Pebble

 

Our travels took us to Sault Ste. Marie, where we found ourselves on another misty water experience: sailing through the Soo Locks.  In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan has a way of changing the spelling of a place. Mackinac; Mackinaw. Sault; Soo.

Anyway, we rode the locks, and it was fascinating. Mostly, because Jeff was fascinating. his pride in Michigan was deep. True, he’d lived here all his life, but I’ve been here 18 years and I don’t know the detailed history of towns, cities, parks, farms. He did, and he was happy to share that.

Jeff would fill in little parts that weren’t mentioned over tour radios. Folks who overheard would end up gravitating towards him, asking questions and being questioned in return. By the time we were done with whatever it was we were doing, we’d know a lot about a person. Where they were from, where they were going, what they did for a living, who their favorite NASCAR driver was.

At Tahquamenon Falls, Jeff explained the water’s amber hue, the impact of logging and impressively mentioned Longfellow. On the sunniest day of our journey, we stood overlooking the falls having unintentionally timed this stop a breath past peak fall color. As wonderfully as the cheap camera pictures came out, they don’t do it justice. I was posing at the rail of a scenic pier when a stranger offered to take our picture together. As strange as it seems, this might be the only picture of Jeff and I together on our honeymoon. I haven’t come across any others, yet.

Our second to last stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes. We thought about renting a Jeep to drive ourselves around the dunes, but decided a half-hour of driving time wasn’t that exciting. Instead, we opted for the guided tandem open-car tour. We learned about the environmental and erosion problems facing the area. Coming down from a huge mound of hilly sand, the tour glided to rest beside the lapping shore of Lake Michigan.

I was surprised by the number of tourists in our group who quickly shed their shoes in order to wade in. I didn’t. I did, however, dip my fingers into the chilly water, bringing up a small stone memento. Later, Jeff chided me for that, siting erosion. “It’s just one little pebble,” I argued. ‘Yes,” he said matter-of-factly, “but, if everyone who ever went there took a rock from the beach, that’d be millions of missing rocks!”

Then he launched another Jeff-ism:

“Nothing is ever a just pebble.”

 

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Lock Engineering: animation

Animated Falls:  Tahquamenon

Bonus Photos:

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On The Island

The island wasn’t crowded, either, which made sense seeing as we had taken a near empty ferry.

No lines anywhere, meant we cruised through more childhood forbidden purchases:

A small bit of fudge – Jeff wasn’t fond of sweets

Our first Mr. and Mrs. Christmas ornament was a two-some of Teddy Bears popping out of a chimney. We waited while it was customized with our names and the year, 2001.

At a Native American gallery shop, we had a hard time deciding which of two items would go home with us. Rather than choose between 2 favorites, as kids are often required, we took both; a beautiful feathered peace pipe for our marriage, and a decorative hatchet to remind us to bury it, when needed. Sadly, the peace pipe did not survive the later addition of a Jack Russell puppy to our lives. The hatchet has hung everywhere we’ve lived together, and everywhere I’ve been alone after being together.

As we wandered by an old-fashioned photo station, the kind where you could dress up old-time, we smiled widely at each other. Without having uttered a single word, Jeff held the door open for me. The photographer chose wedding appropriate garb including a bridal bouquet, and suggested the Marriage Certificate mat for our photo. We asked our real wedding certificate signers for repeats, then framed and hung our treasure; proof of having conquered another former family vacation forbidden.

Our last-open-weekend-of-the-season dollars, gave us a deal on almost everything.

The two exceptions were the cost of breakfast. Jeff’s eyes opened wide in astonishment as he told me the extra egg he had ordered cost $2.00. “For an egg!” he exclaimed, quickly followed by reasoning. “Of course, I bet it probably cost a lot to get that egg out here…”.

The other exception was the carriage barker who called out a $30.00 dollar per person rate, which we politely declined. When cajoled and asked why, Jeff responded honestly, that seemed like a lot of money. The price was brought down to $15.00 per person, to which we nodded in agreement.

After Jeff handed over $30.00 cash, it was determined there had been a miscommunication. Not $15 per person, but $50 for carriage ride. Sure, it was only $20 more, but the man’s attitude was accusatory. Mentioning that he needed to make money, he said he could do it for $30, but we’d only get half the ride. We decided to forgo the experience. It was getting late, anyway, so we headed to the dock.

We never made it up to The Grand Hotel, but we did spend the full 35 minutes waiting for the ferry trying to decide if we should purchase a gorgeous era-true refurbished aqua bicycle built for two for just $110.00. The main problem was trying to figure a way to get it home. The Neon wasn’t going to be accommodating. We’d need a bike rack, but we’d have to drive somewhere for that, which wouldn’t work for the obvious reason that we’d have to take the bike with us, and … it wouldn’t fit in the Neon.

After going in circles, we logically left it there. To be honest, I cannot imagine us ever riding it. Picturing what that would look like, makes me giggle now. I still wish I’d taken a picture of it.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Link:

Daisy Bell: Bicycle Built for Two

Bonus Photo:

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Almost All

Almost all the weather was damp and almost all of our pictures were misty.

We drove through the Houghton Lake cabins of Jeff’s happy childhood vacations, stopped in a local souvenir shop where we bought a greeting card with a beautiful dream catcher which would months later become Jeff’s first and only tattoo. A 5 inch round over his heart with a turquoise shell, 3 feathers, intricate weave patterns and shadowing, it was impressive.

We visited Hartwick Pines near Grayling, and led ourselves on a self-guided tour. I tried to take a picture of the beautiful leave-covered ground beneath one massive tree, but it turned out murky. Jeff took one of me next to the huge red wheels of a logging wagon. If you look closely, you can see I am holding an almost all point-perfect yellow maple leaf.

We stopped to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox at Castle Rock, but the attraction was closed and it was raining anyway. Jeff was disappointed because he had wanted to go into the souvenir shop that was forbidden as a kid. I’m thinking now of all the places we went in my childhood and how kitsch shops were totally off limits. I rolled down my window, clicked a photo to document that we had been there, and then we moved on.

My first Mackinac Bridge crossing occurred in the rain. As a passenger, I should say, because Jeff was concerned about the weather.  On the approach, I leaned out the window to grab a few shots while being pelted with windy drops. I can see myself in the side mirror wearing one of my favorite sweaters ever. It’s one we picked up at Birch Run.

I’m not sure what that yellow ticket looking thing is under the wiper on the passenger side. Maybe a parking pass? Could be this picture was taken on the way back over the bridge?  Did I mention this trip was almost all rainy? In any case, we made it over.

The ferry trip journey was very uncrowded, and if we’d thought about it, predictably chilly. We huddled together to stay warm, held hands and laughed our way through the inclement weather.

That’s just how it was with us.

Almost all, we held hands and just enjoyed the ride.

Quote for the Week:

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Bonus Pictures:

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The Politic of Cows

The honeymoon saga is being interrupted by a side note.

I hope you all voted today.

You know, my Jeff was a patriot. He always removed his ever-present hat for the national anthem. He removed his hat and placed a hand over his heart for any flag passing by. He admired his friends in the service, had great respect for veterans, never missed a Memorial Day or 4th of July parade, and believed America was the greatest country in the world. 

Jeff also had a wisdom to impart when anyone began discussing politics.

“It doesn’t matter who becomes president tonight,” he’d say. “When we all wake up tomorrow, the cows still gotta get milked.”

This self-proclaimed non-politicking was just a bit of Korte bluster mostly to offset his father’s very-politicking Korte bluster. His practical point was that things tend to stay the same and nothing drastic happens overnight after an election.

Jeff truly cared about his country, his state, his home. I’m sure he would have been horrified by this election, disheartened entirely. I’m afraid this election could very well turn our nation into a disaster tomorrow. I’ve been praying it doesn’t.

At this point, though, the only thing I can say for certain is Jeff’s truth still stands.

Cows still gotta get milked tomorrow morning, regardless.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Cast: Not Casted

Bullish: Something Good

Michigan: Voter’s Battleground

The Honeymoon Hustle: Purple Pyrex

The day after the day after our wedding, we embarked on an adventure.

Our honeymoon wasn’t exactly planned. At least, in my opinion, it wasn’t planned.

That’s not to say Jeff didn’t have a plan. He did, but he didn’t do any actual planning. He opted for an outline and a map, certain  there were plenty of road signs which would lead us where we would go.

Jeff envisioned a tour of the Michigan of his childhood, taking me to the places that brought him happy memories and making newer ones with me.  He wanted to do this and his enthusiasm was so contagious we set off knowing that we’d play it by ear as we went along.

We ended up traveling sort of up the east side and over to the middle of Michigan, down the west side, and back through the center.

First: Frankemuth

We pulled off the highway and pulled into A&W to grab a quick lunch and a glass jug of A&W Root Beer to take along on our journey.

We shopped the outlet mall for Calphalon and cookware, and found a great sale on Pyrex. It was a ridiculous bargain in a ridiculous color: purple.

Jeff pointed out that it would be a  lot easier to determine which item we would take home from family potlucks, as no one else would likely have that hue.  I nodded along. I’d already been to quite a few of those, and didn’t remember anyone having purple Pyrex.

It didn’t bother me at all that our new pie rounds, lidded casseroles, mixing bowls, and storage bowls were going to be violet. I secretly really liked the quirkiness, and the price was more than right. We paid for our purchases and giggled with happiness, because, well… we just bought purple Pyrex.

We spent some our dollar-dance money on clothing for both of us, had to stop at the tool shop, and spent some time in a sport memorabilia and trading card store.

Our dinner destination was wonderful, fun and delicious. I found a chicken platter in the gift shop that found its way into the Neon’s little trunk along with some cheese straws and our other treasures.

We had been to Zehnders together before. We’d been to Bronner’s as well, but we revisited there, too. It’s easy to get lost in the wonder of aisles and aisles of Christmas, wandering down every one. Time sort of flew by us, and before we knew it, we were getting back on the road much later than we meant to.

We set out to cut away from the east coast and stop somewhere around Clare for the evening. In the morning we would go through Roscommon State Forrest and continue on to Houghton Lake.

For reasons beyond our control, that’s not at all what happened.  Our first night’s lodging ended up being even more unplanned than our casually unplanned plan.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Weeks Discovery Links

A&W: Root Beer

Birch Run: More than Just Great Outlets

Zehnder’s: More than Just Amazing Chicken

Bronner’s: More than Just Christmas