The Island – and That Witch Irma 9/16/17

(I’m having publishing issues this afternoon.  I apologize if you’ve received notice of TWO blogs.)

Hi Friends!

It’s been an absolutely gorgeous week on Mackinac.  With Ted still on the mend (more on that later), I’ve been back and forth to town more times in the last two weeks than I’ve been the entire time we’ve been here – and I have photos to prove it!

Yes, we still have hanging baskets overflowing with beautiful blooms, but . . .

. . . everywhere I turn leaves are beginning to get dressed for fall!

One of my daily stops! I know most people have seen the outside of our post office, but you may not have ventured inside! This is where we pick up our mail each day from our post office box.

The way every day looked this week! I was taking another break on Fort Hill (carrying groceries home). Just couldn’t resist this view of the Trinity Church steeple and Lake Huron.

A scene from Fort Hill. This 8-week-old golden retriever puppy was getting a ride up in the arms of her mom. In a few months she’ll be pulling her owner up that hill!  What a cutie!

Another view from Fort Hill. A wedding carriage awaits a bride and groom from inside Trinity Church.

Boats of all sizes in the harbor this week:  Starting in the foreground with the 81′ Isle Royale Queen III – the Sip n’ Sail Cruise ship that will take you out to the Mackinac Bridge on a sunset cruise, complete with live entertainment.  They offer numerous other charter cruises also.  A great time – we know from personal experience!  Almost hidden in the middle is the private yacht Blue Moon, 198′ of pure luxury.  No idea who was aboard, but she sure was an impressive ship (another photo below).  On the other side of the Star Line dock is the 300′ Victory I, a Great Lakes Cruise Ship that regularly docks at Mackinac (another photo below).

The Blue Moon

Victory I

I always find it difficult to actually throw garbage in these beautiful containers!  But – that’s why they’re there.

Black-eyed Susans at Market Street Inn.

One afternoon I hitched a ride home from the top of Fort Hill with a three-horse-hitch carriage driver (he took pity on me when he saw the grocery bags). A lovely ride to the condo, chatting with the driver and other passengers.

Already a touch of color in the trees at Surrey Hill.

From the “only on Mackinac file” – a cage full of live chickens, riding to the ferry dock atop a Grand Hotel bus. (Photo: Jason St. Onge)


Ted has come a long way in the week-and-a-half since he severely pulled a hamstring muscle and came home from the medical center on a walker.  He actually followed doctor’s order for a total of three days (a record for him) and rested, took his meds, and kept heat applied.  He really didn’t have a choice because any time he moved it HURT!After three days, all bets were off.  He’s pushed himself and graduated yesterday from walking to riding his bike.  Of course, yesterday was Friday – and Friday is Pink Pony night.  And neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could stay Ted from the completion of his Friday night trip to the Pony.  So off he went – on foot, not on a bike – with a promise to me that he’d take a taxi home.  And he did.


Another great thing about all the time I spent downtown this last week is that I got to say “hi” to several blog readers who were on the island.  I know I’m going to forget someone, and I took no pics, but I LOVED running into and talking with Mary (Valentine) Stancik, Irene and Gary Cowley and their beautiful Border Collie Brandie, Barbara and Roger Blem, Ron and Susan Jennings, Jim and Marcia Shrauger, and a lovely lady who hailed me from her bike on Market Street and stopped to tell me she’d been a blog reader for years – please forgive me that I can’t remember your name.  Love, love, love each and every one of you!


As with Matthew last summer, our Sunset Inlet neighborhood sustained some damage when that witch of a hurricane, Irma, swept through Florida like a freight train.  After her path shifted west, we thought our part of the state would feel little of her effects, but we were wrong.

Our house lost some siding, but only on one side. Inside, except for a few drops of water on one window sill in the master bedroom, all was dry.

As with Matthew, the canal behind our house, which comes in from the Intracoastal,, rose over the seawall and into yards (this photo was taken from our backyard) . . .


. . . but it only came up a little higher than last year and didn’t get into anyone’s home.

Most of our neighbors had similar damage to us – siding, soffit, and a few lifted shingles.  But a few had more serious damage – water coming in through sliding doors and windows.  Some are having to go through the whole “dry out” process with fans and de-humidifiers.

With Matthew, Sunset Inlet lost power for about 2 days.  With Irma, it was twice that.  But, after lessons learned with Matthew, many neighbors had purchased generators and were more prepared.  Still, generators were mostly run for lights and refrigeration, not AC.  It was hot – very hot.

But here’s the story I want to tell about Irma.  I’d say about half of our full-time residents rode out Irma at their homes.  The next morning, they fanned out and assessed damage, not only at their own homes, but at homes where residents had either evacuated or, like us, were away in other places.  We knew by noon the next day that we had lost siding and were dry inside.  Friends emptied what little we had left in our frig and freezer and picked up siding out of our yard.

As water slowly receded in Sunset Inlet, and they awaited the return of electricity, several neighbors spent an entire day helping another of our neighbor’s mother clean out her house, which had been totally flooded just up the road from where we live.

Then  – several families went together and rented a boom lift, and because we have several men in Sunset Inlet who are in construction, they took the lift house to house and accessed damage on roofs or on soffits  . . . .  and FIXED it!

Our neighborhood heroes!

Love these guys!

Getting it done!

So, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who coordinated, participated in, and contributed in any way to what you did for us and for every other Sunset Inlet resident.  I know I’ll leave someone out, but SPECIAL THANKS to Mark & Shauna, Todd & Brandi, Bruno, Frank, Angelique and Marty, Ernie, Jeff, David, and Toney.  Love each and every one of you and so appreciate your awesome hearts for our community!

So happy to report also that Julie, Matt, Jordan, and Matthew’s home only sustained minimum damage also!


Of all our friends and family touched by Irma, it was Jason’s home in Atlanta which had the most damage.

Two 90-foot trees from his neighbor’s yard fell on Jason’s house.

After the trees were removed, the full scale of the damage was revealed.

The trees fell between the master bedroom and a guest bedroom. It was flooding rain and the wind was blowing about 60 mph when they fell, and all that continued for at least 12 more hours.

The tree has been removed, a tarp is in place, and the house is being dried out with fans and de-humidifiers.  He’ll need a new roof, six new windows, new flooring on the main and lower levels due to water damage, new light fixtures (water flowed through them into downstairs), new mattresses, etc.  We’re so thankful Jason had just left his house when this happened.  Also thankful Jason – after a day of being shell-shocked – is handling all this with his usual sense of humor and finding the positives in all of it.  As he says, “It’s all good.”

There’s a quote by Taylor Lakin that reads, ” Hardships are some of the most amazing blessings we could be given.  How else would we become stronger, better, and reminded to be grateful for who and what we have in our lives?”

Love and hugs to you all!

God bless.




A Not So Usual Week on Mackinac 9/8/17

Ted and I are sitting here on Mackinac Island – me attempting to put my thoughts together and write this blog, and Ted aiming the remote control – switching back and forth between the Weather Channel and a movie.  Our thoughts and prayers are over a thousand miles south of Michigan, and like everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, we are wondering exactly what Hurricane Irma’s final path will be.  At this moment, it’s not looking too promising for Miami, and yesterday it looked as though our little neighborhood in Beverly Beach would once again be visited by a not-at-all-welcome intruder.  Last year, only about two weeks later than this, Hurricane Matthew side-swiped our community.  This morning Irma has shifted west, which should be a little better news for the eastern coast.  But – Irma is so huge I truly believe pretty much every part of Florida is going to feel the effects – it’s just a matter of to what degree.

Yesterday, most of our neighbors were planning to evacuate, but now more are planning to hunker down and ride it out.  If Ted and I were there, I’m not sure what we’d be doing – staying or leaving.   But – we’re in Michigan.  We did everything we could do to prepare for a hurricane before we left in July – took the boat out of the water, installed the hurricane door stabilizer to our garage door, installed water deflectors in the sliding glass doors, emptied the freezer, etc.

And so – like so many thousands of others – we wait to see what will happen.

I’ve been out and about a lot over the Labor Day weekend and the beginning of this week, and that means photos to share!


A newly found cousin, Marv and his wife Ruthie, spent Sunday night with us, and then Marv and Ted participated in the Labor Day Bridge Walk. They got to the island around lunch on Sunday, so we had plenty of time to walk around Mackinac – even making it up to Point Lookout and Fort Holmes!

The path – my island favorite – that connects Point Lookout and Ft. Holmes.

Bridge Walk 2017

Seriously now, could they look any more alike? Come back, Ruthie and Marv, when you can stay longer!


On Tuesday the Mackinac Island Public School opened for the 2017-2018 year. I love that on Mackinac the opening day of school is celebrated by the entire island with a picnic at lunchtime. Every island resident who can shows up at the school at noon to join the students for hamburgers and hot dogs – grilled outside on the school grounds.

Jill and I are so excited to see that Stephanie Fortino is back writing for The St. Ignace News and The Town Crier on Mackinac.  We lost her for a while to another community, but she’s back now, and the entire island is delighted.  She’s just “the best”!


On Wednesday Ted was walking down the hall and stepped on a bone Bodie had left on the floor.  The bone is shaped like a wishbone and Ted’s foot treated it like an ice skate.  He basically did a split – and that’s not something 70-year-old bodies are used to doing.  He was in so much pain he couldn’t walk at all.  For 30 minutes I argued he should go to the med center by ambulance, but of course he wouldn’t listen.  It was only after he called the Nurse Hotline of our insurance company and SHE told him to go by ambulance to the med center that he agreed for me to make the 9ll call.

Diagnosis – severely pulled hamstring. Prognosis – good, IF he follows doctor’s orders to rest, take his meds, and stay off his bike for at least two weeks.  I don’t think that will be much of a problem since he’s having to use a walker just to get from one end of the condo to the other.  Bless his heart, he’s REALLY in a lot of pain.

So – I’m now in charge of all the things Ted would normally do during the day – the early morning (before coffee and practically before the sun comes up) dog walks, as well as all the other dog walks we’d split between us, the trips to Doud’s to buy groceries, COOKING the evening meals and fixing breakfast and lunch (we do our own thing for breakfast and lunch, but Ted is usually the evening meal cook) and serving him all these meals on the sofa so he can keep his leg propped up and on the heating pad.

I drew the line at going down to the Grand and lifting weights for him, even though he did try to talk me into that.

Many thanks to the Mackinac Island EMS team and the doctors, nurses, technicians and staff at the Medical Center.  We are always so impressed with the level of excellence in medical care we have here on Mackinac. 


Chambers Corner is still in full summer bloom  . . . .

. . . but I spotted a few leaves practicing their fall colors on the trees lining Cadotte Ave.

Beautiful container garden in a sitting area along Cadotte.

An everyday scene at Windermere Point. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Looking down Market Street toward Lake Huron.

Stopping to rest while carrying grocery bags up Fort Hill. I’m in awe that Ted does this hill ON HIS BIKE with groceries in his basket. Geez, I am such a wuss!

A very old dray wagon parked on the side of the road to town.

Veterans Park is always full of blooms, but this year it seems even prettier than usual.

A black squirrel atop a white picket fence – spotted next to the post office.

Can you spot something unusual in this tree next to the Metivier Inn?

“I climbed the ladder and crawled through the tunnel, mom.  Now you want me to do what?”


  1.  Please remember everyone in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as Irma continues her destructive path – and those in the numerous islands she’s already passed through.  Praying that no other lives are lost.  As Florida Governor Rick Scott said at a news conference this week, “We can rebuild your home, but we cannot rebuild your life.”
  2. Please pray for speedy and complete healing for Ted and for a truck-load of patience for me.  Wait.  Please pray for a truck-load of patience for Ted too.  I/m sure we are both going to learn some good life lessons from this.

Everyone in Irma’s path – stay safe.

God bless.