Have you given any thought about what will become of your body after you die? By nature, I favor the idea of giving mine up for scientific study, feeling particularly beholden to the man whose cadaver provided Alan’s first insight into how things look within the human body. (*This was before Body Worlds and similarly incredible Human Body Museums existed; if you ever get a chance to visit one, I highly recommend it!) My parents were cremated and requested that their ashes be mingled and scattered to the winds where they courted and wed: The very Rocky Mountains.Sad, but very romantic. As a family, we fulfilled that behest, and it seemed perfectly in character to watch them floating away
as free as larks on the mountain breezes! Alan and I have definitely considered having our ashes mingled and scattered on Lake Superior somewhere, but we’re still thinking, because many people favor a burial site where loved ones can come to mourn. My relatives are from Colorado, and my siblings scattered to the four corners of America, so visiting cemeteries was never on my Memorial Day “to do” wishlist, but Jonathan really wanted to see where his progenitors were buried, and so one of the last things we did on our Roots Tour was stop at the family burial plots for Alan’s parents, who both lived and died in the U.P. We also visited with two of Alan’s cousins to gather information
and hear some of the stories again. There is definitely something very stirring and therapeutic/provocative
in learning about our roots. In every family, there’s a mix of noble and ignoble, but I think most of us feel a deep need to connect with our past at some point. One particularly heartening idea for keeping connections with the past “present” resulted from visiting Phyl and Oren, who have been living fountains of blessing. For some years, Phyl has had a ministry of making fabulous holiday greeting cards using pictures from Facebook. We have been the blessed recipient of some of those cards,
and I consider them a family treasure! Phyllis also made dozens of cards for her sweet husband, which they kept in a box. Now, here’s the exciting part! Recently, Oren’s memory has been slipping badly, but Phyllis keeps the box of cards right beside Oren’s favorite chair, and every day he looks through those cherished cards, remembering happy times with his family, which helps to keep his memories fresher. Do you have old greeting cards that you haven’t known what to do with?
I did, but now I’m gathering them up in a drawer for “future reference,” and when Alan and I are old and (even) grayer, we’ll be able to take them out
and remember the happy days of yesteryear. Sound like a plan?
“And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.” (Psalm 77:10-12)
(*Picture of Body Worlds from Chicago’s exhibition information,
and all the pictures of Phyl and Oren’s family are from her Facebook page! 🙂 )
Brimley is less than an hour east of Eden. (Well, would you believe “east of Paradise,”
since Paradise truly is the name of the little village near Tahquamenon Falls.) Brimley is at the southern tip of Whitefish’s blue bay (Google Maps has it all!), 🙂and it’s one of the Upper Peninsula’s oldest (and best) state parks! It’s a great place to camp because its sugar sand beach is so clean it squeaks when you walk, and feet are never squeamish about finding their way into the lake for a romp since they can see through the crystal clear waters and feel the firm foundation underneath. Playing in the water, hiking, picnicking, and swimming at Brimley State Park
are major sources of refreshment on hot summer days …at least for those who can withstand the cold water
(or are too big to let frigid Lake Superior temperatures stop them). Granted, hot days are a bit of a rarity in da Yoop, but there are swings & things, and it’s a great place for fishing in the Waiska River for delicacies
like walleye, bass, pike, perch, and whitefish.
(Don’t ask me why, but it sounds like “the Whiskey River” when they say it.)
Our family isn’t big on fishing, but we love flash-fried and basketed fish dinners at the Cozy Inn. Their fish are so fresh I sometimes think they’re still flipping. Really—can’t you just see them flipping about? Their food is amazing! Anyway, across the bay is Gros Cap, where Alan and I used to hike and share picnic lunches on occasion. In fact, on one occasion (but in the middle of the winter…so read that as one enchanted, freezing evening), he proposed to me. 42 years later, we had the pleasure of returning with not only Jon and his wife, but with their kids! What a joy! In fact, we had so much fun on our trip, that I’m already day-dreaming about trying to do a “Roots” tour
with some of our other grandchildren…if we can ever catch them! It took me years to figure out why older folks are so crazy about their grandchildren, but I think I’ve finally got the picture! They make you feel young again.They makes things new and fun again! They challenge you to run again. It’s a great privilege to share life and love with kids and grand kids,
don’t you think?“A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
(Nor is a 3-generational cord quickly broken!)
Posted in Encouragements for Living, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Meditations and reflections, Michigan's Marvelous Upper Peninsula, Parks
Tagged Brimley State Park, Brimley's Cozy Inn, Ecclesiastes 4:12, Gro Cap, The joy of grandchildren, Waiska River fishing
While the meaning of the Indian name “Tahquamenon” has long been lost, the beauty of these rushing waters never disappears. This is the remote woodland where Longfellow’s Hiawatha crafted his canoeand Ojibway Indians fished. Today, its pristine heritage has been preserved in Tahquamenon State Park amidst 46,000 acres of murmuring pines and hemlocks. * The Tahquamenon River drains a 790-mile watershed, and the water is full of amber-colored tannic acid
from decaying cedar, spruce, and hemlock swamps. As the water churns over the rocks,
the surface becomes as foamy as a root beer float! There are really a half a dozen falls that cascade down the Tahquamenon River on its 94-mile meander to Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay. The “Upper Falls” is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. They are 200 feet wide and drop over 50 feet, roaring under the weight
of as much as 50,000 gallons of water per second in spring. Four miles downstream (there’s a rugged, root-filled path you can follow for some spectacular views), are the “Lower Falls.” (They can also be reached by a short car ride.) The Lower Falls are a series of five smaller falls that flow around a tiny island. You can either take a hike along a lovely boardwalk to view some of the falls, or for a minimal charge you can rent a rowboat from the park concession and experience striking views of all five falls via a circular boardwalk ’round the island. Tahquamenon Falls is beautiful year around
and has been a favorite retreat for Alan and me since we were kids. (Fifty years ago you could walk behind the falls, and I was dreadfully disappointed when they no longer allowed this exciting adventure!) Our oldest, Aaron, scuffed along holding his grandma’s hand when he was learning to walk, and now it’s our turn to pass along the joy. So, on our “Roots Tour” with Jon and Linda,
we made a stop at Tahquamenon with their two little girls. Although most of the sights and sounds were blissfully familiar, I had forgotten just how differently one looks at things when there are little ones to protect. This trip, I was glad for the protective barriers, not sorry for the restrictions. It made me remember that God is our Father, and He knows that throughout our lives, we’ll need restrictions to protect us from tantalizing dangers. Things have changed a lot in the 200 years since Hiawatha roamed free
(—we used to swim here on hot summer days—),
but I need to learn to appreciate boundaries and borders, not buck them!
“The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psalm 16:5-9)
(*The aerial view was taken by the DNR: http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?type=SPRK&id=428)
Posted in Adventures, Beauty Around the World, Bringing up kids, Grandchildren, History, Memoirs, Michigan Beauty and Fun, Michigan's Marvelous Upper Peninsula, Parks
Tagged Accepting restrictions as for our safety, Cougar, Longfellow's Hiawatha, Psalm 16:5-9, puffballs, Tahquamenon Falls, Tannic acid in rivers from cedar swamps, The Land of Haiwatha, Upper Falls and Lower Falls of Tahquamenon, What makes some rivers look brown?
Did you know that Michigan has over 64,000 inland lakes and ponds, and according to Huffington Post Travel“some of the most enchanting waterfalls east of the Mississippi!”? If you ever have a spare week and love waterfalls, I’d like to invite you to explore some of the 200 named waterfalls in Michigan’s beautiful upper peninsula… land of Hiawatha’s legendary wilderness beauty. I think the very best time to visit is in autumn when the maples and birches start to flame with color and mosquitoes are passe. You can google for pictures and directions, and some possibilities for a short list might include Mosquito Falls, Bond Falls, Miners Falls, Sable Falls, Agate Falls, Gorge Falls, Superior Falls, Potawatomi Falls, Laughing Whitefish Falls,
and Wagner Falls (10 of the best which are named, but many aren’t). In addition, I want to share pictures from two “best of the best” that we visited with Jonathan and Linda this summer: Munising and Tahquamenon. Munising Falls is easily accessible from the road and nicely paved and planked. It makes for a short, delightful expedition, even for tykes …even in the rain! We visited on a misty, moisty morning
while the brook was really babbling and the flowers full and glossy! Rain is such a gift. In a nation where the West suffered terrible droughts and Washington State
(Jon and Linda’s home) fought the worst wildfires in 100 years, I thanked the Lord every day for a wet summer
and counted it a privilege to go exploring in the rain!“Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; to satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?”
Truly, the list is too long for one post. I will say that our personal favorite for burgers since childhood has been Clyde’s in the Soo and St. Ignace. Our favorite pasties are from Jean Kay’s in Marquette, although (also in Marquette) Vierling’s white fish luncheon is regal, and the Casa Capri has pretty much divine (or should I say heart-stopping?) pastas (my fav is “lasagna on a cloud”) and garlic bread fried in butter. However, on our roots tour of da Yoop last summer, we had two wee ones along who preferred the hit-and-run method of ingestion (Where did Amé go?), so we hit a lot of grocery stores and ran right out to the camper to eat much of the time. (Where did Amé go??) Still, we did corral the girls a few times, and they were particularly cheerful about Pooh-bearish Elevenses when they included …shall we say… a smackeral of something sweet from a bakery. 🙂 Speaking of bakeries, our favorites are Babycakes in Marquette and Mackinaw Bakery and Tea Company in Mackinaw City. Although all of our restaurant experiences were memorable and fun, one of my favorites this time was our dinner at Tahquamenon Falls’ “Camp 33,” where every last one of us thought our food was exceptionally good. Of course, it took a while to prepare everything, and so there was a lot of “rock, paper, scissors” going on (and other games) to keep the girls occupied, but once the food arrived, both the girls chowed down like there was no tomorrow! On course, Daddy’s food tasted the very best, which makes sense,
since we all know that Father Knows Best…right? I think our heavenly Father knows bests too. He not only knows where to go for great food, He knows just what we need all the time and promises to walk with us throughout our lives, if we’ll just hang on! How about it? Shall we let God drive and trust him to provide great food
…and everything else we need?
“Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
(Isaiah 46:4, NIV)
“There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:9-10).
Posted in Baby Pictures, Bringing up kids, Grandchildren, Life with Toddlers, Michigan's Marvelous Upper Peninsula, Travels in America
Tagged Babycakes Bakery; Mackinaw Bakery and Tea Company, Clyde's; Jean Kay's Pasty Shop; Vierlings, Isaiah 46:4, lasagna on a cloud, paper, Psalm 81:9-10, rock, scissors, Tahquamenon Falls' Camp 33
On our roots tour, Jonathan wanted to show Gerlinde the house where we’d lived in Marquette (Michigan) for several years when he was a young boy. Our home was nestled deep in the woods on 50 acres of land just overlooking the flood plain for the Dead River, and our property ended at the Dead River Falls. There was something very magical about being so intimately connected to nature …even down to the foxes and bears that strolled past our windows…
(although that part was a bit scary). But, I think the wildness
—the haunting sounds of loons calling on our lake at night— and the endless parade of wildflowers, made our Marquette days larger than life in our memories, and in our family lore.So, we couldn’t resist driving in just to catch a glimpse of our home again.
The man who lived there was extremely hospitable and allowed us to look inside, although he apologized for the condition of the house. They have several young kids, and it’s a big property to manage. I was deeply appreciative of his willingness to let us in, but I was (secretly) stunned by how much the house had changed in 20+ years. It made me feel very sad. 😦Conversely, the beautiful birch and maple forest carpeted in ferns seemed somehow untouched, as if in suspended animation. Only Jonathan is a man now, instead of a little boy, and it’s a joy to see him “all grown up” and thriving! 🙂But, I have to say that revisiting our Marquette home made me really nostalgic. The life cycle of woodlands, if left undisturbed from human influence, seems so constant compared to the life cycle in us as humans! We are born, grow up, and die within “the twinkling of an eye”… so long looking forward …but so short looking back! May we be grateful for every day and every memory God gives us. “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God…For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night…So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:1,2,4,12)
Posted in Aging and Retirement Issues, Bringing up kids, Encouragements for Living, Meditations and reflections, Memories, Michigan's Marvelous Upper Peninsula, Thankfulness, Thoughts on God
Tagged 12, 2, 4, Marquette, Michigan; revisiting your old home; the brevity of life; Psalm 90:1