Friends – Part I 6/26/17

Sometimes you just have to pack a bag, get in your car, and go on a road trip by yourself.

I did that this weekend.

Ted babysat the dogs, and I headed for Georgia.  My original intent was to visit my very best friend in all the world – Helen McCorvey – and her husband Paul.  I did that, but I also got to spend time with cousin Wanda in Sylvester, spend two nights with wonderful friends Dawn and her husband Stevie – AND got to see tons of friends at the ri’vah (where we lived for many years before we moved to Florida).  It was a very special few days, and I arrived home Sunday afternoon with my heart overflowing with the joy of friendships that never change – regardless of how much time has passed since we’ve even been in the same state.

Helen was my Junior year English teacher at Worth County High School in Sylvester GA.  Paul taught me World History.  Neither had been long out of college.  It was Paul’s fourth year teaching and Helen’s second.  Paul made history as exciting as it could be for this girl who hates history, but the time I spent in Helen’s class changed my life forever.  She taught words and language and expression with a passion I’d never heard before.  She opened the world of writing to me and planted the seed that took years to germinate into a blog – but germinate it did, and I have Helen to thank for that.

But that’s not where the story ends.  In the late 80’s I was a single mom working in a bank when Helen was named Public Information Director for the Dougherty County School System in Albany GA.  I heard she was looking for a secretary and called her, even though we hadn’t spoken in almost 20 years.  I told her who I was, said I’d heard she needed a secretary and that I was interested in the job.  She said, “Can you type?”  I said, “Yes, I can.”  She said, “You’re hired.”

And so a relationship, which began in a high school English class, has now spanned over 50 years.  I worked for Helen until she retired, and what I learned from her over those years qualified me to take not her place (nobody could) – but her position in the school system, where I worked until my own retirement.

Working for Helen was like being in her class every day of the year.  She taught me more than I could have ever learned from anyone else (the mechanics of publications, writing, design and marketing), but instead of giving me grades on a report card, she gave me her friendship.  Over the years Ted and I, she and Paul, and another couple went on annual “after-Christmas” trips to the beach together.  We exchange gifts and cards on important occasions, and we love each other across the miles that separate us.

Helen hails from Charleston and is the consummate genteel Southern lady.  She still speaks with a Charleston drawl that I admit took me a while to understand back in the day.  The first time she asked me to look in a “draaaaw” for something, I scratched my head and said, “Ma’am?”  I finally figured out she was saying “drawer”.

Helen always dressed to perfection, with never a hair out of place and with makeup perfectly applied.  None of that has changed a lick. She was always prepared, always had projects ready ahead of deadline, would not accept anything but perfection in grammar and punctuation (I always worry about that since I know she reads this blog), and made it all look as easy and natural as breathing.

As a friend she is loyal, trustworthy, true, kind and loving.  She saw me through some of the roughest times of my life and never once judged the many mistakes I made.  She was the big sister I never had, and I love her to the moon and back.  I remain in awe that she feels the same way about me.

In a nutshell, Helen was my hero.  She still is.

When Helen retired, I gave her a little framed memento that read, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.  I hope mine is right next door to yours.”  Lord, I pray you work out a way to make that happen, even if I’m just in the shed out back.

Helen loves the outdoors and her beautiful yard shows it.  They live on a beautiful Pine Mountain ridge near Manchester and Warm Springs.

Helen and I during our days of working together. This was probably at a Teacher of the Year banquet. She has this framed and sitting near their fireplace. Lawd! Was I blonde or what!

Paul did the photography honors and snapped this Saturday afternoon as I was preparing to leave.

I’m still smiling about seeing this beautiful lady this weekend.  We went out to eat lunch at the Bulloch House in Warm Springs, and everyone in the place knew Helen and Paul. That didn’t surprise me at all.  They’re just good people.

Hope to see you again soon, Helen and Paul! Love you more.

__________________________________________________________________

More on my time at Lake Blackshear this weekend in a couple of days!  It was so much fun!

 

 

 

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Spring Showers, Horses Returning . . . and More Readers! 4/24/16

After everything that was going on with Bear this week keeping my anxiety level at a peak, I needed a few even-keeled days.  And thank the good Lord, He provided them.  Friday and the weekend have been lazy days in Sunset Inlet, and what activities there have been are those calm, satisfying ones that require little more than showing up . . . or just sitting and watching the weather.

We've had a couple of days of threatening rain . . .

We had a couple of days of threatening skies . . .

. . . and then on Friday the skies opened . . .

. . . and then on Friday the skies opened . . .

. . . and we got quite a few hours of hard rain with a little thunder and lightning mixed in.

. . . and we got a few hours of hard rain, with a little thunder and lightning mixed in.

After all that life-nourishing water, the sun came out, and all my plants turned that awesome "spring-time green" and added more bright flowers. So I went to the nursery and bought some more!

After all that life-nourishing water, the sun came out, my plants turned an awesome “spring-time green”, and more bright flowers bloomed.   So –  I went to the nursery and bought some more!

Ted and I went to out favorite outdoor furniture store last week to replace some chairs on the top deck that couldn't withstand all the wind and salt we get pounded with here. While there, I spotted this outdoor lamp and loved the way it looked. It's now on the second floor deck, and . . .

Ted and I went to our favorite outdoor furniture store last week to replace some chairs on the top deck.  It’s hard to find things that can withstand all the wind and salt we get pounded with here. While there, I spotted this outdoor lamp and loved the way it looked. It’s now on the second floor deck, and . . .

. . . I can sit outside at night and read while I listen to waves crashing across the street behind me. Since our next door neighbor Lisa took this photo I've toned down the brightness of the bulbs in the lamp. That first night they were on I had a helicopter stop and hover at the entrance to our inlet, and I thought, "Oh no, the light is so bright he thinks it's the airport!" It was so funny how he just hung there for a few moment like he was trying to figure out where all the illumination was coming from.

. . . I can sit outside at night and read while I listen to waves crashing across the street behind me. Since our next door neighbor Lisa took this photo from HER deck, I’ve toned down the brightness of the bulbs in the lamp. That first night they were on I had a helicopter stop and hover at the entrance to our inlet, and I thought, “Oh no, the light is so bright he thinks it’s the airport!” It was so funny how he just hung there for a few moments like he was trying to figure out where all the illumination was coming from!

We had our first official meeting of the Sunset Inlet Book Club this past week. We had read Kate Morton's newest book, The Lake House. Fun discussion, yummy food and good wine (and Mimosas)!

We had our first official meeting of the Sunset Inlet Book Club this past week. We had read Kate Morton’s newest book, The Lake House. Fun discussion, yummy food and good wine (and Mimosas)!  Love these ladies – Jennifer, Sue, Angelique . . .

. . . and Lisa, our hostess with the moistest! We're hoping to add ladies each month. Our next book is Kimberly McCreight's Where They Found Her.

. . . and Lisa, our hostess with the mostest! We’re hoping to add more ladies each month. Our next book is Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her.

MACKINAC MOMENTS

The snow is gone, and the island activity is increasing with each passing spring day. And - when there's more island work to be done - that means more horses are needed. There have been a steady stream of horses arriving on the ferry. They're all fat and rested up from a winter on the Pickford farms . . . ready to

The snow is gone, and island activity is increasing with each passing spring day. And – when there’s more island work to be done – that means a bigger workforce is needed. Horses have been arriving on the ferry in a steady stream, and they’re all fat and rested up from a winter on the Pickford farms.  Let the season begin! (Photo: Bobby Lee)

You just never know what you might find on a freight ferry - like this one carrying a police car and . . . a pool table! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

You just never know what you might find on a freight ferry – like this one carrying a police car and . . . a pool table! (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A photo from this morning by Clark Bloswick. This is the first time this spring I've seen all three ferry companies represented in the harbor - Arnold, Shepler, and Star.

A photo from this morning by Clark Bloswick. This is the first time this spring I’ve seen all three ferry companies represented in the harbor – Arnold, Shepler, and Star.

Horses in the fog up near the Grand Stables. (Photo: Joseph Herscher)

Love this photo of horses in the fog up near the Grand Stables. (Photo: Joseph Herscher)

One of my favorite artists, watercolorist Mary Lou Peters, made her first visit to Mackinac this weekend to drop off a supply of her notecards to Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island Artists Market. Love this sweet and colorful turtle card!

One of my favorite artists, watercolorist Mary Lou Peters, made her first visit to Mackinac this weekend to drop off a supply of her notecards to Little Luxuries of Mackinac Island and Mackinac Island Artists Market. Love this sweet and colorful turtle card!

INTRODUCING . . . YOU!  PART V

Yeah!! Nine more readers to introduce . . .

Meet Chris and John Roddy from Hudson OH. This great couple has vacationed in their UP cottage for the last 45 years, and Chris discovered the blog on Google four years ago.

Meet Chris and John Roddy from Hudson OH. This great couple has vacationed in their UP cottage for the last 45 years, and Chris discovered the blog on Google four years ago.

This sweet couple is Rebecca and Jon Jacobs from Three Rivers MI. Rebecca has been visiting the island since she was three, and when she was four years old she was at the island school when they were filming the "gazebo scene" in Somewhere in Time. She introduced Jon to Mackinac on their first anniversary when they stayed at The Island House. They try to visit at least once a year. This photo is from last July when they were fortunate enough to get to go to the top of the Mackinac Bridge! Still on my bucket list!

This sweet couple is Rebecca and Jon Jacobs from Three Rivers MI. Rebecca has been visiting the island since she was three, and when she was four years old she was at the island school when they were filming the “gazebo scene” from Somewhere in Time. She introduced Jon to Mackinac on their first anniversary when they stayed at The Island House. They try to visit at least once a year. This photo is from last July when they were fortunate enough to get to go to the top of the Mackinac Bridge! Still on my bucket list!

This lovely couple is Paula and David DeWald who spent a weekend in January, 2011 at the Cottage Inn in memory of their daughter Rachel. After that weekend she subscribed to the Town Crier, found the blog on Google, and went back and read each one.Paul and David live in Fort Wayne IN and try to visit Mackinac two or three times a year. Sometimes they fly their plane to the island and "troll our luggage behind us walking into town for exercise. We love the island so much we walk around it two times each day we are there." Paula tells everyone that the best thing about the island is the people. Isn't that the truth!?

This lovely couple is Paula and David DeWald who spent a weekend in January, 2011 at the Cottage Inn in memory of their daughter Rachel. After that weekend Paula subscribed to the Town Crier, found the blog on Google, and went back and read each one. Paula and David live in Fort Wayne IN and try to visit Mackinac two or three times a year. Sometimes they fly their plane to the island and “troll our luggage behind us walking into town for exercise. We love the island so much we walk around it two times each day we are there.” Paula tells everyone the best thing about the island is the people. Isn’t that the truth!?

This dear lady is Rosalyn Forsyth, and she and I go WAY back. Rosalyn was my high school cheerleading sponsor and how she kept up with all of us remains a real mystery. In later years she taught at Albany Middle School where Ted was principal. Rosalyn just discovered the blog last year, and I've so enjoyed catching up with her through Facebook and her comments

This dear lady is Rosalyn Forsyth, and she and I go WAY back. Rosalyn was my high school cheerleading sponsor and how she kept up with all of us teenage girls remains a real mystery. In later years she taught at Albany Middle School where Ted was principal. Rosalyn just discovered the blog last year, and I’ve so enjoyed reconnecting with her through Facebook and her comments.  Rosalyn lives in Albany GA.

This cute couple is Kendra and Michael Kain, daughter Rylee and Rylee's friend Kylie. They're all from Wilson NC. Kendra found the blog when she was doing research for their Mackinac wedding in 2012. Since they moved to NC they haven't had a chance to return to the island, but she remembers fondly visiting every year when she was a child.

Meet Kendra and Michael Kain, daughter Rylee, and Rylee’s friend Kylie. They’re all from Wilson NC. Kendra found the blog when she was doing research for their Mackinac wedding in 2012. Since they moved to NC they haven’t had a chance to return to the island, but she fondly remembers visiting every year when she was a child.

Meet Frances Mountjoy, who is Darcy Cole's mom (Darcy was featured in an earlier "Introducing YOU" blog post. Frances lives in Clinton Twp MI. She can remember riding the mail boat to the island (she thinks it was called the Buddy L), and she used to swim free in Grand Hotel's pool! This

Meet Frances Mountjoy, who is Darcy Cole’s mom (Darcy was featured in an earlier “Introducing YOU” blog post, and Darcy introduced her mom to Bree’s Blog). Frances lives in Clinton Twp MI. She can remember riding the mail boat to the island (she thinks it was called the Buddy L), and she used to swim free in Grand Hotel’s pool! Darcy took this photo of her mom on Market Street a few years ago, near The Lilac House.

Meet Eileen (aka Gibby) and Bernie from Okemos MI. This couple shares a cottage on Hammond Bay with her two sisters and their families. The cottage originally belonged to the girls' grandparents, who passed their love of the UP down to their children and grandchildren. And now that is what Gibby and Bernie are doing with their granddaughter Aria.

Meet Eileen (aka Gibby) and Bernie from Okemos MI. This couple shares a cottage on Hammond Bay with her two sisters and their families. The cottage originally belonged to the girls’ parents, who passed their love of “up north” on to their children. And now that is what Gibby and Bernie are doing with their granddaughter Ava.  Gibby has been reading Bree’s Blog for quite a few years and goes to the island 2-3 times each summer.  Their daughter Meagan was married at Stonecliffe Inn in 2014.  Gibby has “many wonderful memories of Mackinac!”

Meet Sue and her father Pat from Saginaw MI (Pat is celebrating his 86th birthday in this photo, taken last week). Sue's parents took her to the island many times as a child and now they take their children. Sue shared this great story from her childhood: "Dad had me in a big wire basket on the front handlebar of a bike when I was 4. We were on one of the steep, curvy roads (probably Turkey Hill), flying down it, with my mother falling way behind. But we could hear her - screaming for my father to Stop! Slow Down! You're going to dump Susis on the road! Me? I was screaming for joy, loving it, saying Daddy, faster!" Sue found the blog about 4 years ago researching for a Mackinac trip.

Meet Sue and her father Pat from Saginaw MI (Pat is celebrating his 86th birthday in this photo, taken last week). Sue’s parents took her to the island many times as a child, and now they take their children. Sue shared this great story from her childhood: “Dad had me in a big wire basket on the front handlebar of a bike when I was 4. We were on one of the steep, curvy roads (probably Turkey Hill), flying down it, with my mother falling way behind. But we could hear her – screaming for my father to Stop! Slow Down! You’re going to dump Susie on the road! Me? I was screaming for joy, loving it, saying Daddy, faster!” Sue found the blog about 4 years ago researching for a Mackinac trip.

Meet Pam Bond from outside Cincinnati OH. She found the blog in 2010 on an Internet search. Pam and her late husband Ernie discovered Mackinac for the first time in 1983, about four years after they married. Pam says she was "smitten" They round around the island on a bike made for two, saw Round Island light for the first time (she loves lighthouses), and discovered another love - Silver Birches. After that year they came as often as possible, usually bringing their own bikes. It was in 1990, while on an island picnic that she first heard the hauntingly beautiful theme song to Somewhere in Time, a song that captured her heart even though she had never seen the movie. They got back to the island several times after that. She lost Ernie in 2015 after 35 years of marriage. Pam wrote me the dearest letter which I won't share because it is very personal. But allow me to say her words touched my heart in the way that few ever have. Thank you Pam, for sharing the story of You and Ernie and Mackinac. I hope you return one day soon to the island you love so much.

Meet Pam Bond from outside Cincinnati OH. She found the blog in 2010 on an Internet search. Pam and her late husband Ernie discovered Mackinac for the first time in 1983, about four years after they married. Pam says she was “smitten” They rode around the island on a bike made for two, saw Round Island light for the first time (she loves lighthouses), and discovered another love – Silver Birches. After that year they came as often as possible, usually bringing their own bikes. It was in 1990, while on an island picnic that she first heard the hauntingly beautiful theme song to Somewhere in Time, a song that captured her heart, even though she had never seen the movie. They got back to the island several times after that. She lost Ernie in 2015 after 35 years of marriage. Pam wrote me the dearest letter which I won’t share, but allow me to say her words touched my heart in the way that few ever have. Thank you Pam, for sharing the story of you and Ernie and Mackinac. I hope you return one day soon to the island you love so much.

Please continue to send in your photo (as an attachment), where you live, how long you’ve been a blog reader, and how you found out about Bree’s Blog to: brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.

Bear is doing fine.  I stopped his pain meds today (they were just for a couple of days for the soreness of his incision), and he’s back to his old, unmedicated self – running, playing, eating, and begging for treats.  Hoping this week brings the good news we are praying for about his biopsy.  Thank you all so much for your continued prayers.

God bless.

Introducing . . . YOU! Part III 4/14/16

WooHoo!  Another great week of opening emails and seeing smiling faces!  As of now, I’ve received 51 photographs. Tonight I’ll post another 15, taking the number posted up to 45, and leaving only six.  BUT – I’m hoping by Sunday I’ll have enough to post another 15!  Regardless, I’ll post the remaining ones on Sunday.

As I said, you keep sending them in, and I’ll keep on posting them.  No deadline on this!  I’ll just place them into the blog as I receive them!  Include your name, a photo as an attachment, where you’re from, and how and when you discovered Bree’s Blog.  Easy!

Ok . . . here we go!

paul wright

Meet Paul Wright and his lovely wife Bette Ann from Lathrup Village MI.  Paul and Bette Ann have been visiting the island since 1975, and I know you’ve already figured out this photo was taken on Grand Hotel’s front porch!

Mary Hughes

Meet Mary Hughes from Marion OH.  Mary found the blog two years ago on the Mackinac Island News & Views Facebook page and has read every post!  I’m in awe that some of you do that!

jamie, melody, nathan, Evan James

This great family is Melody James, her husband Jamie, and sons Nathan & Evan.  They hail from Zeeland MI and found the blog link from a Mackinac Island business website in 2010.  I met Melody for the first time in 2011 when she stopped by the Stuart House to say hi.

This smiling face belongs to Deborah Crawford from Midland Ontario, Canada. Deborah has been reading for 6-7 years after finding the blog link on Google. The photo is from a Memorial Day weekend at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, and the handsome gentleman in the photo is a re-enactor portraying Deborah's 6 X great-grandfather, Ezekiel Solomon!

This smiling face belongs to Deborah Crawford from Midland Ontario, Canada. Deborah has been reading for 6-7 years, after finding the blog link on Google. The photo is from a Memorial Day Pageant weekend in 2008 at Colonial Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.  The handsome gentleman in the photo is a reenactor portraying Deborah’s 6 X great-grandfather, Ezekiel Solomon.  Ezekiel’s trading post was one of the first structures studied by archaeologists at the fort site, and it has now been completely reconstructed.

Ezekiel was also Michigan's first Jewish settler, and this marker

Ezekiel was also Michigan’s first Jewish settler, and this marker at the fort tells his amazing story.  How cool is that!

Meet Marlena and Larry Black from Kansas City MO. Marlena had wanted to visit Mackinac since she first saw the movie Somewhere in Time. She was researching for their first trip in 2012 and discovered the blog. She said, "I've laughed with you, cried with you, and prayed for and with you." Bless you, Marlena, my friend - and thank you.

Meet Marlena and Larry Black from Kansas City MO. Marlena had wanted to visit Mackinac since she first saw the movie Somewhere in Time. She was researching for their first trip in 2012 and discovered the blog. She said, “I’ve laughed with you, cried with you, and prayed for and with you.” Bless you, Marlena, my friend – and thank you.

Meet Anita Henry from Sandusky MI. Anita has been a blog reader since 2009.

Meet Anita Henry from Sandusky MI. Anita has been a blog reader since 2009.

Two dear friends from Albany GA - Marty Harris, who passed away in February, 2014, and Betty Hester.

Two dear friends from Albany GA – Marty Harris, who passed away in February, 2014, and Betty Hester.  Betty has read Bree’s Blog for many years.  Marty is the awesome lady who peaked my interest in getting Bear and I certified as a Pet Therapy team, and she and Betty supported and encouraged me every step of the way.  The beautiful plaque behind them is of Marty and her loyal therapy dog, Hero.  April 30th is National Therapy Animal Day, created by Pet Partners to “recognize the exceptional therapy animals who partner with their human companions to bring comfort and healing to those in need”.  Bear and I both miss being involved in this fulfilling work.  Betty, you REALLY need to come visit us on Mackinac!

Meet Susan and Lee Stahl from Lakeside MI. they'd been coming to Mackinac Island for 38 years as "boating fudgies", anchoring their boat at the island marina each year. In 2012 their boat wasn't ready, and they decided to drive up. They spent a week at the Grand Hotel and "we finally felt like we were locals", says Susan. "I can still hear 'clop, clop, clopping outside our bedroom window. It was the best vacation ever." Susan found the blog that year on their way home by Googling "why they chopped down the trees on the way to the Grand". Up came the blog, and she's been reading ever since. They were on the island when they were filming Somewhere in Time with their teenage daughters, who are both now in their 50's. Susan says, "The island is always in my heart." Yes, Susan, I know that feeling well.

Meet Susan and Lee Stahl from Lakeside MI. They’d been coming to Mackinac Island for 38 years as “boating fudgies”, anchoring their boat at the island marina each year. In 2012 their boat wasn’t ready, and they decided to drive up. They spent a week at Grand Hotel and, “We finally felt like we were locals”, says Susan. “I can still hear clop, clop, clopping outside our bedroom window. It was the best vacation ever.” Susan found the blog that same year – on their way home – by Googling “why they chopped down the trees on the way to the Grand”. Up came the blog, and she’s been reading ever since. They were on the island when they were filming Somewhere in Time with their teenage daughters, who are both now in their 50’s. Susan says, “The island is always in my heart.” I know that feeling well, Susan.

This is Jeani and Jerry Gabor from Sun Prairie WI. Jeani is a frequent commenter and found the blog four years ago on the Mackinac Island web site.

This is Jeani and Jerry Gabor from Sun Prairie WI. Jeani is a frequent commenter and found the blog four years ago on the Mackinac Island web site.

Meet Cindy Cislak from Indianapolis IN - and her beautiful granddaughter Kira. Cindy and her husband started coming to Mackinac in 1985 with their two children, and they've come every year since. There are now 10 coming each year - including their childrens' spouses and four grandchildren. Cindy has followed the blog since the beginning, and she's come by several times to say hello at the Stuart House. In fact, Cindy may be the very first reader who came by and introduced herself to me there. Cindy says, "Even after all these years, Mackinac is still magical!" Amen, Cindy.

Meet Cindy Cislak from Indianapolis IN – and her beautiful granddaughter Kira. Cindy and her husband started coming to Mackinac in 1985 with their two children, and they’ve come every year since. There are now 10 visiting each year – including their childrens’ spouses and four grandchildren (the two granddaughters – four and seven years of age – are already planning Macknac weddings). Cindy has followed the blog since the beginning, and she’s come by several times to say hello at the Stuart House. In fact, Cindy may be the very first reader who came by and introduced herself to me there. Cindy says, “Even after all these years, Mackinac is still magical!” Amen, Cindy. This photo is from the Carriage House at the Iroquois Hotel.

Meet Lisa Foose from Medina OH. She found the blog five years ago on Google.

Meet Lisa Foose from Medina OH. She found the blog five years ago on Google.

This is Kathy and George Strukel with two of their darling grandchildren. They've just moved to Tampa FL, and they've been coming to the island since they were married in 1985 - first with kids, then grandkids, and now with their precious little furbaby, Sophie. I have a photo of all of us together on the Stuart House steps in 2010. Kathy found the blog on Google years ago.

This is Kathy and George Strukel, with two of their darling grandchildren. They’ve just moved to Tampa FL, and they’ve been coming to the island since they were married in 1985 – first with kids, then grandkids, and now with their precious little furbaby, Sophie. I have a photo of all of us together on the Stuart House steps in 2010. Kathy found the blog on Google years ago.

This is Megan Murray from Frankfort KY, where she's a 4th grade reading and writing teacher. Megan is Ann M.'s sister (Ann was in the first installment of Introducing . . . You!, and she was the one who told Megan about the blog). The sisters' grandparents had a cabin on Carp Lake, and they vacationed there for two weeks each summer. Megan says, "I've been reading the blog for 5-6 years and have very found memories of Carp Lake, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island."

Meet Megan Murray from Frankfort KY, where she’s a 4th grade reading and writing teacher. Megan is Ann M.’s sister (Ann was in the first installment of Introducing . . . You!, and she was the one who told Megan about the blog). The sisters’ grandparents had a cabin on Carp Lake, and they vacationed there for two weeks each summer. Megan says, “I’ve been reading the blog for 5-6 years and have very fond memories of Carp Lake, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island.”

I love this pic! This is Jay Rupprecht, and that charming creature next to him is Louie the Loon, the mascot of the Class A farm team for the L.A. Dodgers who play in Midland MI.

I love this pic! This is Jay Rupprecht, and that charming creature next to him is Louie the Loon, the mascot of the Class A farm team for the LA Dodgers, who play in Midland MI where Jay works.  Jay and wife Peggy live in Frankenmuth MI (another favorite town of ours) and have been blog readers for about five years.  They were married on the island in 2004 in the Mission Point gazebo.  Jay says, “We love the island, and my wife says it’s the only place on earth where I calm down and can actually relax some.”  Their long-term goal is to become full-time Mackinac Island residents!  Hold on to that dream, Jay and Peggy!

This is Kathleen and Jim Tilson, enjoying a sweet treat at Sadie's in 2014. They hail from Indianapolis IN. Jim first went to the island with his grandparents back in 1953 and has returned many times. He and Kathleen honeymooned there in 1973. Jim says, We've been there at all times of the year - including December. Each time we go we say 'it's the perfect time to visit.'"

This is Kathleen and Jim Tilson, enjoying a sweet treat at Sadie’s in 2014. They hail from Indianapolis IN. Jim first visited the island with his grandparents back in 1953 and has returned many times. He and Kathleen honeymooned there in 1973. Jim says, “We’ve been there at all times of the year – including December. Each time we go we say ‘it’s the perfect time to visit.'”

And that’s your next 15!

Keep ’em coming, y’all!

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON MACKINAC!

It's hard to believe this is an April 10 photo! (Photo: Carolyn May)

It’s hard to believe this is an April 10 photo! Carolyn May captured the conditions on Cadotte Avenue from her snowmobile.

I believe this was actually a few days before the middle of April snow storm began. A beautiful shot of Anne's Tablet and the town below. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

I believe this was actually a few days before the middle of April snow storm began. A beautiful shot of Anne’s Tablet and the town below. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

This robin seemed to be considering heading back a little south as it contemplated its reflection in the icy puddle. (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

As it contemplated its reflection in an icy puddle, this robin seemed to be considering heading back south.  (Photo: Robert McGreevy)

 

A downtown scene - after it'd been snowing for 24 hours straight. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

A downtown scene – after it’d been snowing for 24 hours straight. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Not your typical April photograph! (Photo: Greg Main)

Not your typical April photograph! (Photo: Greg Main)

April 11, and the snow is still falling. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

April 11, and the snow is still falling. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The same day, and through the snow workers make their way up the hill past Grand Hotel. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

The same day, and through the snow workers, residents, taxis and drays make their way down the hill past Grand Hotel. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Island friend Kay Berke was returning home from Europe and was able to spot the island from thousands of feet overhead! What a photo catch, Kay!

Island friend Kay Berke was returning home to Illinois from Europe and was able to spot the island from thousands of feet overhead! What a photo catch, Kay!

Cutest. Photo. Ever. Andrew Doud (owner of Doud's Market) patiently shows his oldest son, Louie, how to stock shelves. Generation to generation. And that's how it's done on Mackinac.

Cutest. Photo. Ever. Andrew Doud (owner of Doud’s Market) patiently shows his oldest son, Louie, how to stock shelves. Generation to generation – that’s how it’s done on Mackinac.

Although the temps have risen this week into the 40’s, Mackinac is really blustery right now, with wind chills in the 30’s.  Everyone is hoping the snow will melt soon, and that before long the Grand Hotel tulips (which are already breaking above the ground) will be basking in a glorious, warm Mackinac Spring!

FLORIDA NEWS

Nothing that even resembles snow here in Sunset Inlet. A different view of our neighborhood from Cat Brooks - a neighbor "across the way". That's her husband Eddie in the kayak.

Nothing that even resembles snow here in Sunset Inlet. A different view of our neighborhood from friend Cat Brooks – a neighbor “across the way”. That’s her husband Eddie in the kayak.

We were so excited to see Mike, Jeanine and Siena Forrester a couple of weeks ago. They drove down for dinner with us from St. Augustine, where they were enjoying Spring Break. Dinner at the Funky Pelican and a tour of the Flagler Beach pier! Love these folks!

We were so excited to see Mike, Jeanine and Siena Forrester a couple of weeks ago. They drove down for dinner with us from St. Augustine, where they were enjoying Spring Break. Dinner at the Funky Pelican and a tour of the Flagler Beach pier! Love these folks!

I pulled over on the side of the road last Thursday morning on the way to volunteer to capture the sun rise.

I pulled over on the side of the road last Thursday morning on the way to volunteer to capture this sunrise.

A day of shopping, lunch, and more shopping ended in a furniture store - trying out couches. I think the owners thought we were going to all take naps before we moved on to our next stop.

A day of shopping, lunch, and more shopping ended in a furniture store – trying out couches. I think the store owners were afraid we were going to all take naps before we moved on to our next stop because they sure moved us quickly away from the mattress display!  Love these ladies – all Sunset Inlet neighbors – Lisa, Sue, Jennifer and Sharon.

You never know what will be waiting where Hwy. 100 runs into the ocean in Flagler Beach!

You never know what will be waiting where Hwy. 100 runs into A1A in Flagler Beach.I love this intersection – especially since the specialty kite store has opened just across the street!

angelique2

Another sunrise – this one captured by friend and neighbor Angelique Delage. I love that our little house is in this one!

Ok – I think that catches us up!!

Have a great weekend and keep those photos coming in!  Love y’all!

God bless.

Part II – All Roads Lead to YOUR Town 2/28/16

I LOVE it!

Since Thursday night’s post I’ve received 13 more photographs from readers celebrating where they live, which left me with 33 towns to post.  Instead of having tonight’s blog go on and on, I’m posting 18 tonight, and the remaining 15 on Tuesday, March 1.  If there’s anyone else who wants to get in on this, please send me your photos before noon on Tuesday, March 1.

I also love that – based on towns discussed – several readers have discovered personal connections with other readers.  It really is a small, small world we occupy, isn’t it!?

All righty-then!  Hop in your cars and trucks – or on your motorbikes – and let’s continue on our road trip!

peggyroscommonmichigan

Peggy calls Roscommon MI home.  She snapped this photo of the CCC Museum there, after a fun-filled day of snowshoeing.

Sue resides in Saginaw MI, and this is Apple Mountain, a popular golf and ski resort nearby. The golf course used to be an apple orchard, thus the apple stand in the middle!

Sue resides in Saginaw MI, and this is Apple Mountain, a popular golf and ski resort nearby. The golf course used to be an apple orchard, thus the apple stand in the middle!

Sheryl lives in the Straits area of Michigan.

Sheryl lives in the Straits area of Michigan, very near the Mackinac Bridge!

Traci is from Tennessee - Pulaski to be exact. She captured this wonderful photo early one morning on their farm. Ahhhh . . . peace.

Traci is from Tennessee – Pulaski to be exact. She captured this wonderful photo early one morning on their farm. (It looks a little warmer in Tennessee than in those first three photos, doesn’t it?)

Mary M. lives on Saginaw Bay in Linwood MI. This is her view of the sun rising off her second floor deck. Wow!

Mary M. lives on Saginaw Bay in Linwood MI. This is her sun rise view off her second floor deck. Wow!

Tracey has lived in Rochester MN since 1995. Rochester is Minnesota's 3rd largest city. The tall buildings in this photo are part of the downtown campus of the Mayo Clinic.

Tracey has lived in Rochester MN since 1995. Rochester is Minnesota’s 3rd largest city. The tall buildings in this photo are part of the downtown campus of the Mayo Clinic.

This beautiful spot - Lakeside MI on the south end of Lake Michigan.

This beautiful spot – Lakeside MI on the south end of Lake Michigan – is the place Susan S. calls home.

Sue S. captured this scene from her front yard in southwest Michigan.

Sue S. captured this scene from her front yard in southwest Michigan.

Pam's backyard in Livonia MI is home to this gorgeous flower garden. She shared that it used to be her husband's fish pond.

Pam’s backyard in Livonia MI is home to this gorgeous flower garden. She shared that it used to be her husband’s fish pond.

I had to smile when another reader from Albany GA sent in a photo of Radium Springs!

I had to smile when another reader from Albany GA sent in a photo of Radium Springs!  Mary Ann is a retired teacher from Westover High School, where our Julie went to school.  Mary Ann met her husband at the Springs in 1963, and they’ve been married 52 years this June.  Her husband, a retired builder, was one of the contractors that worked to restore Radium Springs after the Flood of 1994. Swimming is no longer permitted there, but Radium remains one of the most beautiful spots in Albany.  Thanks for the memories, Mary Ann!

Pat lives in Vernon MI - a small, quiet town in the middle of the state. Another downtown area that reminds me of Sylvester GA.

Pat lives in Vernon MI – a small, quiet town in the middle of the state. Another downtown area that reminds me of Sylvester GA.

And here's another one - Zeeland MI, where Melody lives!

Zeeland MI, where Melody lives!

Neil lives in Benson IL, population 100. Benson is another town where grain elevators highlight the center of town. Neil and his family visit Stonecliffe on Mackinac every summer.

Neil lives in Benson IL, population 400. Benson is another Illinois town (like Hilde’s Minooka) where grain elevators highlight the center of town. Neil and his family visit The Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac every summer.

Missy snapped this shot out of her kitchen window one winter night in November. She lives in Leo IN.

Missy snapped this shot out her kitchen window one winter night in November. She lives in Leo IN.

Buttons resides in Tacoma WA, and - of course - that's Mt. Rainier overlooking her city. Talk about a view! Sweet Buttons offered to show Ted and I Seattle if we were flying into that city for our Alaska trip (alas, we're not). She also told me there is a small town near Tacoma named "Sumner"!

Buttons resides in Tacoma WA, and that’s Mt. Rainier overlooking her city. Talk about a view! Sweet Buttons offered to show Ted and I around Seattle if we were flying into that city for our Alaska trip (alas, we’re not).  She also shared that there is a small town near Tacoma named “Sumner”!  Hmmmm . . .

Sarah is from Richland MI, and she snapped this photo last week during the big winter storm.

Sarah is from Richland MI, and she snapped this photo last week during the big winter storm.

Lowell and Faye's yard during a recent fall. They call Olivet MI home, and I'm proud to say I've visited them there and enjoyed a meal cooked by Lowell's own hands!

Lowell and Faye’s yard during a recent fall. They call Olivet MI home, and I’m proud to say Jill and I have visited them there and enjoyed a meal cooked by Lowell’s own hands!

Gail is from Legend Lake in NE Wisconsin. Those clouds are beautiful!

Gail is from Legend Lake in NE Wisconsin. Those clouds are beautiful by themselves, but reflected in the lake – oh my!

I mean seriously folks – y’all come from incredibly beautiful towns and cities!

OK – last chance to get YOUR town featured.  Email the photo (only one please, with a caption) to brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com by noon on Tuesday, March 1.  The last installment will be published that night – even if I get another 50 photos.  And I hope I do!

See you back here on Tuesday!

God bless.

Today . . . All Roads Lead to YOUR Town! 2/25/16

OH. MY. GOSH!  This has been the most fun week!

I’ve received TONS of photos of the cities/towns you call home, and all I can say is, “Why would you ever want to go anywhere else?!”  Y’all live in some seriously awesome places!

To each of you who shared your photos and comments, thank you so much!  I even heard from SEVERAL folks who had never written in before, and that was really special to me.  Thank you!

Ok – this will be a two-parter.  As of today, I’ve received around 40 photographs, and I’m sharing 20 tonight.  On Sunday I’ll share the rest – PLUS any I receive between now and then, so please continue to send them in. I’m extending the deadline to Saturday, February 27.

So much to share, so let’s get started!  These are in no particular order, so we’ll just skip all over the country!  Just imagine a map, where each line leads to YOUR town!  Road trip!

Dear sweet friend Anne (who also has a place on Paradise Lake in Michigan) lives in Eustic, FL on beautiful Lake Woodward. She's only about 80 miles from us, and we are planning a get-together soon.

Dear sweet friend Anne (who also has a place on Paradise Lake in Michigan) lives in Eustis FL on beautiful Lake Woodward. (Personal Note: Anne is only about 80 miles from us, and we are planning a get-together soon.)

Claudia lives in Southfield MI, a suburb of Detroit. This is Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers (who on this day beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-0)!

Claudia lives in Southfield MI, a suburb of Detroit. This is Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers (who on this day beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-0)!

Dawn lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, west of the Mackinac Bridge.

Dawn lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, west of the Mackinac Bridge, where this spectacular sunset photo was taken.  From Dawn: “We left a ‘warmer’ part of the country to live in this beautiful land of woods and beaches and wildflowers – and yes, some cold and snow.  But we’ve found that winter has a quiet beauty all its own.”

 

Beautiful Penetanguishene Bay in southern Ontario is where Deborah calls home. From Deborah: "This is part of Georgian Bay which is part of Lake Huron. This bay would have been one of the first places my ancestors set foot after leaving Drummond Island in 1829. This spot connects me to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island in a way I can explain."

Beautiful Penetanguishene Bay in southern Ontario is where Deborah calls home. From Deborah: “This is part of Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron. This bay would have been one of the first places my ancestors set foot after leaving Drummond Island in 1829. This spot connects me to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island in a way I can’t  explain.”

Anne lives in Champaign IL, which is near this wonderful spot, Meadowbrook Park. Much of the park is restored prairie and the bluestem prairiegrass is six feet tall.

Anne M. lives in Champaign IL, which is near this wonderful spot, Meadowbrook Park. Much of the park is restored prairie, and this bluestem prairie grass is six feet tall!

Cheryl is from Plainfield IL and travels during the winter photographing bald eagles. This one was in Starved Rock State Park in Utica IL.

Cheryl is from Plainfield IL and travels during the winter, photographing bald eagles. This one was in Starved Rock State Park in Utica IL.

Debra lives in Albany GA, home of beautiful Radium Springs. I grew up going to Radium Springs nearly every Sunday from my hometown of Sylvester GA.

Debra lives in Albany GA, home of beautiful Radium Springs.  (Personal Note: I lived and worked in Albany most of my adult life, and Debra and I were friends and work colleagues for years.  As a child from Sylvester GA – 20 miles away – my parents often brought me to Radium Springs on Sunday afternoons for picnics and to wade in the ice-cold waters.)

Diane lives in Chicago, and this is the southern Chicago skyline at Burnham Harbor. She took this on July 4 from the Chicago Yacht Club, where she was invited by a guest for the festivities. Diane also has a place on Mackinac Island.

Diane lives in Chicago IL, and this is the southern Chicago skyline at Burnham Harbor. She took this on July 4 from the Chicago Yacht Club, where she was invited by a guest for the festivities. Diane also has a place on Mackinac Island.

Hilde lives in Minooka IL, where these grain elevators (still in use)stand in the middle of town.

Hilde and husband Bud were two of the very first blog readers who introduced themselves to me on Mackinac years ago.  They live in Minooka IL, where these grain elevators (still in use) stand in the middle of town.  (Personal Note: This little town reminds me SO MUCH of Sylvester, Hilde.)

Jan is a double-nester, with homes in Indianapolis IN and Harbor Springs MI. She and her husband are avid hikers, and this is one of their favorite areas in Michigan - Little Traverse Bay.

Jan is a double-nester, with homes in Indianapolis IN and Harbor Springs MI. She and her husband are avid hikers, and this is one of their favorite areas in Michigan – Little Traverse Bay.

My buddy Jason is home from Afghanistan, and he and his wife now live in San Antonio TX, home of the Alamo.

Jason (known as “Jason-the other one” when he comments) is home from Afghanistan, and he and his wife now live in San Antonio TX, home of the Alamo.

Jean lives in Appleton WI, where this beautiful Victorian home, Hearthstone, is located. Hearthstone was the first house electrified from a centrally located gydroelectric plan (Sept, 1882). Henry Rogers built the house for his wife, and the original Edison lights and chandeliers remain inuse today.

Jean lives in Appleton WI, where this beautiful Victorian home, Hearthstone, is located. Hearthstone was the first house electrified from a centrally located hydroelectric plant (Sept, 1882). Henry Rogers built the house as a showplace for his wife, and the original Edison lights and chandeliers remain in use today.

Wolverine Lake MI is home for Joann. She says that residents call the lake "Main Street". Love that!

Wolverine Lake MI is home for Joann. She says residents call the lake “Main Street”. Love that! Jean, this reminds me so much of our much-loved Lake Blackshear home in south Georgia.

Joleen resides in Madison WI, 15 miles from Pope Farm Park Conservancy, where this photograph was taken. She says that beginning in August, people come from "far and near" to photograph the fields of sunflowers. I know I sure would!

Joleen resides in Madison WI, 15 miles from Pope Farm Park Conservancy, where this photograph was taken. She says that beginning in August, people come from “far and near” to photograph the fields of sunflowers. I know I sure would!

Karen lives in Higgins Lake MI, named by National Georaphic Magazine as the 7th Most Beautiful Lake in the World. Higgins Lake is about an hour south of the Mackinac Bridge.

Karen Sue lives on Higgins Lake MI, named by National Geographic Magazine as the 7th Most Beautiful Lake in the World (I can see why!). Higgins Lake is about an hour south of the Mackinac Bridge, and Karen says it’s big, deep, crystal blue and has some REALLY big fish! 

Karen S. lives in Niles MI and shared the beautiful Amtrak station in Niles. Karen says at Christmas the building is outlines in white lights AND it was featured in the John Candy film, "Only the Lonely".

Karen S. lives in Niles MI and shared their beautiful Amtrak station. Karen says at Christmas the building is outlined in white lights AND it was featured in the John Candy film, “Only the Lonely”.

Kathy lives in Tampa FL and shared this shot of the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Tampa Bay in 2016.

Kathy lives in Tampa FL and shared this shot of the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion in Tampa Bay in 2016.  Kathy – do they do this every year?

Kem resides in beautiful Des Moines Iowa.

Kem resides in beautiful Des Moines Iowa.  She and husband Ed love Mackinac ALMOST as much as we do.  We’ve visited with them many times on the island.

Laura lives near Oxford OH, home of Miami University, where she attend college. This is a much-photographed area spotlighting McCracken Hall.

Laura lives near Oxford OH, home of Miami University – where she attended college. This is a much-photographed area spotlighting McCracken Hall – where she lived her senior year.

Mary G lives inRocky Point NY, and the photo here is Friendship Beach, just a 5-minute walk from her house down Friendship Drive. The large rock on the right is named "Big Barnacle).

Mary G. lives inRocky Point NY, and the photo here is Friendship Beach, just a 5-minute walk from her house – down Friendship Drive. The large rock on the right is named “Big Barnacle).

Don’t you just love this road trip so far?!

If you haven’t already sent in a photo of your town, you have until Saturday to get them in.  Just email photo (as an attachment) to brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.

See you “on the road again” on Sunday!