More Real Each Day 10/17/2013

When you spend a few days cleaning out closets and dresser drawers, you can’t help but wonder, “How on this earth did we accumulate so much stuff in six summers?”  Getting ready to go home for the last six seasons meant leaving a lot of clothes, shoes, cleaning supplies, etc. here over the winter.  This time it all has to go, and all I’ve been able to think about is, “What in goodness is it going to be like to pack up the lake house in Georgia where we’ve lived since 1996!”  Of course that’s IF/WHEN the lake house sells!

Corners are beginning to fill with boxes to be shipped home.  The first one went off island yesterday, addressed to Ed and Sally Feagin, who will store them at their house down the street from us until we get home.

Corners are beginning to fill with boxes to be shipped home. The first one went off island yesterday, addressed to Ed and Sally Feagin, who will store them at their house down the street from us until we get home.

My closet is almost empty.  The only things left are a few cold weather items I'll wear for the next 13 days and a couple of warm weather items I'll pack for the last leg of our trip into much warmer weather.

My closet is almost empty. The only things left are a few cold weather items I’ll wear for the next 13 days and a couple of warm weather items I’ll pack for the last leg of our trip into south Georgia, where it’s 85 as I type this at 6:35 p.m. Thursday evening.  It’s 49 right now on Mackinac.

Most of the closet shelves are empty, with the kitchen being the only room that still looks "normal".  After all, we still have to eat for 13 more days.

Most of the closet shelves are empty, with the kitchen being the only room that still looks “normal”. After all, we still have to eat for almost two more weeks.

But nothing makes it more real than this sign in the window at Mackinac Island Realty.

But nothing makes it more real than this sign in the window at Mackinac Island Realty. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

I took a break on Monday to walk downtown to have lunch with Frankie, who was leaving the island for the season that afternoon and heading home to Grand Rapids.  After lunch we hung around at the Star Line dock until the 3:30 ferry arrived.

Judy and Jill came down to see Frankie off also . . .

Judy and Jill came down to see Frankie off also . . .

. . . and Hershey had this look on her face like, "Sure was a short season, mom!"

. . . and Hershey had this look on her face like, “Sure was a short season, mom!”

It's always sad to see a friend off at the dock, but we'll all be back next summer at one time or another, good Lord willing.

It’s always sad to see a friend off at the dock, but we’ll all be back next summer at one time or another, good Lord willing.

I knew what was waiting at the condo, so I didn’t spend any time downtown after the ferry left.

As I walked up the hill there were more and more signs of the season being over - like the painting going on outside Somewear on Mackinac, one of my favorite clothing stores.

As I walked up the hill there were more and more signs of the season being over – like the painting going on outside SomeWear on Mackinac, one of my favorite clothing stores . . .

. . . and this sign on the Ryba's shop on Cadotte.

. . . and this sign on the Ryba’s shop on Cadotte.

As I got ready to take a photo of the Grand Hotel, I noticed something white out of the corner of my eye.  Someone is missing a visor!

As I got ready to take a photo of the Grand Hotel, I noticed something white out of the corner of my eye. Someone is missing a visor!

The Grand Hotel is always beautiful, but surrounded by the colors of Fall, she is at her peak

The Grand Hotel is always beautiful, but never more so than when surrounded by the colors of Fall.

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Can you tell me what’s missing?

The flowers are gone!  We've come full circle, and in a few days, the tulip bulbs which will emerge next spring will go into these bare spaces.

The flowers are gone! We’ve come full circle, and in a few days, the tulip bulbs which will emerge next spring, will go into these bare spaces.

Surrey Ridge Condos . . . just can't see them now without tears forming.

Surrey Ridge Condos . . . just can’t look at them now without tears forming.

On Tuesday morning I was up bright and early . . . make that DARK and early.  I was going over to volunteer at Shepler’s in Mackinaw City because, once again, it was Winsome Women weekend at the Grand Hotel.  Since I’m NEVER up before daybreak, I took the opportunity on my walk downtown to catch the 8 a.m. ferry to get some sunrise shots.  I really, really need to do that more often.

Blazing reds beyond the Grand Hotel bike parking lot.

Blazing sky beyond the Grand Hotel bike parking lot. . . .

Little Stone Church

. . . and behind Little Stone Church.

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Almost to Chambers Corner

First Shepler's ferry of the day arrives at the Mackinac Island dock.

First Shepler’s ferry of the day arrives at the Mackinac Island dock.  

Today Ted went to Cheboygan to drop off some boxes at the Salvation Army store and pick up enough groceries to keep us fed until our leave date of October 30.  I stayed home and packed some more boxes, and we’ll get those shipped tomorrow.  Slowly, but surely, we’re getting it done.

Hugs to all of you, and I’ll be back here in a few days!  God bless.

Roller Coasters and Pretty Trees 10/8/2013

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  What an incredible few days on the roller coaster this has been.

Our emotions have been so raw, our thoughts so scattered, and our outlook so mixed we have found it hard to even come close to having a normal day yet. We’ve rethought all our plans – second guessing everything.  In the process of trying to find something on the island to rent for two months, we’ve discovered there just isn’t a lot to choose from . . . not if two dogs are involved.  And I don’t blame people for that – they have no way of knowing our dogs are perfect :).  So we continue to search for a spot to rent, as we pack a little each day.

I might as well go ahead and confess we’ve also looked at four houses on the Island in the last two days.  In the hours and hours of conversation Ted and I have had, we’ve come to the conclusion that all this just happened too fast for us.  We honestly felt the condo wouldn’t sell for 3-5 years.  For it to sell in one season can only be the workings of God  . . . giving us one last season, but closing the door on our condo as our second home.  We have to remember God works in His own time, and His time is perfect.

We have finally admitted we have just got to step back, pack up, leave the island at the end of the month, and go home to Georgia.  There, in our sweet little house by the water, we will be away from the emotional pull of Mackinac that draws us so strongly – as we talk with friends, walk the trails and streets, and prepare to pass our blessed little condo on to Steve and Cindy.   We’ve spent quite a lot of time talking with them this week, and we love them already. They have such a desire to live here and become part of this community, and I know they are going to be incredibly happy.  We are excited for them!   Cindy melted my heart this morning when she told me, during a phone conversation, “We’d looked at so many places over the past months, but nothing seemed right.  Then we walked into your condo, and we instantly felt at home.”

So that’s how things stand right now.  We’ve eased back into our original plan, except instead of waiting until we sell our lake house to look for something in Florida, we’re going to begin looking as soon as we get home and settled.  We need to test the waters on the market from Amelia Island all the way down the east coast of Florida to New Smyrna Beach.  If we find a place where we “instantly feel at home”, we may go ahead and buy.  From there the plan changes once more.  We’ll put the house in Georgia on the market, and when it sells (1 – ? years), we might see if we can find a little house on the Island.  As Ted says, “We just don’t know if we’re ready to not be Mackinac residents.”  In the meantime, we’ll continue to search for a place to rent which will allow our furbabies to tag along.

One more thing.  I will never in a gazillion years be able to thank y’all enough for your comments on all this.  I’ve read and re-read them through eyes blurry with tears.  Some of you made some great points and suggestions, which we will ponder.  But most of all, you reminded us that we need to leave it all in God’s hands.  He’s working on everything for us, and even though we have our plan, it might not be His.  But His will be perfect.

OK!  Enough of all that for tonight.  I have PICTURES!  Some are from the past few days, and some are from our dog walk this afternoon.  All the rain and wind over the last four days blew a few of our leaves down before their time, but we still have plenty left – so COME ON UP!

PAST DAYS

Ted photographed Ft. Holmes a few days before the rains came.

These first five photos are Ted’s.  He was up at Ft. Holmes a few days before the rains came . . .

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. . . and as you can see, the golds and reds were really starting to pop.

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Birch trees and fall colors – perfect combination.

Ted walked over to Arch Rock and shot this photo of the new stairs leading from Arch Rock down to M-185.  They'll be ready in the Spring!

Ted walked over to Arch Rock and shot this photo of the new stairs leading down to M-185. They’ll be ready in the Spring!

Now see.  I just had a moment.  As I typed “they’ll be ready in the Spring”, I realized I won’t be here to see the finished product until later in the summer.  I’m really having trouble accepting that – but I know I have to.  Sigh.

One last Ted photo.

One last Ted photo – Mission Point from Robinson’s Folly.  Did you see the gull ?

The day we found out our condo was sold, we went out to The Woods Restaurant to celebrate. As always, the riide home through the "real" woods was magical. Our driver had Grand Hotel folks on board, so we got to ride through the Grand portico . . .

The day we found out our condo was sold, we went out to The Woods Restaurant to celebrate. As always, the ride home through the “real” woods was magical. Our driver had Grand Hotel folks on board, so we got to ride through the Grand portico . . .

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. . .and catch the last of the sun’s rays through the fringe on our carriage.

I will go ahead an apologize.  Last weekend was the Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand Hotel, and I didn't step foot in the Grand one time.  Too much going on at once.  I did snap a couple of folks as I walked down to the real estate office to sign papers.

I will go ahead an apologize. Last weekend was the Somewhere in Time weekend at the Grand Hotel, and I didn’t step foot in the Grand one time. Too much going on at once. I did snap this photo of a couple of folks as I walked down to the real estate office to sign papers.

This couple saw me with my camera and stopped to pose without me even asking!

This couple saw me with my camera and stopped to pose without me even asking!

Outside Mackinac Island Realty after contract signing.  (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

Outside Mackinac Island Realty after contract signing. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)

That same day Vince and Molly boarded the ferry . . .

That same day Vince and Molly boarded the ferry . . .

. . . hugged us all goodbye . . .

. . . hugged us all goodbye . . .

. . . and left the Island for the last time as our pastor and his wife.  They are returning to their home in Sarasota FL, where they'll be serving a church on Long Boat Key.  Monday was just a sad day all around.

. . . and left the Island for the last time as our pastor and his wife. They are returning to their home in Sarasota FL, where they’ll be serving a church on Long Boat Key.

One of the houses we looked at today was in Trillium Heights, where the Beech, Oak and Maple trees are clothed in

One of the houses we looked at today was in Trillium Heights, where the Beech, Oak and Maple trees are clothed for Fall.

Would you believe I took this shot out of a basement window in that Trillium Heights home?

Would you believe I took this shot looking up and out through a basement window in that Trillium Heights home?

Village trees.

Village trees.

DOG WALK ON TUESDAY

The winds have left our trails blanketed in short, brown pine needles.

The winds have left our trails blanketed in short, brown pine needles.

Bear - in front of McGyver's turn-out.

Bear – in front of McGyver’s corral – sniffing stuff he shouldn’t be sniffing.

A West Bluff horse

A West Bluff horse checks to see if Ted brought any carrots.

Pretty trees, pretty horse.

Pretty trees, pretty horse.

A Star Ferry makes its last trip of the day to the Island.

A Star Ferry makes its last trip of the day to the Island.

Flowers and a Monarch Butterfly  in front of a West Bluff cottage.

Flowers in front of a West Bluff cottage.  Did you spot the Monarch?

Brent, heading to the barn with a couple of Belgians.

Brent, heading to the barn with a couple of Belgians.

Bear made a new friend behind a bluff cottage - who had treats in the barn.  Maddie was chasing chipmunks.

Bear made a new friend behind a bluff cottage who had treats in the barn. Maddie was chasing chipmunks.

Going home for dinner.

Going home for dinner.

A gorgeous tree at the Barn View residence.

A gorgeous tree at the Barn View residence.

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow we have an electrician (our hot water heater went out today) and a house inspector coming.  Then lunch with two great friends, Sue and Terry Conlon.  Hmmmm . . . I can always pack some more on Thursday!

See you in a few days!  God bless.

Where Were You . . . . . 9/11/2012

We have a Mystery Spot winner (I guess it wasn’t as difficult as I thought!).  She is Jane Haviland from Portage, MI.  Please see end of this post for answer!

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?” 

We’ve all heard that achingly sad song by Alan Jackson, written a few short days after the 9/11 tragedy.

I certainly remember.  In the Public Information Office of the Dougherty County School System in Albany, GA, our back room was home to the Administration Building’s only TV set.  We had it for emergency announcements during bad weather and to watch and record school system officials when they’d appear on the news or on local talk shows.  That morning, having hardly walked out of the office next door – where the coffee machine was on our floor – I sat down to begin the morning’s projects.  Suddenly, a lady from another office on our floor came running in, shouting, “Turn on the television!  The World Trade Center has been hit by an airplane!”

So many thoughts ran through my mind at once.  A plane?  Small or large?  And . . . how could a plane hit a building that big?  Had the pilot died at the controls?  What a unbelievable accident!

By the time we’d gathered around the TV and turned the channel to NBC, our minds were shattered by Katie Couric announcing a plane had flown into the second tower.  We looked at each other in horror – this was no “accident”.

Each year Mackinac Island honors those who died in the Twin Towers – both the workers who were going about their normal business day in those two huge office towers, and the firemen, policemen, EMT’s and military who lost their lives trying to save whoever they could that morning.

A large crowd gathered outside the Mackinac Courthouse to participate in the Patriot Day ceremony.

Members of Mackinac Island’s volunteer Fire Department and our police force, EMT’s and military were all honored.

In our small community, where we know each and every one of the men and women who put their lives on the line each time they answer a call to duty, every word spoken by program participants put into perspective how grateful we all are to those who help others in their time of need.  It was a beautiful ceremony.

Blog Readers on the Island

Loved, loved, loved meeting blog readers who were on the Island and attending the ceremony. From left to right: Kate and Scott from Huntington, Indiana, then Mike, Pam, and Leonard (Pam’s dad) from Seven Mile, Ohio. So glad you introduced yourselves and hoping to see you all again while you’re here!

So happy also to see Jan Webster and Bonnie Foltz (a former summer resident) at the ceremony. They’ll be on the Island a few more days and we’re hoping to see them again.

Readers Photographs of Mackinac Island

Everyone has their own personal, favorite photograph of the Round Island Lighthouse, and this is Carole King’s from Virginia. Carole worked on the Island while she was in college and tries to make it to the Island every few years. She says she remembers back then she “would ride through the woods and have an enchanted feeling – like I was in wilderness.”

Wedding day for Tom and Melissa Wachowski, who live in Arizona now. Tom visited the Island for the first time as a 10-year-old and came back several times over the years.  When he and Melissa were planning their wedding in 2003, he suggested Mackinac. She wasn’t quite convinced until – out of the blue – a Mackinac Island Wedding Guide arrived at their P.O. box in Arizona! It was a sign! They visited in 2004 so Melissa could see the Island, and were married at Mission Point the next year. AND – they arrived here today for their annual visit.

Jeff Gushman – Dearborn Hts., Michigan. A view of the Island and the Star Line Ferry’s LeSalle – taken from the deck of Star Line’s Marquette II as it rounds the bend leaving the Island.

Jill Sawatzki – Mackinac Island and Lansing, Michigan. Winter Festival, 2009.  A bike, stranded by a sudden snowstorm, is getting a ride home on a sled pulled by a snowmobile.  Notice the snow is OVER the sidewalks!

Dave Crans – Canfield, Ohio – August, 2012. This photo of Main Street was taken from the second-floor balcony of the Lakeview Hotel.

Mystery Spot

The object of the Mystery Spot is to be the first to identify where the object is located. When you think you have the answer, email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com. I’ll check my email several times a day, and as soon as we have a winner, I’ll post the winner’s name at the top of this blog so you can stop guessing (you may have to refresh your page for this to show up). Is there a prize for the winner?  Yes there is; but the prize is secret, and the only ones who will know what it is are the winners. To be fair, I’m asking residents of Mackinac Island to please NOT guess. This is just for readers who don’t live here . . . but would like to! And the Mystery Spot is   . . . .

I THINK this will be a tough one . . . . Where is it?

Again, please email your answers to me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com.  PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION OF THE BLOG.  Remember, I’ll post the winner at the top of this blog as soon as someone gives the correct answer.

Personal Note:  Thanks so much for all the “get well” wishes!  I’m feeling much better, and I’m so glad I had some meds on hand to nip this little allergy bug in the bud!  Ted’s blister wasn’t nearly as bad as the one he had last year, but it was bad enough!  He’s doctoring it each morning and night, and we’re hoping it will be all better soon. 

Mystery Spot Answer

The Mystery Spot is the decorative work on one of the top gables of the Chippewa Hotel.

Endings and Beginnings 6/8/09

Cathie and Charlie left Sunday morning on the 10 a.m. ferry.  It was raining, it was cold, it was windy.  They had arrived 10 days ago in the same kind of weather and had seen the Michigan spring come full circle within that time.  Some days it was in the low 50’s – some days in the 60’s – it even hit 70 once.  The nights were all over the place too.  We had 30’s, 40’s and a couple of 50’s.  We had a little rain, lots of sunshine, some windy days, and a day or two of calm.  They say up here if you don’t like the weather,  just wait five minutes – it will change.  They are right.

IMG_1112The last couple of days were spent trying to cram in some sights we had missed.  We scheduled a private carriage tour and left at 1:00 in the afternoon, hoping for an hour or two of warm sunshine.  We got the sun, but we also got the wind.  Charlie had missed out on some of the sightseeing, but he finally could see for himself  what Cathie had been bubbling over about for days.      

100_0292Thank goodness we had brought along a couple of blankets (actually throws) from home and our caps and gloves.  When we were up on the bluffs, the wind was blowing so hard we decided against even getting out of the carriage to take pictures.  We still got some really great shots across the harbor.  I don’t think I have ever seen Lake Huron as blue as it is right now. 

 

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Saturday morning we hiked with the dogs up to Ft. Homes, which is the island’s highest point.  In 1812, the British set up their cannon on this site and, without a shot being fired, took Fort Mackinac from the Americans.  A reconstructed stockade is all that remains on the site, which is 325 feet above the Straits.  Before reaching Ft. Holmes, we stopped off to show Cathie Sugar Loaf, the largest of the island’s limestone stacks.  Sugar Loaf towers 75 feet above the ground. 

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From Ft. Holmes, you can just about “see forever”.  The lighthouse in the harbor looks like a tiny toy.  Ted took Maddie and Bear on a stroll around the top of the stockade while Cathie took pictures.  Maddie, as always, was on guard for anything that she might attack.  We got a super picture looking straight down Rifle Range Trail, over the fort, to one of the Star Line ferries coming into the harbor.

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On the way down the hill, Bear ran ahead of us for several hundred feet, then found a nice, shady spot to wait for us to catch up.

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Cathie looking at birdhouses in The Grand Outlet Store.

Cathie looking at birdhouses in The Grand Hotel Outlet Store.

 

After a quick lunch, Cathie went into her power shopping mode, and we headed for town.  She only had one more afternoon to clear the shelves in the stores she had “pre-shopped”, and time was running out. 

At each stop I would say, “Cathie is leaving tomorrow,” and every storekeeper would gasp and insist that she couldn’t possibly leave – she had to stay at least another week.

I know you think I am kidding when I say this, but it is the absolute truth – when Cathie got on that ferry Sunday morning, every store clerk on Market and Main Streets was weeping.

Cathie with Karen at La Galerie, Inc.  Karen opened "Pandora's" box for Cathie (in fact she opened several boxes of those beads, and I swear Cathie bought one from every box.

Cathie with Karen at La Galerie, Inc. Karen opened "Pandora's" box for Cathie (in fact, she opened several boxes of those beads), and I swear Cathie bought one from every box.

 

When Ted called Cathie and Charlie Sunday afternoon to see how far they had driven, he kidded her that there were five stores on Market Street with “Closed for the Season – Thanks, Cathie!” signs on their doors.

 

 

 

 

 

 When I called at 9 a.m. this morning and asked for a taxi for the 10 o’clock ferry, the dispatcher said, “I’ve got one in the village now.  Can you be ready in 5 minutes?”  When you order a taxi and are told you don’t have to wait at least 25 minutes, believe me you start jumping!  We ran downstairs with suitcase after suitcase after suitcase;  we carried little plastic shopping bags out by the dozen; we even had duct-taped together a box of goodies that we couldn’t find any other place for. 

Really it was good that they left that way.  There was no time for long goodbyes and tears.  Ted was riding his bike down to help them unload at the dock, and then he had to run to the store.  I had decided not to make the trip down because of the rain.  The visit had ended.  The friendship would now begin – not only with Cathie, but with Charlie also.

I know I haven’t talked much about Charlie, but I admire him so much.  Charlie is Cathie’s rock.  A former Delta pilot, he is the steadying calm to her whirlwind, and his sense of humor kept us in stitches their entire visit.  Charlie has some physical limitations due to an illness that the best doctors in the United States have still not given a definite name.  But he put all that aside to give this dream trip to Cathie, and I know how much she loves that he did that for her.  They balance each other perfectly. 

Today was my birthday, and after a quiet day spent reading and writing some thank you notes, we walked downtown with the dogs for my birthday ice cream cone.  Climbing Fort Street going back home, just below the Governor’s Summer Residence, we came upon four lilac bushes in full bloom.  Saturday marked the beginning of the Lilac Festival on the island, and the residents have been worried that the famous flowers would not be blooming because of the late spring.  I don’t think they have anything to worry about based on these gorgeous specimens.

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It’s been such a wonderful week with Cathie and Charlie.  Now we start getting ready for Sandi and Tommy, who arrive from south Georgia on Friday.  Hmmmm, maybe I should warn the store owners to restock fast!

Note:  Historical information on Sugar Loaf and Ft. Holmes copied from Amy McVeigh’s Mackinac Connection: The Insider’s Guide to Mackinac Island.