An Uncle and Nephew Meet at Last 2/12/17

Ted’s trip to Albuquerque this past week to meet his 94-year-old Uncle Ken Lachmann (his birth mother’s brother) turned into two full days of story-telling, family history sharing, and a relationship – already established through hours of phone conversations – that was cemented by their face-to-face meeting.  

Cousin Heidi (Ken’s daughter) picked Ted up at the airport Tuesday evening, and the next morning Ted and Uncle Ken met for the first time over breakfast at the assisted living complex where he has an apartment.  The next two days were filled with stories from both men’s pasts and with a guided tour of the New Mexico city and surrounding area.  Ted has found it very interesting to discover that so many of his birth family (grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins) followed the road to education careers.  “It must be in our blood”, he keeps saying. 

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Uncle Ken and daughter Heidi, who also lives in Albuquerque.

Uncle Ken returned from World War II as an Army combat veteran and recipient of the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.  When years battling the frigid winters of Michigan began to aggravate health conditions caused by combat injuries, his physician suggested a change of climate, and Uncle Ken moved his family to Albuquerque in 1966. He had an established career in education in Michigan, and was soon named principal to a school in Albuquerque. 

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During the Reagan administration he was named the National Distinguished Principal of the Year from New Mexico.

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What a surprise!  While going through a family album, Ted came across this photo of our condo on Mackinac Island, taken from a Carriage Tour wagon during a Lachmann family trip to the island in 1997 – 11 years before we bought there.

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Sightseeing!  San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church.  Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest buildings in the city.

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The Sandia Mountains divide New Mexico.  On the Albuquerque side, there is desert . . .

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. . . and via a tram system you can ride to and over the top of the Sandia Mountains and arrive at a ski resort!

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Sunset from the restaurant at the top of the Sandia Resort and Casino.  Ted joined Uncle Ken, Heidi, and Uncle Ken’s son Peter and his wife Lisa for dinner on his last night there.

Ted arrived home Friday afternoon, brimming with stories of his trip.  We’re both so happy this journey has continued to be one of happy “at-long-last” meetings.  Even though Ted’s birth mom is gone, her family has been welcoming in every way possible.  We look forward to meeting more of this wonderful group in the near future!

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Ted and his Uncle Ken.

MACKINAC NEWS

Another Bree’s Blog reader and friend, Yvonne Pitsch, spent part of last week on Mackinac.  I love that folks are going up during the winter!

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Yvonne in full snowmobile gear.  I think she has a “secret source” she grabs a snowmobile from when she’s there.  I’ll have to talk to her about that!

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And she chose a week where there was plenty of the white stuff!  (Photo: Yvonne Pitsch)

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From Jason St. Onge and the Mackinac Island Fire Department.  This was a practice session coordinated with the Detroit Fire Department.  Horn’s Bar and Grand Hotel provided the buildings for their drills, and the wonderful Windermere Hotel and Mayor Margaret Doud treated everyone in both departments to a prime rib dinner at Cawthorne’s Village Inn.  Love the dedication of these fire fighters – and the generosity of Mackinac Island residents and businesses! 

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A beautiful and ethereal panorama by Greg Main.

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Bobby Lee says he got soaking wet to get this shot, but it was sure worth it, Bobby!

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Peace, calm, quiet.  An almost Heavenly scene of the full moon over Little Stone Church.  Thank you, Gregg Neville, for sharing.

It seems everyone is loving the Throw Back Tuesday and Thursday features, so they’ll be continuing.  Wishing everyone a very happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday!  Love you all!

God bless.

A Sad Goodbye to Arnold Ferry Line 11/13/16

As most of you already know, the 5 p.m. departure of the Huron last Thursday marked the last time a boat operated by Arnold Ferry Line would travel to or from Mackinac Island.  The historic ferry line (the oldest and longest-running), which began serving the island 138 years ago, has been purchased by Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, which began 38 years ago as competition to Arnold and to Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry, which was created in 1945.

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Arnold’s mighty Huron, as she is known by everyone with ties to Mackinac, has been the only winter ferry to the island since 1955.  Star Line will continue to operate the Huron for passenger and freight service during the winter, abiding by Mackinac Island’s winter ferry passenger service agreement.

Star Line will also buy five other Arnold Line boats, the Arnold Boatyard and several docks.

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Star Line’s Marquette II arrives on Friday morning – her first trip ever as the winter ferry to Mackinac.

For hundreds of islanders, for thousands of  visitors whose memories of a Mackinac vacation began with an Arnold Line ferry boat ride, and for the hundreds of Arnold employees whose lives were tied to the company over those 138 years, this is the sad end of an era.  Especially poignant is the end of the mighty Huron operating as an Arnold boat.  It’s hard to comprehend for those of us who do not live year-round on Mackinac, but Arnold’s mighty Huron provided everything to the island after the close of the season – passenger service and freight service – until the Straits of Mackinac would freeze over and the ferry would have to stop running.  She alone was responsible for islanders receiving food and other staples for the grocery store and restaurants that remain open, for residents reaching the mainland if there were health concerns or if they just needed to have a day off-island, and for winter visitors trying out “Mackinac in the winter”.  Even though the mighty Huron will continue to run, it is a bittersweet transition from one company to another.

We wish Star Line a hearty congratulations on your new venture!  With only two lines providing transportation to Mackinac next summer, Star Line and Shepler’s, it will be interesting to see what changes are in store.  We know both these fine companies will continue to provide excellent service to and from our favorite island, and we look forward to a great 2017 season!

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A poignant farewell photo from Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry on its last departure from the island: “It was a pleasure serving you.  Thank you for 138 years of memories.  This is your ATCO crew – signing off.”

NOVEMBER ON MACKINAC

Clark Bloswick has been busy documenting November on the island.  These next six photos are his.

A relatively calm day earlier in the month . . .

A relatively calm day earlier in the month.

A typical fall wind storm hit the island on Thursday. It always amazes me the size of the waves generated on the Great Lakes. Clark remembers that these waves were nothing compared to those on November 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.

A typical fall wind storm hit the island on Thursday, Nov. 10. It always amazes me the size of the waves generated on the Great Lakes. Clark remembers these waves were nothing compared to those on November 10, 1975, the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down during a Lake Superior storm, with the loss of the entire crew of 29.

Friday saw the island awake to the first "gale of November" , , ,

Wind, waves and whitecaps.

Sunset on Saturday evening.

Sunset on Saturday evening.

Sunrise over Bois Blanc this morning.

Sunrise over Bois Blanc this morning.

An early evening shot of geese flying into Mission Point, backlit by that gorgeous full moon.

An early evening shot tonight of geese flying into Mission Point, backlit by that gorgeous full moon.

I. Love. This. Photo! A beautiful fall image of the steps leading from Sugar Loaf to Point Lookout. (Photo: Patti Carpenter McGreevy)

I love this photo! A beautiful fall image of the steps leading from Sugar Loaf to Point Lookout. (Photo: Patti Carpenter McGreevy)

BODIE NEWS

I will not lie.  Having a teenage Golden Retriever who weighs  58 lbs. at seven months is a little harder than I thought it would be.  It’s been 12 years since we had a puppy in the house (that would be Maddie), and she was an amazingly easy girl.  And she was small.  Having a big dog puppy is totally different because he does everything . . . bigger!  Plays bigger, eats bigger, poops and pees bigger, chews bigger, walks bigger.  He is a daily challenge, but I love trying to stay one step ahead of him.

One of my biggest challenges is teaching him to greet people gently on our walks.  He wants to wiggle himself right into their space and get all mouthy with their hands.  It was wearing me out trying to pull him back.  So – I sent out a “please help me train Bodie” message to our entire Sunset Inlet community, giving suggestions on how to help Bodie learn to greet nicely.  Our neighbors have responded like the wonderful folks they are.  So far we’ve had encounters with two neighbors who ignored Bodie while I asked him to sit, waited for him to calm down, then asked him to “shake”, which he did.  Then they petted him.  And Bodie got a treat from me.  It was amazing how well it worked!

We have a trainer coming once a week for five weeks to offer tips and help me find the best ways to train him.  Two of our neighbors, Mark and Shauna, text “going to the dog park” when they head out with their two big dogs, Rascal and Ryder, so Bodie and I can join in the fun.  We have a big open area in our community we call the “dog park”.  It’s great for playing fetch and just letting dogs be dogs.

And – I will tell you something else big dogs do.  They LOVE big.  All I need to do to get some Bodie love is climb in his big bed with him.  He snuggles right in and we have some mom/Bodie love time.

Yes, he’s a challenge.  But he is remarkably smart, learns commands quickly, retains most of them well, and is quickly creating his own great big spot in my heart.

Bodie: "I know if I sit here long enough, Maddie will get tired of that Kong and I can get it."

Bodie: “Maybe if I stand here long enough, Maddie will get tired of that Kong and I can get it.”

"Hmmm . . . or maybe not."

“Hmmm . . . or maybe not.”

Catch-Up Sunday 8/7/16

Tomorrow begins our fourth week on the island, and Ted and I are having a hard time wrapping our heads around that.  Every evening we laughingly ask ourselves, “Where did THIS day go?”  On the flip side of that thought is the wonderful truth that it will be ten more weeks before we leave.  That makes us laugh also!

I was looking through the hundreds of photographs I’ve taken since arriving and came across a few that didn’t fit a particular blog, but still might be fun to see.  So tonight – it’s “Catch-Up Sunday”!

On our very first weekend we went out on an Arnold Line Sip 'n Sail Sunset Tour. Although the weather didn't cooperate, and we missed the sunset, we had an awesome view of the Mackinac Bridge - from UNDERNEATH!

On our very first weekend we went out on an Arnold Line Sip ‘n Sail Sunset Tour. Although the weather didn’t cooperate, and we missed the sunset due to clouds, we had an awesome view of the Mackinac Bridge – from UNDERNEATH!

Coming back across the Straits at night is always a beautiful experience - with the island

Coming back across the Straits at night is always a beautiful experience – with the island off the port side, and Grand Hotel illuminating the West Bluff.

Even approaching dock at night is an adventure

Approaching the dock at night is very different than during the day, when the entire area is teeming with passengers arriving and departing, luggage being transported off and on the ferries, and dock porters somehow making it all work seamlessly.

From the deck - a wedding carriage on the way to pick up a bride and groom.

From the deck – a wedding carriage on the way to pick up a bride and groom.

I love riding the ferry and picking out first time visitors to the island. They always sit in the front rows (especially if there are children). I remember doing exactly the same thing about the first 20 times I rode the ferry, but that first time can't be beat for excitement.

I love riding the ferry and picking out first time visitors to the island. They always sit in the front rows (especially if there are children). I remember doing exactly the same thing about the first 20 times I rode the ferry, but that first time can’t be beat for excitement.

Jan and Don Weir dropped by the condo to say hello one afternoon. They are blog readers who had come over on a day trip from Harbor Springs (their summer home) They spend their winters in Indianapolis.

Jan and Don Weir, blog readers who came over for a day trip, dropped by the condo to say hello one afternoon. Harbor Springs is their summer home, and they spend their winters in Indianapolis.

Leqving the Chippewa after dinner with Jordan and Matthew (at the end of the yacht races).

Leaving the Chippewa after dinner with Jordan and Matthew (on the last day of the yacht races).

Little Maddie - thinking about getting her feet wet (she didn't).

Little Maddie – thinking about getting her feet wet (she didn’t).

Downtown Mackinac in the evening is so peaceful compared to a busy summer day.

Downtown Mackinac in the evening is so peaceful compared to a busy summer day.

View through the back slats of an Adirondack chair on the Mission Point Resort lakeshore.

Lake view through the back slats of an Adirondack chair – on the Mission Point Resort lakeshore.

A close-up of Queen Anne's Lace (one of the few flowers I can always remember the name of)!

A close-up of Queen Anne’s Lace (one of the few flowers I can always remember the name of)!

On their last morning on the island, just after breakfast at the Chuck Wagon and before turning in the bikes, we all stopped by the Arnold dock to check out the Victory I, a Great Lakes cruise ship that had come in during the night. The ship holds 202 passengers and will begin cruises to Cuba in the Fall.

On Jordan and Matthew’s last morning on the island, just after breakfast at the Chuck Wagon and before turning in their bikes, we all stopped by the Arnold dock to check out the Victory I, a Great Lakes cruise ship that came in during the night. The ship holds 202 passengers and will begin cruises to Cuba in the Fall.

View from the top end of Franks Avenue in MIssion Point.

View from the top end of Franks Avenue in Mission Point.

Because the afternoon was really warm, we decided to walk Maddie up behind Mission House, which is where the majority of the State Park employees live during the summer.

Because the afternoon was really warm, we decided to walk Maddie up behind Mission House, which is where the majority of the State Park employees live during the summer. It was built in 1825 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Curving past Mission House and turning back down the hill you pass the Mackinac Island Center for the Arts, located in the former Mission Point Theater building.

Curving past Mission House and turning back down the hill you pass the Mackinac Island Center for the Arts, located in the former Mission Point Theater building.

On the way back from town and another "ice cream after dinner" run, we stopped for a moment to enjoy a few moments of a Music in the Park concert. The summer concert series takes place most Thursday evenings during the season.

On the way back from town and another “ice cream after dinner” run, we stopped for a moment to enjoy a Music in the Park concert. The summer concert series takes place most Thursday evenings throughout the season.

From the deck Friday evening.

From the deck Friday evening.

A beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron. (Photo by Ted, who is the only one up early enough to catch these in Michigan as well as in Florida).

A beautiful sunrise over Lake Huron. (Photo by Ted, who – just like in Florida – is the only one up early enough to catch moments like these).

Company’s coming Monday to spend a couple of nights!  Can’t wait!

God bless. 

Mackinac Arrival . . . and What I’ve Missed 7/19/16

We’re here!

When you top that little rise and see the Mackinac Bridge towers for the first time, you know you've almost arrived!

When we topped that little rise around 1 pm Monday afternoon and saw the Mackinac Bridge towers for the first time, we knew we were almost there!

A few minutes later, Ted and a Shepler dock worker began the process of unloading the mountain of luggage and supplies we’d brought, and I walked into the main office to arrange three months parking for the truck and purchase a book of tickets.  The young lady working the desk was new to me, but she started all the paperwork we needed quickly (so we could catch the 1:30 ferry), and Maddie and I watched the comings and goings of ferry passengers through the door. We’d only been waiting a moment when a Shepler employee I knew came through the door, gave me a big hug, and welcomed me “home”.  Then he proceeded to tell me how much he and his wife still enjoy the blog and how – just that morning – he’d given a passenger my blog address.  He said the lady was leaving the island and was upset she had to go.  It was her first visit, and she had fallen in love with Mackinac.  So he told her about Bree’s Blog and said, “Look it up.  You’ll find out all the news, and you’ll feel like you’re on the island again!”

I loved that!

We rode the new Shepler ferry, the Miss Margy, over to the island.  What an awesome boat she is, with all kinds of upgrades in seating and the ease of riding on the first level without descending any steps!  It was our first time aboard the Miss Margy, and we look forward to many more passages back and forth on her this year and for years to come.

My heart was about to sail out of my chest as we passed the bridge and turned toward the island.

My heart was about to sail out of my chest as we passed the bridge and turned toward the island.

Jill (and her brother Mark and niece Ashlynn, who are visiting) met us at the ferry dock.  After lots of hugs, we started toward Main Street, only to find Buz and Patty (the couple from Oklahoma who bought a unit in our condo complex after a chance meeting with Bear and I aboard a ferry years ago).  They had been on the island for a summer visit and had told us they were leaving last Friday to go home.  It turns out that was a little white lie.  They stayed to welcome us back and spend a few days catching up.  We were so excited to see them – I squealed like a 10-year-old when I saw Patty standing there!  The whole crowd came to the condo with us and stayed until all our luggage arrived on the dray.  Then they helped carry it inside and up the stairs.

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Thank you so much, Buz and Patty, for the great surprise!

Sweet Ashlyn took Maddie on a walk while we got all our stuff inside.

Sweet Ashlynn took Maddie on a walk while we got all our stuff inside.

Jill had to go to work, but Buz, Patty, Ted and I went out to dinner (the Pink Pony, of course) a little later in the evening.  Another splendid Mackinac Island welcome!

After dinner, as Ted and I walked home, we stopped to chat with a few folks and take in the beautiful evening..

All the boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac race were safely in and crowded into the marina. Such a colorful, exciting event, and next week it will happen all over again as the Chicago to Mackinac race begins!

All the boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac race were safely in and crowded into the marina. Such a colorful, exciting event, and next week it will happen all over again as the Chicago to Mackinac Race begins!

A beautiful array of clouds over Fort Mackinac as dusk settles over the island.

A beautiful array of clouds over Fort Mackinac, as dusk settles over the island.

We didn’t even turn the TV on after we got back to the condo – bed was the only thing on our minds.  We were TIRED.  We fell asleep to the sound of horses hooves clip-clopping down the street outside the windows, which were open to a lovely breeze.  Very peaceful sleep.

WHAT I’VE MISSED

We took our coffee out on the deck this morning and sat in the rocking chairs to watch the island awake.

We took our coffee out on the deck this morning and sat in the rocking chairs to watch the island awake.

I love the sounds of Mackinac.  I closed my eyes and just listened as I sipped coffee and rocked.  Here’s what I heard.

Birds – so many birds singing.  I’d forgotten how much music they can make (I love the cry of the gulls at the beach, but we don’t have song birds where we are – or at least very few), each species with a different melody.  Sometimes they sound like they’re in harmony, sometimes like they’re competing for the ear-piercing award, and sometimes their melody is so sweet and fragile it takes your breath.

Tires – Bicycle tires, burley tires, stroller tires, taxi tires, dray tires.  They all make different sounds as they either whir quickly along, or gently scratch the road as they pass.

Horses – hooves, jingling reins and harnesses, an occasional scuffing snort or a high-pitched neigh to an approaching horse.  Horses make this island work.  I love them.

Adult People – Visitors shuffling along on the way to breakfast somewhere close by, quietly chatting, ready for that first cup of coffee.  Island residents and workers, calling “good morning” across the street to each other, or as they meet on the sidewalk.  Taxi drivers and dray drivers clucking to their horses.

Children – The picture of happiness and gleeful laughter as they take in their surroundings and all the things they don’t normally see on the streets at home.

Ferries – Horns blowing as they approach the harbor.

Freighters – Blowing a salute to the island.

Bagpipes – Bagpipes? At first I thought I was imagining it, but Ted and I both definitely heard bagpipes!  And we had NOT doctored our coffee with anything stronger than half-and-half.

I heard all this – just rocking with my eyes closed this morning and sipping coffee.  And I realized, even more than before I arrived, how much I have missed it all.

The gentleman with the bagpipe. As we walked downtown later in the morning we heard his music again and found him walking up and down between the sailboats, playing beautiful Scottish melodies - both merry and haunting.

The gentleman with the bagpipe (in the middle of the group in foreground). As we walked downtown later in the morning we heard his music again and found him walking up and down the docks  between the sailboats – playing beautiful Scottish melodies, some merry and some quietly haunting.

Island beauty

Island beauty

In the next three months it’s going to be my pleasure to bring you stories and photographs from my “heart’s home.”  The magic of Mackinac awaits – I can’t wait to once again share it with you.

Thank you for each safe travel prayer you lifted.

God bless.

Days of Summer 6/12/16

Oh my gosh, it’s been a busy week!  It started off with Tropical Storm Colin roaring through (no damage – just a lot of rain) on Sunday night and all day Monday and was followed quickly by the arrival of Jason, Jennifer, and Jennifer’s little boy, Alex, from Atlanta on Tuesday.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a six-year-old in the house, and we’d all but forgotten how much fun it is!

Alex had a blast meeting the dolphins at Marineland (he even got to feed the dolphins and learned how to ask them to do tricks) . . .

Alex had a blast meeting the dolphins at Marineland  (he even got to feed the dolphins and learned how to ask them to do tricks – which they instantly obeyed!)

. . . . he toured Fort Matanzas National Park, did all the required activities . . .

He toured Fort Matanzas National Park, did all the required activities . . .

. . . and was sworn in by Mr. Ernie as an official Junior Ranger!

. . . and was sworn in by Mr. Ernie as an official Junior Ranger!

We went to the European Village one evening for dinner . . .

We went to the European Village one evening for dinner . . .

. . . and we all watched the sun go down several nights from the top deck. Oh, and Alex and Maddie became really good buddies!

. . . and we all watched the sun go down several nights from the top deck. Oh, and Alex and Maddie became really good buddies!

Add to that boat time . . .

Add to that boat time . . .

. . . and beach time, and you can see how fast the week went!

. . . and beach time, and you can see how fast the week went!

 

It's always sad when company leaves, but we sure enjoyed them being here! And the house seems WAY too quiet today!

Heading back to Atlanta on Saturday morning.  It’s always sad when company leaves, but we sure enjoyed them being here! The house seems WAY too quiet today!

After three weeks of back-to-back visitors, it’s time to settle down and begin to mark off the calendar days until our trip north for three months on Mackinac Island.  The weather in Florida is getting hotter by the minute, but we’ve learned if you limit your outdoor time to the hours before 11 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m., you can pretty much enjoy part of each day.  But . .  we’re looking forward to the cooler temps on the island, as well as seeing all our friends there.

As I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, the island is gearing up for the 4:00 p.m. start of the Lilac Festival Parade.  I so hate that we’ve missing it this year, but I’m sure someone will share some pics for later.

Friends and readers who are there are reporting the lilacs are FANTASTIC this year! I loved this photo shared by friend Misty Martinchek.

Friends and readers who are there are reporting the lilacs are FANTASTIC this year! I love this photo shared by friend Misty Martinchek.

And this one by Clark Bloswick.

And this one by Clark Bloswick.

Another view of St. Anne's - this one from the West Bluff. (Photo: Maryanke Alexander)

Another view of St. Anne’s – this one from the West Bluff. I mean, seriously – how perfect is this scene!  (Photo: Maryanke Alexander)

Clark Bloswick perfectly captures a blustery summer days. Can't you just hear the seagulls calling out to each other as they search for lunch among the waves?

Clark Bloswick perfectly captures a blustery summer days. Can’t you just hear the seagulls calling out to each other as they search for lunch among the waves?

The island had a pretty impressive storm one night last week. Isaac Burrell's photo shows the approach of the thunderstorm over the Mackinac Bridge.

The island had some pretty impressive weather one night last week. Isaac Burrell’s photo shows the approach of the thunderstorm over the Mackinac Bridge.

Lunchtime at the ferry docks! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Lunchtime at the ferry docks! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

I loved how Bobby Lee captioned this photo: "Sometimes Heaven finds you - right where you are."

I love how Bobby Lee captioned this photo he shot on a ferry trip across the Straits of Mackinac: “Sometimes Heaven finds you – right where you are.”

One of the things I'm missing most right now about Mackinac is its woods. Living in Florida means palm trees and palmettos - even in the woods. The lush, rich smell of damp soil heightened by green foliage and a base of last fall's leaves

One of the things I’m missing most right now about Mackinac is the woods. Living in Florida means palm trees and palmettos, and woods here are made up of trees and bushes that can only exist in salt air and sandy soil.  The lush, rich smell in the woods of Mackinac –  heightened by green foliage, wild flowers, and a pungent base of last fall’s leaves is not something Florida will ever replicate.  I miss it.  I miss it a lot.  When the luggage is unpacked and the groceries are bought, this is where you’ll find me when we get to the island . . . . maybe before the groceries are bought.  (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

INTRODUCING . . .  YOU!

I had three more readers waiting to be introduced when we lost Bear and my thoughts got taken totally away from everything but him.  I want to get back to those readers today!

Meet Beverly DeLauer, a Georgia girl who now lives in Cambria, CA. She's been reading the blog for two years, and found it through a "share" on Facebook.

Meet Beverly DeLauer, a Georgia girl who now lives in Cambria, CA. She’s been reading the blog for two years, and found it through a “share” on Facebook.  Beverly, besides sharing a home state, we also share a year of birth!

Pat and Gayle Steele from Vernon MI. I first met Pat and her daughter several years ago when they dropped by the Stuart House and introduced themselves. Pat and Gayle were married on Mackinac in 1971, and they usually visit twice a year. For 15 years Pat served as a Girl Scout Adult Leader at the Scout Service Camp of the Mackinac Island Governor's Honor Guard (Troop 609). Pat says, "Living and working on Mackinac Island for a week realy immerses you with that 'Mackinac Magic'"

Pat and Gayle Steele from Vernon MI. I first met Pat and her daughter several years ago when they dropped by the Stuart House and introduced themselves. Pat and Gayle honeymooned on Mackinac in 1971, and they usually visit twice a year. For 15 years Pat served as a Girl Scout Adult Leader at the Scout Service Camp of the Mackinac Island Governor’s Honor Guard (Troop 609). Pat says, “Living and working on Mackinac Island for a week really immerses you with that ‘Mackinac Magic'”  Pat and Gayle will be celebrating their 45th anniversary this year.

Meet Marshall and Terry Lambert from Marshall MI.

Meet Marshall and Terry Lambert from Marshall MI.  Terry found the blog for the first time when Bear was doing a guest post several years ago.  Terry says, “I still miss our Golden Retriever, and the blend of Mackinac Island and a Golden jumped out.”  They visit the island a couple of times each year.  The photo above was taken as they celebrated their anniversary at the Grand last fall.

I think that brings us up to date on the “Introducing . . . You!” series.  Please continue to send in your photos, where you live, when and how you discovered the blog, and any other short comments you’d like to share.  I will get them on the blog as I receive them.  Send to: brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.

MOVING ON . . . . A DAY AT A TIME

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This photo pretty much sums up the last few weeks.  There’s a big space that remains empty in our house and in our hearts. We’re moving past the worst of the grief though, and each day draws us closer to being able to open our hearts to a new fur baby.  I still have my moments though.  The other day I was fixing Maddie’s dinner, and I swear I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  I turned and just for a moment I saw Bear standing there . . . patiently waiting for his dinner too. Yes, I know I didn’t really see him.  But his spirit was so strong in that moment that I want to believe he was really there – letting me know he wasn’t too far away.  Even now.

I’ve begun to search.  At one point I even thought I had found what I wanted.  But – things didn’t work out, so I’ve filed that one away as “wasn’t meant to be” and moved on.  Right now I’m pretty sure I’m going to want an English Cream Golden Retriever.  At first I thought I couldn’t get another Golden because I would be constantly comparing him to Bear.  But the English Goldens are shaped differently – a little stockier and shorter than American-bred Goldens.  And they are a very light cream color.  Some are white.  At this point we’re thinking we won’t be getting it until after we return from Mackinac . . .  and we may even decide to get a puppy.

But – you know what.  You just never know when God is going to open a kennel door.  So we’ll see.

Have a great week!

God bless.

 

Mackinac – Beautiful Mackinac! 6/5/16

WE HAVE A WINNER FOR THE CONTEST AT THE END OF THIS BLOG.  THE WINNER IS KATHY STRUKEL!  Answers to the three questions are: 1) 1902; 2) Lawrence Andrew Young; 3) 1944.

I guess you’ve been wondering if I was EVER going to get back to Mackinac on this blog, and I’m happy to report today is the day!  With reports coming in from friends on the island, and photographs being shared every day, I’m hoping today’s post will fill the needs of all of you who are “Mackinac deprived”.  Writing it – and looking at all the photos – has sure helped me as I sit here in Florida – with temps in the 90’s and humidity that has my hair curling into Shirley Temple mode!

Doesn't Bobby Lee capture great angles and perspectives on his photographs? I love this double dose of the Mackinac Bridge - the real thing and its reflection in the ferry windows.

Doesn’t Bobby Lee capture great angles and perspectives on his photographs? I love this double dose of the Mackinac Bridge – the real thing and its reflection in the ferry windows.  Wishing I was on that boat!

And speaking of the bridge . . . Atlanta friend Mike Forrester got the rare chance to climb to the top of said bridge yesterday. Oh, what a view! Later on he and Jill sent me a photo of them together at the Pink Pony. Both of the photographs were meant to drive me crazy and make me very jealous - and they succeeded in that goal!

And speaking of the bridge . . . Atlanta friend Mike Forrester got a rare chance to climb to the top of said bridge yesterday. Oh, what a view! Later on he and Jill sent me a photo of them together at the Pink Pony. Both that photograph and this one were meant to drive me crazy and make me very jealous.  Mission accomplished!

Weather has been very random the last couple of weeks. Even in the fog though, the island is beautiful, and the activities that define the island - like drays and taxis - never change.

Weather has been very random the last couple of weeks – cool days, warm days, sunny days, rainy days, and foggy days. Even in the fog though, the island is beautiful, and the activities that define the island – like drays and taxis – never change. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Tulips, beautiful Grand Hotel tulips! (Photo: Patrick Conlon). Now you see them . . . .

Tulips, beautiful Grand Hotel tulips! (Photo: Patrick Conlon). Now you see them . . . .

. . . and now you don't. In one day and night, the tulips are gone, and the annuals are planted. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

. . . and now you don’t. In one day and night, the tulips are gone, and the annuals are planted. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

All those plants have to come from somewhere! They arrive by ferry, are transferred to drays, and then they make their way to the businesses or homes of Mackinac. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki

All those plants have to come from somewhere! They arrive by ferry, are transferred to drays, and then they make their way to the businesses and homes of Mackinac. That’s master gardener Jack Barnwell (Barnwell Landscape and Garden Services) driving the forklift.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

One of my favorite island flowers - ladyslippers - are blooming in their favorite spots around the island. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

One of my favorite island flowers – ladyslippers – are blooming in their favorite spots around the island. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

And whether you see them from afar or from up close, once you've experienced Mackinac during lilac season, you will always want to return at the same time the next year - and the next. (Photo: Tom Chambers)

Another favorite – crabapple blooms in high focus with a blurred out Round Island Light in the distance.  (Photo:  Tom Chambers)

And yes. It is lilac season on Mackinac. The Lilac Festival is in full swing, and the lilacs have cooperated by showing up right on cue! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

And yes. It is lilac season on Mackinac. The Lilac Festival is in full swing, and the lilacs have cooperated by showing up right on cue! (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

—And whether you see them through the fog (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

—And whether you see them through the fog (Photo: Clark Bloswick) . . .

And whether you see them from afar or from up close, once you've experienced Mackinac during lilac season, you will always want to return at the same time the next year - and the next. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

. . . or from up close, once you’ve experienced Mackinac during lilac season, you will always want to return at the same time the next year – and the next. (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

Would love to be in these woods and walking this trail! Patience, patience. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Would love to be in these woods and walking this trail! Patience, patience, patience. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A busy summer day on Main Street! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A busy summer day on Main Street! (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

A recent full moon appears to be lighting Lady Liberty's torch. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A recent full moon appears to be lighting Lady Liberty’s torch in the marina. (Photo: Josh Carley)

A great one to close this section! Can you find the upside down girl? (Photo: Clark Bloswick)

A great one to close this section! Can you find the upside down girl? Great capture, Clark Bloswick!

SOMETHING NEW AND COLORFUL AT THE ISLAND BOOKSTORE

I recently received two complimentary copies of a new coloring book that is already selling like hotcakes at the Island Bookstore.  Now, don’t think CHILDREN’s coloring book – think ADULT coloring book!!  It’s called “IlluMInations – The Mackinac Island Coloring Book for Grown-Ups”.

This is the third in a series of coloring books for people of any age, and Mackinac Island's many architectural, thematic and natural treasures lend themselves wonderfully to the current craze of adult coloring books.

This is the third in a series of coloring books for people of any age, and Mackinac Island’s many architectural, thematic and natural treasures lend themselves wonderfully to the current craze of adult coloring books.  The book was conceived by Kristen M. Hains and Matt McCormick and published by Denali & Co.

CollaboratorMatt McCormick spent summers in college working on the island - first as a dock porter/bellman and reservationist for The Island House Hotel and later as a Front Office Manager at the Lake View Hotel. He then spent two full seasons (in 1986 and 1987) working as a photographer with Rob Jerstrom at Resort Photography. It was during these two years that McCormick amassed quite a collection of images of the island, many of which inspired the artists who created the coloring pages.

Collaborator Matt McCormick spent summers in college working on the island – first as a dock porter/bellman and reservationist for The Island House Hotel and later as a Front Office Manager at the Lake View Hotel. He then spent two full seasons (in 1986 and 1987) working as a photographer with Rob Jerstrom at Resort Photography. It was during those two years that McCormick amassed a collection of images of the island, many of which inspired the artists who created the coloring pages.

I’ve already ordered my coloring pencils and can’t wait to get started!  What could be more creative and relaxing than spending a few hours bringing my favorite island to life – changing a black & white drawing into a kaleidoscope of magical colors!

Now – what about if I offer one of my complimentary copies to YOU!  Let’s have a contest to see who gets it.  Hmmmmm . . . how about this?  Be the first person to answer correctly – in the COMMENT SECTION of the blog – the following three questions (all three have to be correct):  1) In what year was the Michigan Governor’s Summer Residence built on Mackinac?  2) For whom was the residence originally built?  and 3) In what year was the residence purchased by the Mackinac Island State Park?

Whoever answers all three questions correctly first will receive a copy of this great coloring book!

As soon as I have a winner, I’ll enter that info at the top of the blog (like I used to do with contests on the blog) – so folks can stop sending in answers.  You might want to check the top of the blog before you write in your answers to see if someone has already won.  I will also post the winner in the Comments Section.  I don’t expect it will take long to get a winner!

If you don’t win one, you can find copies at The Island Bookstore when you visit the island!

Ready, set, go!

God bless.

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.