annie decided to go straight there and forget their other stops.

CHIEF JIM MARKS’ RETIREMENT PARTY

Our wonderful Police Chief, Jim Marx, has retired, and the whole community came together this afternoon to wish he and his wife Betty a relaxing and peaceful retirement.

Our wonderful Police Chief, Jim Marks, is retiring October 5, and the whole community turned out this afternoon to wish him and wife Nancy an awesome retirement.  We will miss y’all!

IT’S ALMOST LEAF SEASON!

Riding home with taxi driver Ron this evening after dinner, we saw that some of the "new" trees lining Cadotte are already dressing for Autumn.

Riding home with taxi driver Bob this evening after dinner, we saw that some of the trees lining Cadotte are already dressing for Autumn.  We’re beginning to see some touches of yellow all over the Island – Fall is coming fast!

PHOTOS!

I haven’t had a chance to get out and take many pics this week, but I know a lot of folks who have.  Here are some great shots from around town:

Lars, Ann Levy's beautiful Friesian, left the island at sunrise this week.  Always sad to see the horses leave, both private . . .

Lars, Ann Levy’s beautiful Friesian, left the island at sunrise this week. Always sad to see the horses leave, both private . . .

. . . and those belonging to Carriage Tours.  We've been watching them go ever since Labor Day. (Photo: Denise Beaudoin)

. . . and those belonging to Carriage Tours. We’ve been watching them go ever since Labor Day. (Photo: Denise Beaudoin)

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It’s blue barrel time on Mackinac.  Our Jamaican workers fill these barrels with everything they’ve purchased while working here during the summer and ship them back home to their families.  They will send linens, paper goods, rice, flour, clothes – anything that isn’t perishable.  All these items are much cheaper in the U.S. than in Jamaica, and the things they ship home – plus the wages they’ve earned in the time they’ve spent away from their families – will help those families survive another year.

Tuesday's spectacular sunrise from Mackinac Island's Shepler dock.  (Photo: Shepler's Ferry Line)

Tuesday’s spectacular sunrise from Mackinac Island’s Shepler dock. (Photo: Shepler’s Ferry Line)

We’ve got a quiet weekend planned, but – being Mackinac – that could change at the drop of a hat.  And next week, I’m being interviewed by Stephanie Fortino, a reporter for The St. Ignace News & The Town Crier, for a feature story on Bree’s Blog.  So excited about that!  ALSO excited that I may be spending a night next week out at Silver Birches in the big lodge.  Now THAT should be an interesting night!

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here in a few days!  God bless.

This and That 9/15/2013

Things have been pretty quiet around here since the big events surrounding Patriots Day. Tomorrow I’ll spend a few hours in the same building as Lady Liberty, as I volunteer at the Stuart House.  I never went inside the other evening after they placed her in her temporary home, and Monday I’ll have plenty of time to take a few more close-up photos.  We’re all hoping the funds for the construction of the statue’s new pedestal will come in quickly,  If they do, I’m sure she’ll be standing outside at the marina, welcoming the first visitors of the 2014 season!

Ted and I were invited to go over to Round Island Lighthouse on Friday night.  A group of State Park employees were planning an evening exploring the small island and maybe roasting a few hot dogs and marshmallows over a bonfire.  When we found out the trip would involve climbing out of the boat into waist-deep very cold water, wading to shore, AND that the temps were dropping into the low 50’s that afternoon, we sadly declined the invitation.  We were both bummed out because that’s a trip we’ve been trying to make for several years.  I have to admit we smiled when we heard later even the YOUNG people had cancelled for those same reasons – made us feel a little less wimpy :).

BLOG READERS

Last week was so busy I didn’t have a moment to tell you about all the blog readers who were on the island last Monday and dropped in at the Stuart House to say “hi”.

What a fun group!  These two couples

What a fun group! These two couples, Ron & Susan Jennings and Jim & Marcia Shrauger (all from Kalamazoo, MI) popped in, claiming they had “stalked” me last year, but didn’t come in to say hi during their visit.  So glad they did this year!  I saw them several more times during the week, and each time they looked like they were having the best time ever!  Now here’s a group that GETS Mackinac!

Monica and her husband Rick (who was shy about being in the photo) came by right after I opened the doors.  They are from near Lansing, MI.

Monica and her husband Rick (who was shy about being in the photo) came by right after I opened the doors. They were here from near Lansing, MI. Such a nice couple!

This is a group of cousins - well, except for one.

A group of cousins – well, except for one.  Jill (Mt. Pleasant, MI), Jan (Sunfield, MI) and Gwen (Ionia, MI) are all cousins of Bonnie Foltz ( I forget where Bonnie was that day).  The sweet lady in coral is Yvonne from Sigourney, Iowa.   All of these ladies visit Mackinac Island quite often – needing their “fix” at least once a year!

How blessed I am to have gotten to meet all these wonderful women through Bree’s Blog.  Thank you, thank you for taking time out of your vacation to stop in and say hello!

BLOG MENTION

A few days ago Joan Barch sent an email asking if I’d received my copy of Michigan Country Lines, a magazine sponsored by our electric company, Cloverland Electric Cooperative.  “I’ve got it,” I said, “But I haven’t read it.”

“Well, open it up!” said Joan.  “Your blog is mentioned in one of the articles!”

I grabbed the magazine off the counter and started flipping pages . . .

I grabbed the magazine off the counter and started flipping pages . . .

. . . a nice article written by Mike Buda, editor emeritus of Country Lines, entitled Our Islands.  Mike highlights the two Michigan islands where motorized vehicles aren't allowed 0 Isle Royale and Mackinac.  And at the end of the article . . .

. . . and there it was – a nice article written by Mike Buda, editor emeritus of Country Lines, entitled Our Islands. Mike highlights the two Michigan islands where motorized vehicles aren’t allowed  – Isle Royale and Mackinac. And at the end of the article . . .

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Just ask me was I thrilled . . . Why, yes, I was – thanks so much for asking!  I immediately wrote Mike a thank-you email.

ONE MORE BLOG READER STORY

You remember Jane Winston – my friend from Georgia who also has a family cottage here on the Island.  She was in some of the blog posts this summer around the 4th of July.  Anyway, she’s back home in Georgia now, and she called yesterday afternoon.  Here’s the jist of what she said:

“So I’m in this store in Warner Robins (GA), looking for a bicycle like the one I have on Mackinac.  I’m telling the clerk that I live in Michigan some during the summer, and from somewhere in the back of the store this man’s voice yells, “You aren’t talking about Mackinac Island, are you?”

“Yes, I am!” I yell back (we do that in Georgia – just yell back and forth from one end of a store to another).

“Out from the back of the store comes this man who tells me all about how he and his family usually go to the island every year either in May or September.  And I say, “I have a friend from Georgia who also lives there in the summer . . . . Brenda 

“No!” the man says.  “You know Bree!”

Turns out this man, Tony Howd and wife Alison, are huge blog fans.

That name rang a bell with me, and after Jane and I finished talking about what a small world it is, I typed Tony’s name into a search engine on my blog . . . and there he was.  He and I had commented back and forth several times this spring about our upcoming trip to the Island, and he had asked if we’d take stowaways – Tony, Alison and two “really cute kids”.  LOVE IT!

Yep it’s a small world.  Hi Tony and Alison and cute kids!!  Hope it’s ok I told this story today!

SOME THOUGHTS ON TIME

It seems I’ve had too much free time on my hands for the last few days, and when that happens lately, I find myself thinking too much.  My “free time thoughts” this week have centered on our decision this spring to sell our homes in Michigan and Georgia and start a new adventure in Florida.

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To be honest, I truly thought the condo would sell quickly.  It’s among the least expensive offerings on the island.  But what we’ve come to realize is, even though the housing market is coming back, it’s mostly primary residences folks are seeking – not second homes – at least not quite yet.  I know it only takes the “right one” to walk into the Mackinac Realty office, and everything could change in a flash.  But I see little chance that is going to happen before we leave this year.

Our minister, Dr. Vince Carroll, says “You have to be willing to throw your dreams – however wild and crazy they are –  out there into the universe and see what happens.  Maybe God will laugh and say “No way!”  Maybe He’ll laugh and say, “Ok, I really like that idea.  Let’s do it!”  And maybe He will say, “None of that is good.  I have such a better plan for you.  But you’ll have to watch and wait.”

And when you think about it like that, it could be the plan you know nothing about – the plan you didn’t plan at all – may turn out to be the best adventure yet.  And that makes me smile.

A FEW PHOTOS 

Downtown Mackinac Island on a quiet post-Labor Day evening.

Downtown Mackinac Island on a quiet post-Labor Day evening.

 

View from downtown this evening.  (Photo: Denise Beaudoin)

View from downtown this evening. (Photo: Denise Beaudoin)

Maddie:  "Just trying to help the big guys out while they're on break."

Maddie: “Just trying to help the big guys out while they’re on break.”

Our beautiful Little Stone Church.

Our beautiful Little Stone Church.

British Landing flowers.

British Landing flowers.

I’ll see you back here in a few day.  Have a great week.  God bless.

Lady Liberty Returns to Mackinac Island

On the 12th anniversary of that September day when all our lives changed forever, Mackinac Island’s own Statue of Liberty returned to her home and became part of the Island’s Patriots Day celebration.

The statue was originally donated to the Island in 1950 by the Boy Scouts of America, marking their 40th anniversary, which had the theme “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty”.  Over 200 of the statues were donated to communities in 39 states, but the statue here on Mackinac is the only one given to the State of Michigan.  The statues are about 8 1/2 feet tall – without a pedestal – weigh about 300 pounds, and were made by a company in Chicago.  Our statue’s big sister stands in New York harbor, is more than 305 feet tall from the ground to the top of her torch, and weighs more than 150 tons.

The Statue of Liberty replica on Mackinac Island has been used every fifth year to commemorate the attacks on 9/11/2001, and the Patriot Day services were conducted at that  location in 2006 and 2011.

Mackinac Island’s Statue of Liberty, as she stood near the marina from May 28, 1950, the date of her dedication, until November 28, 2012.

The replica withstood 62 years of harsh northern Michigan winters and was in need of the kind of repair work only a specialist could handle – dents in the copper skin, seams that needed to be ground out or filled in, and spikes on her crown that  needed to be replaced. Masons, excavating crews and landscapers all needed to be involved.

American Legion post 299 on Mackinac Island wanted to refurbish the statue and bring it back to its original form.  Post 299 Commander Paul Wandrie, said, “We are calling our drive to repair and relocate this statue, the ‘Save Our Statue’ or ‘S.O.S.’ Project.”  The City of Mackinac Island also supported the project, the cost of which was estimated at approximately $61,000.

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On November 28, 2012, the statue was removed from her pedestal, with Winberg Masonry, Belonga Excavating, Davis Construction and Venus Bronze Works, Inc. involved in the project. 

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The statue was shipped to Venus Bronze Works in Detroit for the winter, where she underwent a complete makeover.  

On April 1, 2013 myself and my 2 brothers visited with the Statue of Liberty Replica in Detroit.  Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works was our tour guide around his shop.  Getting to see the statue was the reason why we were there.  This picture shows some of the work done.  Since he is preparing to solder the sections back together he must insure that these sections are perfectly cleaned.  The bottom portion will be attached to a brand new base that will be made of bronze.

On April 1, 2013 Paul Wandrie and his two brothers checked on the Statue of Liberty replica in Detroit. Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works, was their tour guide around his shop.  Wandrie stated, “Since he is preparing to solder the sections back together, he must insure that these sections are perfectly cleaned. The bottom portion will be attached to a brand new base that will be made of bronze.”

When Wandrie was contacted that the statue was finished (the pedestal still remains to be done), it all fell into place that the statue would return to the Island as part of the Patriots Day celebration on September 11, 2013.

Shepler’s Ferry donated the use of their freight boat, the Sacre Bleu, for the trip across the Straits, and boats from Arnold and Star Ferry Lines, the Mackinac Island Fire Department and the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks planned to join the boat parade accompanying the statue on her crossing.  Private boats were also invited to join in.

Paul Wandrie and Chris Shepler both granted me permission to come across on the Sacre Bleu with the statue, and that is how I came to be aboard when Lady Liberty returned to the Island.

Emotions were running just below the surface yesterday and kept threatening to emerge.  I boarded Shepler’s to travel to St. Ignace (where the statue had spent the night in a Shepler warehouse).  The statue’s Honor Guard, made up of Post #299 Commander Paul Wandrie, Mackinac Island Police Officer Ken Hardy, Mackinac Island Fire Fighters Jason Kladiva, Ron Langsworthy, and Jamie Bynoe, and EMT Mark Bielinski, were all aboard the same boat.  As I rode over I was thinking about the events of 9/11/2001 and remembering – as we all do – exactly where I was when I heard that breaking news broadcast when the first plane flew into one of the Twin Towers.  I was sitting at my desk in the Public Information Office of the Dougherty County School System in Albany, GA.  The morning was just beginning, and we had a day packed with assignments, paper work, and visits planned into several schools.  In the incredibly short time it took for a fellow worker to rush in from another office and shout, “Quick, turn on the TV!” (our office had the only TV in our 3-story building, as we were charged with keeping up with emergencies – weather or otherwise), all plans – and our entire world – changed.

When we walked into the St. Ignace warehouse and first saw Mackinac’s Statue of Liberty – refurbished, no dents, all spikes of her crown in place and sparkling clean, I began to feel tears welling up and a throat lump forming.

Yes - compared to her big sister in New York City, she was shorter and weighed less - but she was still the United States symbol of freedom from tyranny and oppression

Compared to her big sister in New York City, she is shorter and weighs less; but she is still the United States’ symbol of freedom from tyranny and oppression, and – even in a warehouse – she carries the dignity and power of what she symbolizes like the great lady she is.

The Honor Guard gently lifted the statue . . .

The Honor Guard gently lifted the statue . . .

. . . and placed her on the flatbed wagon she would rest on during her trip to Mackinac.

. . . and placed her on the flatbed wagon on which she would rest during her trip to Mackinac.

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The gentleman on the left is John Eagan.  It was John and his boss, Giorgio Gikas, President of Venus Bronze Works, who did all the meticulous work on Lady Liberty.  The statue was taken apart, dents were removed, and new cooper sheets were applied – followed by new layers of wax and a patina for a glossy finish.  Her old book and stand had been wood on the interior, and it had rotted.  The book and stand are now hollow and covered in copper and wax.  There are copper supports that run through the statue like tree branches for added support.  Eagan said, “The more we worked on it, the more it became a real labor of love.”

The statue was pulled outside . . .

The statue was pulled outside . . .

. . . and loaded onto the Sacre Bleu.

. . . and loaded onto the Sacre Bleu.

One of the firemen laid his helmet next to her

One of the firemen placed his helmet next to Lady Liberty’s face, and it was then the emotions of the massive loss of the 9/11 event coalesced into tears that spilled over.

Chris Shepler piloted us across the Straits as other vessels began to fall into place with the Sacre Bleu.

Chris Shepler piloted us across the Straits as other vessels began to fall into place with the Sacre Bleu.

We were joined by Arnold's Ottawa . . .

We were joined by Arnold’s Chippewa . . . 

. . . the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks landing craft . . .

. . . the Mackinac Island Historic State Parks landing craft, captained by Robert McGreevy, with Myron Johnson as deck hand . . .

. . . and Star Line's new Anna May.

. . . and Star Line’s new Anna May.

As we sailed into the harbor, the Ottawa's fire hoses, manned by St. Ignace firemen, opened up with a huge spray . . .

As we sailed into the harbor, the Chippewa’s fire hoses, manned by St. Ignace Fire Department Lt. Matt Bowlby and Fire Fighter Nate Montie, opened up with a huge spray . . .

. . . joined by the spray from the Mackinac Island fire boat.

. . . joined by the spray from the Mackinac Island Fire boat.

Passengers aboard an outgoing Star Ferry all stood as we passed.

Passengers aboard an outgoing Star Ferry all stood as we passed.

A Color Guard and a large crowd awaited the statue at the dock . . .

A Color Guard and a large crowd awaited the statue at the dock . . .

. . . where Lady Liberty was off-loaded . . .

. . . where Lady Liberty was off-loaded . . .

. . . and began her trip through the streets of Mackinac to the Stuart House Museum.

. . . and began her trip through the streets of Mackinac to the Stuart House Museum.

The Honor Guard gently removed the statue from the flat-bed . . .

The Honor Guard gently removed the statue from the flatbed . . .

. . stood her gleaming and straight back on Mackinac Island, her home since 1950.

. . and stood her gleaming and straight back on Mackinac Island, her home since 1950.

Back home and surrounded by the people of Mackinac Island.

Back home and surrounded by the people of Mackinac Island.

The Patriots Day program was filled with speakers who spoke eloquently and emotionally about the bravery of Americans, not only on 9/11, but during all the wars in which we've fought.  (Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

The Patriots Day program was filled with speakers who spoke eloquently and emotionally about the bravery of Americans, not only on 9/11, but during all the wars in which we’ve fought. (Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

After the program and time for photo opportunities, the statue was carried into the Stuart House . . .

After the program and time for photo opportunities, the statue was carried into the Stuart House Museum . . .

. . . where she will remain until funds have been raised to complete her pedestal.  (Photo: Steven Blair)

. . . where she will remain until funds have been raised to complete her pedestal. (Photo: Steven Blair)

When the remaining funds have been raised, the statue will be centered approximately 100 feet west of where she formerly stood, which will give her a more prominent location.  At this new spot, she will be seen by more people entering the harbor, and she will be more easily seen from the roadway.

 The project to refurbish this replica of a national treasure has in a few short months raised all but approximately $17,500 of the $61,000 needed.  Funds have come in from individual donations by  Island residents, by visitors to the Island, from the State of Michigan, and from across the country.  On September 11, 2013, Paul Wandrie said, “Thank you to everyone that has helped us along the way, and we look forward to receiving the rest of the funds so we can get Lady Liberty back to the marina. “

If you’d be interested in participating in this patriotic cause, donations can be sent to: American Legion Post 299, P.O. Box 1518, Mackinac Island, MI 49757 (checks should be made payable to American Legion Post #299).  Or, if you’re on the Island and would like to donate in person, that can be done at the DPW Office on the 2nd floor of the Community Hall (see Bruce or Ellen).  There is also a Paypal account where donations can be made.  Simply  go to the picture of the statue on the Legion’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanLegion299?ref=br_tf), and click on it.  All donations are tax-deductible.

It’s on days like this that the magic of Mackinac can almost physically be seen winding its way along the streets and through the crowds.  The people of Mackinac Island have always been a close-knit, kind and compassionate community.  When something of theirs is in need of repair or replacement, they come together and find a way to make it happen.  So it’s been with the refurbishment of Mackinac Island’s replica of the Statue of Liberty, and so it will continue to be for generations to come.

Stand tall, Lady Liberty.  We look forward to you soon taking up your new post at the entrance to the harbor!

God Bless America!

Alone 9/9/2013

It’s good for a husband and wife to spend a little time alone once in a while.

My sweet hubby was invited to a “boys” golfing outing this weekend.  Ted and 27 other “boys” traveled to Drummond Island (maybe 40 miles away as the crow flies) on Sunday morning, played golf Sunday afternoon, spent the night, played some more golf, and should be arriving back on the island sometime late this afternoon.  I didn’t exactly understand the attraction of traveling 40 miles to play golf when we have three excellent courses right here on our own island, but it was one of those occasions when we wives just know not to bring up anything remotely logical.  Boys just sometimes have to be boys.

I went to church alone yesterday morning and sat with friends.  I walked into town after services to pick up Ted’s Detroit Free Press and also stopped at Joann’s Fudge and bought two Peanut Butter Cups the size of jumbo muffins.  I envisioned eating one yesterday and one today – knowing there would be no remarks about how good those were going to look on my hips in a few days.

I walked the dogs, ate lunch and sat down to read – without a football game playing upstairs in the TV room.  I fell asleep around 3:30 and awoke at 5:00 – just in time to walk dogs again and get ready to go back downtown.

I didn’t hear from Ted after he left.  Drummond Island is pretty remote, and our cellphone carrier (Verizon) obviously hasn’t yet found that little strip of land in the U.P.  Ted and I usually talk to each other a lot during the day.  It’s just something we do, and when I didn’t hear from him, I knew it had to be a coverage problem.  After dinner, Ted found an ancient calling card in his wallet (he will tell that story for the next decade to explain why he never throws anything away) and used it to call and leave the number to his room – because Oops, I wasn’t home. I returned his call when I came wandering in at 10:02 after a wild evening at a friend’s ice cream and cake social, followed by a birthday Sock Hop in her honor at the Mustang – complete with DJ, 60’s and 70’s music AND videos! Nineteen women dancing the Stroll, the Twist, the Electric Slide, and the Hustle with each other was a hoot!  I even took some photos, but in the interest of remaining friends with those 19 women, I will not be posting them.

When I returned Ted’s call and heard his voice, I realized there was a little part of me that had been holding my breath, and now I could finally exhale and relax for the evening.  As much as I sometimes enjoy some alone time, ending the day talking to Ted is something I depend on happening, and I know if we hadn’t connected neither of us would have slept as well.

In hindsight, I should have let Maddie talk to him also.  I picked her up and put her under the covers with me after I turned on the lamp and settled in to read until I got sleepy.  Instead of finding her perfect spot to curl up and remain motionless for the next eight hours, her little head kept popping up over the sheet and staring at the bedroom door.  This went on for a good hour before she gave up listening for Ted to come up the stairs.

This morning I got up, got dressed, made coffee, and took the dogs out – all things Ted usually does before I even pry open one eyelid.  Maddie and Bear looked at me strangely as I handed out the Bacon Strips (one each) and filled their bowls.  I kept wondering what I was doing wrong, but whatever it was they must have forgiven me because they gobbled everything down.  I worked today at the Stuart House, and with Ted gone, the pooches had to wait past their normal “going out” time at noon until I got back to the condo around 2:30.  They were fine – no accidents – but they were standing at the back door when I unlocked the door, giving me that “it’s about TIME” look.

I’ve only eaten 1/4 of one of the muffin-sized peanut butter cups, deciding instead to save the rest for Ted and I to share.

Yep – it’s good for husbands and wives to spend a little time alone once in a while.  But I think 48 hours is about enough for me.

Header:  Today’s sunrise.  (Photo:  Shepler’s Ferry)