Monday, August 18, 2014

Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 10

I have been to Tomahawk’s Dog Park once, without a dog, just to check it out. Last Friday, I thought that maybe I could visit with a dog in tow. 
I didn’t read the rules until I had broken several of them. Sorry. 
Had there been other dogs there, Dino might have had more fun. As it was, here is just one more reason why we call him the Wonder Dog – he pooped right there, right after I took the picture, right next to the shovels and the bags. Good boy. 
The Somo Court Apartments had a cool water feature out front. As many times as I’ve driven past here, I’ve never noticed this before. 
 This was an awesome find. 
 As was the view of beautiful Bradley Park.
 The home of the founder of Tomahawk, William “Bill” Bradley.
 The building is apartments now, but still retains its charm. On the outside at least. 
 Just this past weekend, the Depot celebrated its 100th anniversary. I wanted to go to it, but I got too busy.
 Currently it is Pellet Stove Junction; how appropriate, huh?
The old boat factory. My imagination just takes off whenever I see this building. Wouldn’t it make a great youth center or performing arts venue or just something – other than sitting there empty ever since I was fairly young. 
 Another cool find. Another building which harbors a thousand stories.
 And back to Somo Avenue Recreation Area, aka SARA Park.
Here’s my updated map. This walk is in yellow. This map looks like I am almost done, but I still have a lot of the outlying streets and suburbs, such as Jersey City and Frenchtown and Hiawatha Heights. Stick with me, I’ll make it. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where is our Home?

The little troubles we suffer now for a short time are making us ready for the great things God is going to give us forever. We do not look at the things that can be seen. We look at the things that cannot be seen. The things that can be seen will come to an end. But the things that cannot be seen will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 New Life Version

For the past ten or twelve years my brother has held an annual family picnic. Because he is a retired bachelor, he spends most of the year cleaning and planning for just this one event. When the morning of this year’s picnic dawned, it was raining and the forecast didn’t hold out much hope for clearing skies. My brother has a beautiful large yard but a tiny house. He claimed he could fit two tables in his living room, one table each in his entry way and spare bedroom. I had doubts.

Four hours before the picnic was to begin, I called him and offered the use of my house. Previous parties of my own have proven I can fit 25 to 30 people comfortably in my living room and dining room. He declined my kind and rather hasty offer. Big sigh of relief on my part, but I was still concerned for his well-being in cramming the whole family in his abode.

His theory was this: the average party should only last two to two and a half hours. If people stay longer than that, they are too comfortable. Everyone should visit a little, eat a lot, visit a little more, and then leave. They don’t need to be comfortable.  

Now as I opened with, my brother has been doing this for many years, so he must enjoy having everyone over. He just doesn’t want anyone to overstay their welcome.

Shouldn’t we be the same way living our lives on planet Earth? It’s good to have fun, to be with those you care about, to live a full and productive life, but as Christians we should remember that this life is temporary. If we have times of discomfort and even of pain, we need to remind ourselves that God has an eternal home waiting for us, where there will always be room at the table and in the living room.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all that You provide for us in this life. Help us to remember that especially in times when we are down, that someday You will call us to our eternal Heavenly Home. Amen

(Tiny house, but decent-sized garage. Maybe my next blog should be about butting out and letting my brother take care of things on his own. And also the first picture is of my son and not my brother, in case you were wondering.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Walking the Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 9

On the off-chance that you have just now discovered my blog, let me fill you in on one thing that I have been doing this summer. And that is walking all of the streets of my hometown. (When I was a kid, some people called it Hatchet Creek, thus the name of this post.)

I have also been trying to post a picture of the map of our town, highlighting the streets I walk each week, but this week I didn’t walk many new streets. It’s hard to walk every street, back and forth, north to south, then east to west, so I miss a few in between. I picked some of them up last night and didn’t see much new. Except a yard of rocks – I could garden this way.

 Mostly, however, I wanted to walk around our old hospital. Since early spring, we have been hearing that it is being torn this summer, but a lot of my walks past it haven’t shown much progress (is demolition really progress?)

They have been tearing out all of the insides first, I guess, but it does look like it will come down very soon. A whole lot of people in this town are very sad to see that happening. 

Sigh. Yea, me too, but it had become an eyesore in the ten years it has sat empty and it is better to take the building down now and let it rest with some dignity as opposed to continuing to deteriorate.

I plan to post total before, during and after pictures as the time comes, so for now all you get are these which still tell the story. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Years of Stone

In the first book of Beth Camp’s series on the McDonnell clan, we get to meet the whole family. I don’t want to tell you how that book ends, but I will say that you want to read more about these people. In book two, “Years of Stone”, Beth focuses in on two characters, Mac the head of the clan, and Deidre, the woman who loves him and puts everything on the line for him. And I mean everything. She is one dedicated chick. She will stop at nothing to keep Mac in her life, but along the way, she remains compassionate to everyone she runs into, helping them whenever she can.

Meanwhile, Mac is trying the best that he can to survive the harshest of conditions living as a convict in Tasmania of 1842. I think it is rather crazy that anyone thought it was worth the money to ship all these convicts from Britain, Scotland and the like, but that is what they did, and that is how Tasmania, and Australia as well, became countries. I found it fascinating, so I did some of my own research. Not that I was questioning Beth, but like I said, I was fascinated.

But I needn’t have gone searching for more information. Everything there is to know about this time in the struggling formation of Tasmania – called Van Diemen’s Land at the time – is in Beth’s book. It’s wonderful the way she was able to weave so many facts into her story without the reader realizing it. 

I cannot wait for Beth’s next book, to hear how several more members of the family are faring. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Photo Challenge - Animals

This month's personal photo challenge was Animals. And what a challenge that was for me. I have lots of pictures of animals - wild, tame and the whole spectrum in between - but for this challenge I wanted to take some nice portraits of my three beautiful outside cats. Unfortunately, they never cooperate. Never. I mean - NEVER! Not even for food or snuggles or a night in the house or a dead mouse or a live one. NEVER. So here is the best of my attempts with each cat. 
Who doesn't love a big orange boy? Cheshire is the symbol aloofness. He is also the hardest to catch when he is outside. When he sneaks in the house on a cold winter night, however, he gets too cozy to try to run and hide when I have to throw him out. The thing I like best about this picture is how he matches the straw.
 Fred is just Fred. He's a cuddler, so much so that when you pick him up, he snuggles up to your neck and if you have long hair, he starts licking it. He is also a tobacco fiend and will really snuggle up to anyone who smokes. He tries to suck in as much nicotine as he can. I don't smoke and I don't have long hair, so he only tolerates me. I chose this picture of him mostly because Cheshire is in the background being a normal cat.
Last but not least is Princess Betty. She has three unique features - the most beautiful green eyes, hair color around her mouth that looks like a chocolate milk mustache and her unicorn tuft of hair. I have never gotten a picture which captures the color of her eyes and no amount of editing helps. You can almost see her milk mustache here. But you really can't miss her tuft of hair. 

All my pictures were taken with my Nikon Coolpix with everything set on auto - I am the lazy picture-taker!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Walking the Streets of Hatchet Creek - Day 8

Sorry that I have missed a week or two. That’s what going on vacation does to a person’s schedule. But as we all know, no matter what it takes, we all need to go on vacation.

I cruised around a mostly residential area this week. In other cities, there are “bad parts of town”, streets you don’t want to walk even during the day. I’m happy to say that even though Tomahawk  has its share of rundown houses, a few doors down you will find the nicest well-kept home.

First though, I ran across St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. The only time I was ever in here, I was only in the basement, when the boy scouts were cleaning up the food pantry many years ago.

 Longfellow School used to be in this location. They also called it "Swamp School" because of the swampy area just behind it, but that was way before my time.

 I don’t like taking pictures of people’s houses. I feel like I am intruding but this house is for sale, so I am offering some free advertising. At one time it used to be a bed and breakfast. I wish I had the nerve to call the realtor to ask to see it just for fun.

 Currently the VFW, not too long ago this was called the Axiom building and was where the youth group from the Vineyard Church met. Before that the Vineyard Church met here. I believe at one time it was the Masonic Lodge and I don’t know what else. 

This has been the Senior Citizen hangout ever since I can remember, but I am sure that it was something else at one time.

 Is there even a house in there?

Oh, there it is. Hard to believe it is only a block off of Main Street.

 And here is my route, marked in yellow this week. I met three different people I know on this walk. When am I going to run into you? 

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Last Place on Earth or "I hear bangoes" - Camping Log Entry 4

2010, the first year that I took my husband camping in the UP, I was on a quest to find every waterfall which I could. In the Gazetteer, I found the Upper and Lower Gratiot Falls. Granted they appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. But really? Isn’t that the entire UP? We didn’t have any luck that year.

This year, as we were heading back to our campground, driving along Five Mile Point Road, I spied a sign for Gratiot River County Park. I thought, ah, ha, maybe this would take us to the elusive falls. We started down the gravel road and our teeth quickly began to rattle in our heads. The road was wide and straight but was in desperate need of grading. And then it deteriorated.   

The road narrowed and began to wind through the woods. We met a Jeep coming out, so surmised that at least the road went somewhere. We continued to crawl along at a top speed of 20 mph, the poor Blazer just rattling from its every joint. In the rearview mirror, the hubby could see a car coming up behind us, going probably 35 mph. The hubby pulled over and the car whooshed past.

“Hmm? What do you suppose is at the end of this road that they were in such a hurry to get to?”

“I don’t know,” the hubby answered, “but I can’t believe how fast they were going. This-road-is-awful.” The corduroy road was rattling his head again.

Then we came upon this sign. I cannot say who this fellow is, but I would be embarrassed to have this road named after me.

 After what seemed like an eternity, we rounded a curve and saw vehicles parked up ahead, beyond which lay Lake Superior in its usual shroud of mystery. There were about eight vehicles scattered around the dusty parking area. The hubby chose to turn around and park on the side of the road, heading out, for a quick exit. 

 As we climbed from the Blazer, he asked, “Do you hear banjoes?”

“What? Stop with the overactive imagination.”

Never the less, he kept Dino on a short leash.

As the road opened out onto Lake Superior, we saw a tattooed and toothless man carrying a fishing pole, the sleeves of his shirt cut off. A whale-sized woman, wearing a black bikini, waded in Lake Superior. Another woman with her man were drinking beer and playing cards on some pieces of driftwood. Some children played, but I didn’t hear them laughing. I didn’t hear any human sounds actually, just the sound of the waves on the beach. Clouds had overtaken the sun.

I trudged through the sand making the most of the long drive out here. I could sense the hubby behind me, the dog tight to his side; they weren’t going to follow me.

I snapped a few quick pictures, and to the hubby’s great relief, turned back. He was already hustling back to our vehicle. He had the engine running by the time I joined him just moments later.

“Just let me get a few more pictures,” I whined.

“But I tell you, I hear banjoes!”

“Oh, stop it, already.”

“No, really,” he argued. “I think they are just waiting for a sacrifice to show up.”

Just then a large motor home drove around the corner in front of us. “Are you kidding me?”

“See, I told you. The sacrifices have arrived.”

Yup and about that time, I started hearing banjoes.

(If you’ve never seen the movie “Deliverance”, you won’t get the banjoes reference, but you can look it up here.)