Only One More Friday . . . . . 10/21/2011

C   R   A   Z   Y  !  !  !

Strong winds and rain greeted me when the alarm clock buzzed this morning at 5:45, and gale warnings were up until late Thursday afternoon.  I dressed with more layers than I’ve worn on the Island since I returned one February for Winter Festival.  TWO sets of Cuddl Duds (top and bottom), a turtle neck sweater, another pullover and over all that – rain gear (jacket with hood and rain pants).  The only things not protected from the rain were my feet and hands, which was a big mistake.  I wore heavy socks and leather boots, and by the time I’d been working an hour, my socks were squishy wet, and my toes were frozen.  Reminder to self:  Add plain black rubber boots to my Christmas list (I just couldn’t bring myself to don my black and white polka dot rain boots to go work – not a very professional look.  Silly me.  After an hour of being splashed by the river running through the entrance gate and then stepping down into that river to talk to hundreds of ladies going to the island, I would have given anything for dry, warm toes. But everyone survived, and Shepler’s did a fantastic job.  Those were some tired employees at the end of the day, and they didn’t get off at 1 p.m. like I did to go home and nap for three hours.

Jill lives downtown and is an EARLY riser, so she's met me at Martha's Sweet Shop the last two mornings. This is how dark it still was at 7:20 today as I was getting off the taxi.

Inside with owner Loretta Spata, it was bright and warm and filled with the yummy aromas of fresh-baked pastries and hot coffee. This made three mornings of delicious pumpkin and walnut muffins that I couldn't get enough of. By the way, that's just ONE cinnamon roll on Jill's plate - they are huge!

The ride over this morning to Mackinaw City. Visibility was zero through the spray on the windows. The wind was out of the NNE which, according to Captain Billy, was a very good thing. Those who were on duty this past weekend said it was twice as bad Saturday because the wind was from a different direction.

The final group of 1,000 Winsome Women crossed to the Island this morning. As soon as they could be parked, ladies moved into that big blue and white building which houses the ticket office. This building is also dry and heated and has a coffee bar. Talk about a booming business!

Crossing back to the island at 12:30, the wind had shifted to straight out of the north - a bumpier ride.

Much bumpier!

By 2:00 I was home, sitting with my feet up in my recliner (toes all dry and cozy in wool socks) and covered in a blanket.  Three minutes later I was sound asleep and didn’t wake up until almost five.  No matter how wet and wild these three days have been, it’s always fun to volunteer at Shepler’s.

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Having worked three days, and with the weather like it’s been, there have been few chances to get out for pics.  So tonight, I’m going to post some photos from Ted and from friends who have given me permission to use their work.  On Monday, while I was working and before the weather got so bad, Ted took Maddie and Bear on a two-hour walk.  I’m so sorry I missed going with them, but Ted got some really nice shots!  Enjoy!

TED’S PHOTOS

Looking up the hill in front of the fort to the area where Anne's Tablet is located.

Downtown on a lazy October day.

All the annuals have been pulled up from the Grand Hotel flower beds, and these gardeners were busy planting the tulip bulbs for next Spring. I always try to guess the pattern and the colors - but it's always a secret.

Hmmmm . . . now there's a mountain of dirt behind the Carriage Museum. Wonder what that's for???

Fall colors at Turtle Park.

The road beside the cemetery leading up to Lookout Point. As you can see, the winds of the last week have really taken a toll on our leaves.

Bear - checking out a pile of leaves for anything worth wolfing down.

Sugar Loaf from Lookout Point.

Lookout Point. Looks lonely up there now.

Approaching the embankment that surrounds the site of Ft. Holmes.

Inside the earthen walls of Ft. Holmes.

The bridge from the top of the Island.

Taken from the top of the Ft. Holmes embankment.

Looking straight down Rifle Range Trail from Fort Holmes, with Fort Mackinac in the distance.

Walking back home on one of numerous gravel trails . . . .

. . . and this one came out on Garrison Road, where they turned and walked toward the Post Cemetery. The flag there could be seen from the bottom of the hill - permanently flown at half-staff.

After a week of wind and rain, we always look for God’s promised rainbow.

Paul Retherford is a wonderful photographer and is on the island often for weddings. On this particular trip, he captured a rainbow over the harbor.

Friend Chris Ann Nelson's photograph from her beach in Mackinaw City - a rainbow over the bridge.

Patrick Conlon, the dock master at Shepler's, took this amazing shot of the first boat out on Monday morning, before the bad weather moved in that afternoon.

Next week will begin the countdown – less than a week to go.  The days are piling up on top of each other now, and the reality has set in.  I’m going to try and get a lot of packing done this weekend so I can at least get a few posts written next week before we go.

See you Monday, have a great weekend, and God bless.

Princess for a Day – Mackinac Style 6/28/2010

On Saturday, Siena Forrester turned 4 years old.  After almost a month in the Geary House, in the heart of downtown Mackinac Island, Jeanine and Mike thought a Mackinac-style birthday party was in order – and what could be more “Mackinac” than a hayride!

Mike’s sister and her husband (Holly and Travis) and their daughter Lauren and her boyfriend Bryan had been on the island for the three days leading up to Saturday.  This group – and some island friends – met at the Geary House late Saturday afternoon for Island Slice pizza, Martha’s Sweet Shop birthday cake, and ice cream from Doud’s.  By the way, have I mentioned that any island birthday party should include a home-baked birthday cake from Martha’s?  Oh my gosh!  Ted is still talking about the cake they made for Matthew’s birthday last summer!

Ok – I have to leave the birthday for a moment and throw in here another example of how like a “small town” the island is.  Loretta and Tony live next door to the Geary House, so they have gotten to know the Forrester’s over the last month (in Mackinac Island terms, “next door” means they share a fence and lean across that fence to chat during the day).  Loretta owns Martha’s Sweet Shop.  Working in Martha’s is Miranda, who made the cake served at the birthday party.  Miranda also babysat Siena while the Forrester’s went out to eat at the Grand one night.  Then there is Lily Porter, who also babysat for the Forrester’s this month.  Lily is one of Phil and Valerie Porter’s daughters, all of whom grew up living in . . . the Geary House.  I love this place!  Back to the birthday. . . .

Parents of the birthday girl, Jeanine and Mike.

Siena blew out all her candles. Don't tell, but her secret wish was to be a princess. I don't think the "secret wish fairy" will have any problem making that one come true!

The deck of the Geary House is the perfect place for a party.

One of Siena's favorite gifts was an Ariel (The Little Mermaid) necklace. When she pressed the necklace pendant, Ariel's song would play, and Aunt Holly would always sing along. Siena thought this was sooo funny.

Siena wins a race with her Uncle Travis up the hill behind the house. By the way, that's the Governor's Summer Residence on the left at the top of the hill.

Soon it was time to gather out front to await the arrival of Princess Siena’s chariot.

Somehow Siena managed to put on two party hats AND a crown!

The chariot and Prince Charming (who happened to be finishing his Lasagna dinner) arrived right on time.

The princess on her throne!

We climbed aboard . . .

. . . found a comfy spot . . .

. . . and away we went!

Now here is another “Mackinaw-ism”.  All along the streets and roads, we passed crowds and crowds of people.  They would take one look at our merry little band, see Siena planted on the top haystack with her birthday crowd on, and everyone would yell, “Happy Birthday!”  Siena, of course, thought it had all been planned just for her. 

After riding down Main Street, we turned right to pass by the Mustang, then turned left onto Market Street. At the Mustang, four bridesmaids on the sidewalk shouted Happy Birthday to Siena.

 

Up the hill by the Grand.

We passed the Grand, turned in front of the horse barns, rode by the Jewel Golf Course, turned to ride by the Fort, then stopped on the East Bluff to enjoy the view and rest the horses.

Blue water, blue sky, and sailboats.

After a ride down Mission Hill (I've never gone down that hill in a wagon, carriage OR taxi before - it is STEEP!), we headed back toward St. Anne's and town.

Passing the Mackinac Island Marina.

Making the corner turn by Doud's up Fort Hill - only a block now from the Geary House.

A tired little birthday princess.

I look back now and think how wonderful it would have been for our children to have memories of Mackinac from their early years.  I know Siena won’t remember every detail of her 4th birthday, but I think she will recall . . . a singing necklace, a pink Princess castle, chocolate cake with white icing three inches thick, running around a huge backyard with her uncle, climbing on bales of hay in a wagon just for her, riding through town with well-wishers shouting and waving . . . and hay sticking to her leotards until her 5th birthday!

What a beautiful, sweet little princess you are, Siena.  We will miss you and your family next week.  Hurry back with your mom and dad to Mackinac!

Note:  Thanks to Jill for the pics I’m in (including the header) and the pic of Siena on her “throne”.

Terrific Tuesday 7/15/09

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What a wonderful day this has been!  I’ve had tears in my eyes at least three times!  Happy tears!

Matthew was up practically all night – he slept with Julie, and she didn’t get more than a couple of hours shut-eye.  He was just so excited!  She said it seemed like every 30 minutes Matthew was asking, “Is it my birthday yet?”  And finally, it was!

His day started with presents, with help from Bear who kept hoping someone had given Matthew dog biscuits.  No luck.  Then the questions began again.  “What is my surprise?  Where are we going to get it?  How big is it?  When can we leave?”  Ted and I just smiled and kept on getting ready, urging Matthew and Jordan and Julie to hurry up – we had to be somewhere by 9 a.m.  Of course, Julie knew what was going to happen, and Julie had told Jordan yesterday – so Matthew was the only one in the dark.  And it was driving him crazy!

At a little after nine, we all got on our bikes.  We told Matthew just to follow us  “Where?  Where?”  We arrived at the fort and locked our bikes just outside.  The fort wasn’t open yet, but they were expecting us, and we went in before the gates officially opened.  Soon we saw a group of Boy Scouts approaching, along with a scoutmaster and Shannon, who coordinates the scout activities for the park service – and Shannon was carrying a large box.  We all followed this group onto the fort grounds and to the flagpole where the huge fort flag flies each day.

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The scoutmaster asked Matthew to step closer to the flag pole, and then Shannon opened the box and presented two of the scouts with the flag that had been inside.   The scouts attached the flag to the halyard’s snap hooks and stood ready.  At precisely 9:30, a bugler played Reveille, followed by the shooting of a cannon.  At that moment every U.S. flag on Mackinac Island was raised.

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As soon as the flag had reached the top of the pole and had flown for a few seconds, the Scouts began to lower it again.  I think it was at this point that Matthew began to realize what was happening.  The Scouts retrieved the flag and stepped over to the side to fold it.  They asked Matthew if he would like to help.

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When the flag had been completely folded, with the last corner tucked inside, the scout presented the flag to Matthew.  Shannon brought over a certificate that had been signed by Phil Porter, the Director of Mackinac State Historic Parks.  Tears of pride welled up for our little grandson and for this great country in which we live.

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Another special flag was flown as soon as Matthew’s flag had been taken down.  The Park Service was expecting its 20 millionth visitor sometime today, and that lucky person would receive the second flag.  When the two special ceremonies had been completed, the flag that is normally flown was raised.  That flag is huge and can be seen over the fort when you come into the harbor on the ferries.

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Matthew was so excited.  He decided immediately that this would be a much better “show and tell” than the horseshoe we had found.

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 We left our bikes at the park and walked downtown to pick up Matthew’s birthday cake and a package for him at the post office from another set of grandparents.  Then we went back and got our bikes and started home – with the flag box in my bike basket and the cake in Ted’s.  Just before we got to the trail through the woods that we use as a shortcut, my cellphone rang.  It was Blair, our daughter-in-law, calling to let me know that she had just dropped Blake off at the Atlanta airport.  The tears came again.  A few more hours, and I would see my 6’1″, 32 year old, youngest son!

I had sat on my bike and talked to Blair for at least 20 minutes, and when I got home the cake was on the counter and GDaddy was putting on the candles.  He lit them, Matthew made a wish, then he blew them all out.  I made a wish also – that we would have many more summers here with our family sharing these wonderful moments.

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 At 6:24 p.m., Blake’s plane landed in Pellston, and I finally got to hug my son.  He looked wonderful.  We waited at the docks for the 7:30 ferry to take us across to Mackinac Island, where the rest of the family waited.  He walked around the ferry during the crossing, snapping pictures to load onto Facebook tonight or tomorrow.  We ate supper at the Chippewa Hotel, and then we all took a taxi home. 

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It does this mother’s heart so much good to know he is sleeping upstairs right now under the same roof that we are.  The next two weeks will fly by, and I plan to enjoy every minute and try to stretch them out as long as possible.  Thank you, Lord for bringing him safely home and safely here to us . . . more happy tears.

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