Good things come in surprise packages

Posted on March 30, 2012

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First came a call from Betty Beeby. She had some books to donate to the Wilkinson Museum. Would I like to come over and inventory them for the museum’s collection? Well yes I would. Any opportunity to paw through Betty’s stash of Eastport Stuff is bound to lead to adventure. One of the books she was donating was this 1898 travel guide.

I suspect many of you noticed the misused apostrophe. Mr. Inglis was no grammarian. Of course, it’s possible he observed hundreds of cottage signs with misused apostrophes and got so used to it he forgot how language worked. On the other hand, he had some odd ideas about northern Michigan, even in the context of 1898.

Take the Clam Lake route indeed.  What was he thinking?  Some of his advice to “Traveler’s” was spot on, though:

While the journey [from Elk Rapids to Charlevoix] may be readily made, the road can not be be called first class and the bicyclist must be prepared to do some hard riding.

He would be gratified to learn that Torch Lake Township is putting a road millage on the ballot in August.  I’m having fun thinking about taking a train from Bellaire to Petoskey.  Thank you Betty.

The next surprise package came from Kathy Drue of Lake Superior Spirit. She was doing a little spring cleaning. She had a box of books that needed to go to a good home.  This scenario is familiar to everyone who has ever adopted a Free Kitten from a box supervised by a big-eyed waif at the local farm market.  In due course, my kitten arrived.

Johann Georg Kohl was one of those 19th Century travelers (no apostrophe) who came to North America for our exotic wildness and left us a useful record that sometimes tells us more about the Old World than the New. He was a contemporary of the oldest of my Civil War veterans, and arrived here before them.  His Kitchi-Gami is an extraordinarily detailed view of Ojibway culture in the 1850s.  Whenever I pick it up, I wonder if the Harringtons, for example, might have read it before they left New York.  Thank you Kathy.

Then this afternoon the brown UPS van stopped out on the road with a cheery beep-beep.  I trotted out to the deck all ready to call out directions to someone else’s house. But the package was for me. I forgot!  Scott Thomas had sent me a book.  Earlier this month I was one of the readers of his Views Infinitum blog to do the Abstract Photography assignment–and I won a prize.

I love saying that. I won a prize. OK, so the prize was awarded in a random drawing, but still . . . I won. And it was a nice prize, too, looky here.

Thanks Scott!  Brenda Tharp’s Creative Nature & Outdoor Photography is beautiful to look at, instructive to read, and inspiring to ponder. It has become the basis for one of my Summer Adventure Plans. There are ten chapters in the book. I figure if I study one chapter each week and put it to work, I am bound to learn a couple or three things. To give myself another incentive to do my homework, I thought I would add an Environmental Component. Each week’s practice will be conducted in a different nature preserve or park. That should give me some excellent blog fodder. I don’t see how we can go wrong.

Unless, of course, we have Technical Difficulties.  This is not the way my modem is supposed to look.  No indeed.  All those little lights are supposed to be lit.

There was much bad language and gnashing of teeth at the Writing Studio and Bait Shop today as first the system went dark entirely and then when that was fixed the little modem cycled and recycled without reaching a climatic light display. All is well now, but we are having a Consultant out on Monday to investigate a splitter that may or may not be involved.

It’s always something, isn’t it?  But sometimes it’s something good, so that’s all right then.

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