Excellent treats for the mind

Posted on September 13, 2011

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I don’t usually wish I could be 18 again. I remember too well all the hard lessons that lay in store for me. (I just wish my body could be 18 again. That’s the ticket.) The next best thing, it turns out, is to spend a day wandering around a college campus in early September.

On Monday I headed to the Osterlin Library at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Civil War veterans in tow.  Helpful librarians set me up at a nice microfilm reader and directed me to the wall of filing cabinets I’d come to plunder.  Inside were rolls and rolls of microfilm of old Antrim County newspapers. The Elk Rapids Progress. The Bellaire Independent. The Central Lake Torch.  Catnip to me.  I went looking for Dan Blakely’s 1908 obituary–found it, too–but I suspect you’ll be more interested in things I learned on my way to looking up something else.

First of all, in 1908 the postal service could be depended upon to protect you from pesky tax and water bills. (Does Sharon Schultz know about this?)

Elk Rapids Progress, November 19, 1908

On the other hand, it was also determined to protect you from felonious card parties.  Isn’t historical perspective fun?

Elk Rapids Progress, December 17, 1908

The main thing I learned, though, is that I’ve missed a lot by driving through the campus. This time I strolled from the library to the Dennos Museum, taking the time to explore the outdoor sculpture up close.

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I was tempted to make a whole slideshow out of David Barr’s Synergy, but it’s awfully hard to photograph. I recommend you go see it for yourself.  If you are from Away, you will have to content yourselves with the Outdoor Sculpture Tour on the Dennos website for in-depth discussion.

We’ve visited the Dennos together before, so I won’t show you the Inuit art and the polar bear and the musk ox this time.  But I’m going back there on Friday for the preview of Art and the Animal 2011, the annual members exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, and you may be sure I’ll tell you all about that.

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