Archive for October, 2012

photo by Brenda Horton – Bree’s Mackinac Island

The HMS Bounty on Mackinac Island in August, 2010.

I pay tribute to the great loss that this international treasure of a ship is to the world and to the heartbreak of a dedicated crew and the loss and death of one sailing soul. I offer prayers for  the missing captain, who is still being searched for with hopes of his survival in the seas.

I believe I saw this ship as the Tall Ships sailed into South Haven, Michigan sometime before the year 2000.

You truly sail on………….in our hearts.

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There is More

Halloween and the trick and treaters are just around the corner. The month of November is coming fast and with it the opening of the autumn season of gratitude. We are just past the highlight of splendorous leaf colors in southwest Michigan. But I also love the season as it turns rustic and brown and aromas of burning leaf piles and first fire in the fireplace waft through the air.

I don’t really have any trouble feeling grateful in any season, but I always especially love it around Thanksgiving time. It is my favorite holiday.

This morning our elderly parish priest (more elderly than I) delivered his memorized gospel scripture verses as he usually does. It was about the blind man being cured by Jesus. In his homily, Father O’Leary said it was  important to note that the Jesus asked him, “What do you want?” And the man replied, “that I may see”.  Jesus restored his sight.

But the scripture goes on to say that the man followed Jesus after receiving his sight. Father said it is not explained in the verses WHY he followed the Master, just that he did. The priest said he ventured a guess that the man “wanted something MORE” than just his sight”. That is plausible.

The priest also said he is leaving for a 30 day sabbatical of quiet in a Benedictine monastery. That’s not surprising as I know him to be a sincere practitioner and proponent of the Prayer of the Quiet, Centering Prayer.

He said, contrary to rumor, he is not discerning his retirement, but looking for the completely quiet environment, in which I think he is fairly certain that he will and already has in his lengthy vocation found the “something more”.

I think that SOMETHING MORE, in this sense, is a great way to think of having and receiving more in my life without feeling gluttonous or being filled with fears of ownership.

I have had a lot of noise in my life lately, and I, too, have daily faithful prayer practices to the quiet. The noise comes from several sources and has had me a little off balance. During this time I have not written as Napkinwriter in my usual pattern. I have missed doing that.

Some of the noise has come from a deep resident sinus and lung infection that hung on for an unusually long time. I am very healthy and rarely sick, but this one took me to task. It reminds me to continue to pray for those who do suffer ill health or pain frequently.

The noise also comes from visitations to both of my brothers, who really are in ill and incapacitated states of health. It tugs on my timeline and heartbeat of our brother-sister relationship.  So I find it hard to not resist the march of time and the lack of options they both have. It weighs heavy on my heart.

Of less serious consequence is the Detroit Tiger baseball team being down 3-0 in the World Series and needing to put it on the line tonight if there is any chance for a miraculous comeback.

Also, Tom has issues with the squirrels. We enjoy watching the finches, bluebirds, cardinals, robins, bluejays and a variety of woodpeckers who feast on their station on our back deck. But the squirrels also come uninvited.  I hear unexpected loud shouts of “bang, bang” “get out of here” “go” at times I am not prepared for it and jump right out of my chair. He has resorted, also to using a squirt pump rifle, and douses them occasionally.

I think there is a  critter “watch-out” below the deck, and they win most of the time. I also suggested a feeder at ground level for the squirrels to see if that discourages them. Nothing else has.

Our careful spending budget sometimes makes noises too….”But I want this….or I need that”, and then I summit up visions of spending my $1 available in five different and worthy ways, only one of them being “discretionary”, for all else seems to be needs that pop up, or have been waiting a long time to be redeemed.

Of course, this is the end of the political season, and that noise trumps all other noise. Being at home a lot, Tom and I have followed the campaigns closely. It is a lot to take in, even as you are trying to make an informed decision.

The parties seem — more than seem — they are very different approaches to very serious problems. The country seems evenly divided between the two candidates this close to Election Day. Both sides fear that if the other party gets elected, we are in for dire consequences.

It does not seem that there can be two Truths — as divided as these candidates are in their systems and philosopohies, they each would have you believe there are two Truths. Their own — and the wrong one.

Regardless of who the winner turns out to be, we the citizens of this country, are going to have to trust. Trust, in bigger quantities than we ever have before. In order to go forward with my personal life and contribute to it as I can, I will have to pray and trust that the leader, whoever he is, will do the following for us:

make a genuine effort to work it out at the national level that we have a safe and prosperous country; that something will change positively in the economy for our generation and generations to come; that health care will be fairly and economically distributed among all, and that the elderly and the unborn will be treated as the sacred beings they are.

In other words, we the voters, want you, the leader of the next four years   to be a WORTHY leader and provide WORTHY leadership because, regardless of who we vote for, that is what anyone’s vote really amounts to.

We want you, the leader, to be worthy of our choice.

So, sometimes in the appearances of possible scarcity, I am grateful for and want more of the singing I hear in my soul. It is different tunes all the time, but this past week, it has been…..

“Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God in the highest. And on Earth, Peace on Earth, Peace to people of Good Will.” from the Gloria of the Mass.

Good Will……. I will take more and more and more of……all the time.

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Photo by Brenda Horton – Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog



Bree is getting ready for hers and Ted’s and (Bear’s and Maddie’s ) trek back to their Georgia home down on the”rivah”. But she gives us some beautiful glimpses of how the Island, too, prepares for its winter season.

This is too beautiful not to share. Horses, lake waters, foggy mists, and businesses that ran full steam ahead in the summer, and witnessed many grand vacation times, now begin to settle into a different rhythm.

It keeps you forever in love with Mackinac Island.

While I have followed Bree’s Mackinac Island Blog for at least four years now, I see myself in the near future walking into the Island Book Store, obtaining a copy of a book written and photographed by Bree, and then scouting out her condo, so I can get an autographed copy.

It will have a distinguished place on my bookshelf.

Thanks, Bree, for this wonderful conversation.

Last Sail of the Season 10/7/2012

Brrrr . . . .

With highs in the 40′s and wind chills in the 30′s this weekend, we’re wondering if this could be a little teaser about what kind of winter the Islanders can expect!  I’m sure hoping  for them (cause they love lots of snow and deep ice on the Straits) that they have a true Mackinac winter this year.  Also – and selfishly – I’m hoping for that because I want to come back to the Island this winter for a few days, but only if there’s  lots of snow!  I’m talking piles and piles of the white stuff!

With all the blustery winds in the last few days, our beautiful trees are beginning to shed a few  leaves, but there is a lot of color left for visitors to ahhhhhhhh over – so come on!   Make sure you check those ferry schedules before heading out though – there have been changes in the last few days!

So much to talk about today – so I’ll just start writing and see how far we get in this post . . .

The big story from last week is Ted’s awesome sailing adventure on Thursday.  Steve and Orietta are year-round Island residents, and Steve asked Ted to sail with him to Cedarville (in the U.P.) to put his boat in storage for the winter.  He keeps the boat moored during the summer in Haldimand Bay, just beyond the Mackinac Island Marina.  Now Ted doesn’t know a lot about sailing, but Steve needed an extra pair of hands on board, and Orietta needed to get their car to Cedarville so Steve would have a ride home.  Consequently, Ted got a great day on Lake Huron, and Orietta and I drove, shopped a little, met the guys in Hessel for lunch, drove on to Cedarville and overall just had a fun day!

But, before we get to the sailing . . .

I was meeting Orietta at the ferry at 11 a.m., and the fog, really dense earlier in the morning, was beginning to burn off. I passed the entrance to the Grand Hotel shade garden just as this worker finished pulling up the perennials along the steps.

Fort Mackinac was still cloaked in the foggy mist . . .

. . . and from Market Street the fort looked even more ghostly.

Jill was up a lot earlier than I was that morning and had already been out and about – as had Mary McGuire, head of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.

The docks and marina were socked in with heavy fog . . . (Photo: Jill)

. . . and the Chippewa Hotel was barely visible from the Marina. (Photo: Mary)

It would be a little later in the morning before these private carriages began to fill with passengers. (Photo: Mary)

Jill, who was spending part of her day off dog-sitting for us, told me on Wednesday that another load of horses would be leaving the Island on Thursday at 11:00.  As I was going down the hill, I met her coming up to get some shots of the horses on Cadotte.

Here they come!  Each worker is in charge of leading groups od two, three, or four horses down from the big barns to the ferry.  The horses are excited!  I think they know when their horseshoes are taken off, and no new ones are put on, that they are leaving the Island soon for the rolling pastures of a farm in the U.P. (Photo: Jill)

As many times now as I’ve witnessed this ritual, it never fails to make my heart beat a little faster. There’s just something about 20 one-and-a-half to two-ton horses moseying down Market Street that makes me grin like a little kid.  It affects everyone the same way – walkers and bikers stop and dive into backpacks and purses for cameras, or just stand and gape.  Only on Mackinac!  (Photo: Jill)

The horses were leaving from the Arnold dock, and Orietta and I scurried to take photos of our own! (Photo: Jill)

It’s always a bittersweet moment when the men and women who take care of the horses all summer say goodbye to them for the winter.

One of the first things I learned after being here for a while is that this is more than a “job” for these workers. They all LOVE horses . . .

. . . and they take care of each and every horse as if it was their own personal companion.

The horses take it all in stride – most of them have done this for at least several years. (Photo: Jill)

They watch the people, watch as other horses arrive, and . . . . make plans.

“You know that second fence post by the road in the pasture in the U.P.? Once we’re out of the trailer, meet me there, and we’ll plan the party for this weekend. Spread the word!”

Ok – back to the sailing!  Orietta and I went over to St. Ignace on the 11:00 Arnold boat, but Ted and Steve’s morning began at 9 a.m.

Jill was at the dock to watch them pull away from the mooring.

Ted had his camera with him and captured the Island slowly receding in the background, as Steve piloted the boat out of Haldimand Bay.

The fog was still thick at nine, and this Star Line ferry, passing the Round Island Light, blended in with all the gray.

The sky didn’t look too promising for a good day on the water. There was not even a whisper of wind, and the 16-mile trip would be made using the sailboat’s diesel engine.

While they were motoring to Hessel, the first leg of the trip and where we would meet them for lunch, Orietta and I crossed to St. Ignace.

From the ferry window I captured this really eerie photo of the Mackinac Bridge. Only the top of one tower was visible above the fog.

We walked past these Burning Bushes along the boardwalk in St. Ignace to pick up Orietta and Steve’s car. So beautiful!

As we left St. Ignace, we called the guys and discovered they were just pulling into the Hessel Marina – ahead of schedule!  It took them about an hour-and-a-half to go by water, and it would take us only 20 minutes by road.

We met them at a great little restaurant in Hessel, enjoyed a very good lunch, then walked over to another little store for a Jersey Mud – Ted’s favorite dessert!

Orietta and I walked down to the boat to watch them ready the boat for the final hop to Cedarville – only a few miles.  By then the sun was shining, and the weather was perfect!

As I photographed them motoring away from Hessel . . . .

. . . Ted photographed Orietta and I waving goodbye to our “sailor boys”.

It only took about 10 minutes to make the trip by road from Hessel to the boat yard where the boat is stored for the winter. We walked out on their dock and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and the wonderful fall scenery.

What a wonderful old boathouse! I bet it has some great stories to tell . . . if it could only talk.

Nice spot for a home!

While we were enjoying the scenery, Ted was steering the boat (and taking photos), Steve was removing the sails . . .

. . . and they were soon coming into the Cedarville harbor.

We watched as they carefully tried to maneuver through the grass in the very shallow bay. The water levels in all the Great Lakes are at very low levels.

Steve piloted the boat the last few yards . . .

. . . into the spot where eventually it would be lifted out of the water.

The final task was to get the sails on dry land . . .

. . . then fold them and place them in bags. Steve will take them to a place over the winter where they’ll be checked for nicks or tiny holes and, if necessary, be repaired.

We arrived back in St. Ignace in time for the last boat of the day at 4:30.

What a great day we had with Steve and Orietta.  Thanks so much for including us, and have a wonderful winter on the Island!


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Scripture talks in many verses about the eyes. For instance, it does say that if the eye is healthy, the body is healthy. It also says that our eyes are the windows to our soul.

How true that is. It is in the eyes, you can first tell how a person is feeling. I love smiling eyes! I see them before I see the smile on the mouth often. Dancing eyes give off a twinkle and raises the energy around the person. When a person is not feeling well, it shows in their eyes quickly.

Eyes communicate directly with another – without words they can issue a command not to be taken lightly; like a lighthouse they show forth hope and promise to one who needs to be uplifted; when energy is drained, they are the message-bearer that one needs a respite.

Our daughter, Laura, is a Doctor of Optometry. She has served the health of people’s eyes for over twenty-one years now in the practice she started with fresh out of Optometry School.

She is wonderfully happy and blessed in the health profession she has chosen. So are her faithful returning patients over two decades of eye-care. Several of them show their appreciation in delightful ways. She has also been credited with some sight-saving emergency care and referrals of immediate need patients. Her expertise in contact care and cataract attention is known throughout the profession.

Yesterday at the end of a long week, Laura received a gift cake, beautifully decorated in autumn motif colors from a patient. It was from her favorite bakery for cakes. The patient was returning after she had been there on the day the office was celebrating her 21st year, so she just added some extra days on the cake.  She is also the gracious recipient of chocolate from Germany. I think that is pretty special when a patient thinks of their eye doctor while “across the pond.”

Dr. Laura enjoys a community-setting and comadarie among her office staff workers. They have festive brunches on special occasions, and “tailgaters” at the office when big game days are at hand. And pretty great parties offsite too.

It is pretty easy to remember the day she came home from school and said she had seen a health film and she knew what she wanted to be. I think she was in the eighth grade. She wanted to be an optometrist and take care of and heal people’s eyes.

She never changed that idea from the time she had it. We found ourselves quite quickly in the library searching the Optometry Schools in the country. She  focused immediately on Ferris State University School of Optometry in Big Rapids Michigan. So she enrolled in undergraduate school there and the studies began……

We had lots of fun with both daughters as they both chose colleges just north of us, and our second daughter marched in the Central Michigan Band in Mount Pleasant. So for awhile, we put a lot of weekend tire rubber on the road and miles on our car as they both pursued their scholastic and professional dreams. Lots of dorm and house furniture moving, football games, and concerts and it was great being part of it all.

Laura was in school for a  L   O   N  G    time; it seemed like it to her. She did one internship at an Air Force base up north on the eastern shores of Michigan. Then she relished an internship in Lexington, Kentucky where she had been born. She continues to hold an optometry certificate in Kentucky, for you never know when the bluegrass might call to her once again.  We enjoyed giving a party for her in Lexington at the end of her internship, with both our own friends from our first family days in Lexington plus many of hers too.

We saw our “little girls” and their “little friends” all grown up entering the now generation of profession and family.

Laura worked several years before meeting Carl, the love of her life, and a little down the timeline after that, she completed this love with the birth of their daughter, Amy, who is about to celebrate her 5th birthday in a week or so.

This is the good life….good being done…..good being received….good being shared. All this good warms both her parents’ hearts.

A visit to Dr. Mommy at work with grama & dziadzia
usually means a ride on the caroulsel.

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