The Little Room

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A Grady County Sunset

Oh, Lord, thou has searched me, and known me. Psalm 139:1

The Little Room of my childhood home, Stone Gables, was a portion of attic tucked under a sloping roof but accessible from the bedroom we called the East Room. Mamma called it her unsightly corner and kept a thin curtain over the opening, not only to cover her storage but also to hide an area of stone wall Daddy had roughed in but not finished when he was building the house. Though the entrance was low, there was plenty of space in the Little Room for my sister Suzanne and me and little nieces to play and we didn’t mind the storage boxes or the unfinished corner. In fact, we used both as part of our dolls’ world.

We made paper dolls from Sears and Ward’s catalogs, rows and rows of them. We built pasteboard box houses and cut out paper trees. Sometimes our dolls were in boarding school getting into mischief. Other times they were visiting each other’s houses having tea parties. Either way, the floor was scattered with our treasures, whether a whole village or only a campus. Our dolls all had names and personalities and they certainly didn’t want to be boxed up at the end of each playful day.

Mamma sometimes mildly scolded us for the mess we were making but then, as a mother of ten, she couldn’t be an active perfectionist. So usually as long as our tacky disorder was covered by the curtain she didn’t mind. But one day our untidiness was suddenly exposed to a special guest and Mamma’s embarrassment was keen.

Mrs. Eastham was from Virginia, a fact which meant to Mamma that she was part of the elite and elegant Old South, not someone who would cook turnip greens and fatback, as we did in Georgia, but who would wear white lace gloves while sipping mint tea. She wore beautiful dresses and always smelled delightful. Just watching her eat in her dainty manner was an experience. Mamma had warned us before she came to be on our very best behavior for Mrs. Eastham who was not only a friend but also our sister Jackie’s mother-in-law.

We didn’t play in the Little Room after Mrs. Eastham arrived. She occupied the East Room and we would have had to troop or sneak through her room to get to our treasures. The curtain stayed neatly closed every day. Until one day when several of us followed Mamma into the East Room to give our guest fresh linens. Our young niece decided to give Mrs. Eastham a closer look at her surroundings. Little Emily swept back the curtain and said proudly, “And this is our playroom.”

The sunlight reached every dark corner of that little unfinished attic room. Our wonderful paper village, our limp paper dolls fallen this way and that, a cracker box doll-size divan, an oatmeal box cradle, all became trash before our eyes. We’d never noticed before that one of Mamma’s storage boxes was sagging and split, even showing some of its contents because we had used it as a nice little seat. The whole place was quite a mess! Even the dust motes we usually playfully tried to catch were suddenly not so pretty. We saw our magical place through the eyes of Mrs. Eastham and our faces turned crimson. Mamma literally gasped as she snatched the curtain back in place.

We looked to see how Mrs. Eastham would react.

She smiled with beautiful enthusiasm as she exclaimed, “Oh, what a lovely, cozy spot! May I play, too?”

Mamma gently urged Mrs. Eastham to come downstairs for some fresh peach cobbler.

Suzanne and I looked at each other and grinned with a measure of deep relief. We had been “searched and known” and–we were still loved!

I think of that exposed, messy corner as I consider this first verse of Psalm 139. I have corners in my life that become messy, quite messy. Resentments build up. Jealousy stirs. “Why” questions spring up as difficulties get worse rather than better. My thoughts stray away from Jesus and turn to dismal possibilities. I’m selfish, rude, and unkind when I want to be just the opposite. All these feelings and thoughts could be compared to the untidy boxes and bits of paper or stacks of storage boxes in our Little Room. And–oh yes!–I have a lot of unfinished territory in my life.

Yet–God knows all this and loves me still! And if you have a messy “Little Room,” He loves you too. Will He just close the curtain on it or help us clean it up?

Lord, please forgive me for the mess I know you find in my life. Thank you that with your forgiveness comes also your perfect kindness in restoring me to a right relationship and setting my life in order.

 

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Mushroom Houses

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One of the mushroom houses designed and built by Earl Young

 

They look like hobbit houses straight out of J.R.R.Tolkien’s novels. There are twenty-six of these mushroom or gnome houses as well as four commercial structures in Charlevoix, Michigan. Descriptions like “cute,” “weird,” “charming,” and certainly “unique” all come to mind when one finds these buildings on otherwise typical down home streets.

It was a cold drizzly day in May when we started out to find the mushroom houses. Our hotel’s concierge had told us very little except that these unusual houses were worth the hunt. GPS indicated Park Avenue as a mushroom house address so we found that street and started looking, not even sure what we were looking for. Mushroom houses? Initially, I could imagine a museum lined with glass cabinet displays of tiny houses made like Cesar, boleta and button fungi. But since we were told that, because they were occupied, we wouldn’t be permitted to go inside any of them, I had adjusted my expectation.

The first one we found was so obviously a mushroom house: rippled roof, chimney of large irregular stones, and an oddly shortened door. All that was missing was Bilbo Baggins popping out! The more we explored, the more houses we found and the more interested we became. Who was this man who designed and built these strange houses and for whom a beautiful park was named?

His name, we learned, was Earl Young. He moved with his family to Charlevoix when he was eleven and never left the area except to study one year at the University of Michigan’s School of Architecture. He studied diligently on his own after that year, being somewhat of an eccentric and preferring his own ideas rather than to follow Greek or Victorian or some other style. He was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. That influence did not present itself in his designs but in his adoption of the philosophy that “buildings should respect their surroundings.” He didn’t cut trees down but fitted houses amongst them. His passion for the natural also led Young to build with boulders.

He was in the right location to find boulders on and near the shore of Lake Michigan. Some boulders were very large. It seems he was always on the lookout for rocks, stones, and boulders with which to build. He was known to “stake them out” or dig them up and to hide them in the lake for future use. That couldn’t have been an easy task. One boulder he used in building Weathervane Inn weighed 18,260 pounds or nine short tons.

No one seemed to mind our pulling in front of these houses and taking all the pictures we wanted to. In fact, I guess they’re quite used to it. Later we learned that at least four of the 26 houses are rented to vacationers. On Google I even had the chance to see the interiors of one or two—charming, fun, but not very practical. The kitchens are often described as “like narrow hallways.” The short doors are a problem to some as are the oddly shaped rooms. But, all the same, they are quite lovely with wonderful windows, cozy corners and fireplaces. Young’s houses have earned fairly the description of “whimsical architecture at its best.”

This architect wanted to create character in his town and that he did. He started out as a photographer, an interest he continued to pursue. In his family’s business he was a realtor, insurance agent, and also at times sold bread. He wasn’t known for his practicality and might have failed at business had it not been for his levelheaded wife Irene and his very astute mother. He was one of those fortunate people who knew his dream, stuck to it, and had the support of those around him.

I think the rippled roofs may be the most distinct and charming feature of the mushroom houses. Some are less rippled, others made me smile, they were so funny. Always it was the roof that sealed the identity of a structure. Young is quoted as saying he “built the roofs first, then shoved the houses under them.”

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The Thatch House

Names and/or descriptions of some of Young’s houses are: The Owl House (has two round windows like eyes either side of the front door); The Enchanted Cottage; The Pagoda House (influenced by Asian culture); Boulder Manor; Abide; and Tide Beside Abide (name shortened to Betide). The Hatch House is the one which most intrigued us but, ironically, it was not solely designed by Young. Its thatched roof along with other major renovations were accomplished as recently as 2015 by a South African architect named Mike Seitz. He learned that Young really wanted to make a thatched roof but never was able to do it. So Mr. Seitz re-designed this house with thatch brought from the Netherlands. I read that this, Young’s first house, is the only one that had a blueprint and that Young was dissatisfied because his ideas weren’t entirely adhered to by his workmen. Ever after, he made drawings in the sand for his builders to follow, or so the story goes.

Earl Young died in 1975 at the age of eighty-six. He fulfilled his desire to give Charlevoix a distinct character.

I remember all the houses looking comfortable and peaceful whether facing the lake, snuggled against a hillside, or tucked in amongst tall trees. I’m sure the maintenance requires a lot of gold. But I’m glad someone is doing it so folks like us can ride by and see the mushroom houses of Charlevoix, Michigan.

Visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour with instructions and directions. You can go online to http://www.mushroomhousetours.com to learn more. And while you’re about it, check on the possibility of renting one of those houses for a week or two!

 

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Cat Tales

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Sassy enjoying a nap on a garden bench

Today I’m writing about a few feline friends, not about the gangly stalk that grows near the water and has a fuzzy long brown tip on it, called a cat tail. No, this is about cats of many different colors and designs and various personalities.

When Jane recently lost her honey colored cat named Tabby I was reminded of the inevitable heartaches pet owners face. It is certainly better to “love and lose” than “never to love at all.” But it hurts.

Our line of cats started with Fussy, a mixed gray stray who moved with us one very hot June day from Athens to Cairo, Georgia. She didn’t like the move one bit. We had borrowed Papa’s pickup to move in and Fussy hid within the seat somehow. Yes, I said within. It was hours after our arrival when we finally pried her out of there. But she loved her new, much larger place, a place where she could go outside. She loved it, that is, until our baby was born. She was no longer number one and she knew it. Not long after that she was run over and killed. The whole neighborhood mourned with me.

Misty was a soft gray Persian cross. She had some dignity about her and a deep love for life’s little comforts. But she was cruel to the bird population. Almost every day in season she caught a mockingbird and left only a small fluff of feathers as evidence. She knew how to make herself at home in a rocking chair but minded her manners when it came to food on the table. She knew her boundaries. And Misty never died. On record, she still after forty years hasn’t died. But we lost her. She leaped from Charles’ truck on the way home from getting her shots and we never found her. It may seem the better way to lose a pet but you never stop wondering what happened to them.

Then there was Tigger and after him Toby, or Ybot as he came to be known. William and his friends turned his name backwards to irritate Julie and the name stuck. Ybot was a fun, good natured cat but very naughty. He never learned his manners. He would help himself to any food no matter whether it was on the table, the top of the refrigerator, or already on someone’s plate. He wasn’t picky at all. He liked tomatoes, a stick of butter, okra and potato salad. A sealed loaf of bread was not safe from Ybot. The day he was hit by a car Julie and I both cried for hours. I said that was it for cats. I just couldn’t take the trauma again. But, of course, it doesn’t work that way.

I transported a cat three hundred miles to become a companion to my mother. Marbles was a beauty of “marbled” gold, cream and brown. She was a trial on the trip because she was so smart she could work her way out of her crate no matter how I fastened it. But we both survived and she became a much-loved member of Mamma’s household. She spent many hours lying in Mamma’s comfortable lap under her book or crochet work but found time also to annihilate the mouse population. We all loved Marbles. Ironically, Mamma was at my house when she got a call from my sister informing her gently that Marbles had died.

Juanita and Angela Jordan have taken such cute pictures of some of their many cats. But what I remember most vividly is Juanita’s care of two very elderly cats. She said she was running a feline geriatric ward. Those two cats died within months of each other at the ripe old age of twenty-two years.

We’ve had a long line of resident cats at Cairo Animal Hospital. They are only paid by having free room and board but have important jobs: welcoming shy new visitors, catching an occasional mouse, allowing children under supervision to play with them and just making the hospital feel like home. The most memorable of the hospital cats might be Singey. That’s “singe” with a y on the end. She got her name because of the circumstances under which she arrived at the hospital.

The goldy yellow cat was brought in while in great trauma by a man who had been burning a large brush pile. The cat’s face was blackened, her ears were burned to nubs, her whole body singed. The man said he had no idea a cat was hiding in the brush heap when he lit it. Next thing he knew there was a streak of fire and a chilling cry as that cat ran out.

Singey became a vital part of the Cairo Animal Hospital staff. With loving treatment over many months she did heal. She had no eyelids which gave her sort of a spooky look along with her cropped ears. But she didn’t let her injuries cause her to be bitter. She was a sweet companionable cat. In fact, one family was so drawn to her, they pleaded with the staff to let them adopt her. When she ran away from her new home it seemed she was gone for good. Than another “Good Samaritan” brought her to the hospital where, of course, she was immediately recognized. The techs then declared they’d never let her go again. So she enjoyed a long good life with many visitors asking to “see Singey.”

I had occasion not long ago to ride with Charles on a farm call. He knew I love that farm family and would enjoy seeing them for a few minutes while he did his job. The teenage daughter showed me her fifteen cats. They have a wonderful life in the barn where, as you can imagine, there are no longer any mice. The cats have such interesting designs and colors–gray striped, calico, solid black, mixed grays, tortoise shell. This young lady saves her dollars so she can take each of her loved cats to the vet and keep them healthy. She knows them all by name, knows which ones don’t like to be touched, which ones are jealous, etc. It was fun seeing all her cats, although I’m quite happy with only two.

When we started out from our driveway the other day we heard a plaintive kitten’s meow. Our two cats are prone to hop in the car when they find an open door. But that meow didn’t sound like either of them. Upon investigation, which involved getting down on the pavement with our old knees trying to see that little cat, we finally found him under the hood. Charles got hold of him for only a minute. We would have tried to place him but he was gone in a flash of orange fur and prickles.

Our own two cats, Sassy and Cramer, live a very enviable life with all the luxuries a cat could ever want: plenty of food and water, more veterinarian attention than they want, lots of comfy places to curl up in, room to roam. Sassy occasionally catches a lizard but only slightly threatens the daring mockingbirds. Cramer feels no compulsion to any unnecessary action but is content to be a lazy cat. They both purr and enjoy a good petting, will patiently allow attention from the children–only when they’re in the mood.

When all is said and done, thank God for all pets. Life would be so dull without them!

 

 

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Home, Sweet Home

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Inca lilies were abundant this year

Traveling is great fun. But enjoying our own yard, or garden as our British friends call it, is a great joy too. Right now a mockingbird is trilling through an amazing repertoire of all kinds of sounds and songs. Day lilies are fading, have more spent blooms than buds, but are still beautiful. Hydrangeas, both blue and oak, are blooming nicely after some severe trimming and replanting. Pink blossoms are appearing on the crepe myrtle, the yellow lantana are well started on their summer show, and a little wren has built a cozy nest in the Green Barn.

We’re picking enough blueberries from our three-year-old bushes to enjoy on our cereal every morning. They’re all rabbit eye blueberry bushes but are different varieties, some ripening slower than others. We’re hoping for a long blueberry season, though this year it looks as if there won’t be enough for a pie. Charles has worked diligently and patiently on these bushes and we have high hopes.

The knockout roses are so pretty along the front porch with its iron railing and also around the flagpole where the American and Georgia flags are furled. Also, two hibiscus bushes by the front steps are putting forth new blossoms every day, some yellow, some red.

Thomas Tree Service came last week to take down the big pine tree in front of the house, the tree whose whole top was wrenched off by the recent tornado. Already there were several open spaces left in the last two years by big trees lost to hurricanes, lightning, and beetles.

The magnolia trees are blooming. Their huge elegant white blossoms shine out from the glossy green foliage and scent the air with a nutty spicy sweetness.

We’re not sure that many of the citrus trees are going to be fruitful this year. Their foliage is healthy and pretty but right now only the kumquats are blooming. We remind ourselves, though, that the satsumas, oranges, and lemons can be very slow and then surprise us.

The bamboo is a thick guard around a good portion of our boundary. We love the way the whole line of them sways in a breeze reminding us of ocean waves. One big clump was bent over in one of the storms but it helps form a cave behind the Green Barn where wee beasties can hide. And, yes, the bamboo needs cutting back often but it shields us from the noise of Highway 84 and makes a nice buffer so we and our neighbors have privacy.

Hummingbirds are back but still scarce at our feeders. The songbirds and chippers are abundant–cardinals, titmouse, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, blue jays, and an occasional bright flicker. The mourning doves, too, come to eat and, especially, to splash in the bird baths at the front and the back. Bluebirds and brown thrashers enjoy a cool bath, too.

Along the wooden side fence the two-year-old red top shrubs have settled in, claiming their place. We miss the big oak trees we had to take down but the openness they left behind is really nice. Thanks to Charles’ sprigging, the grass has filled in the bare places and there’s more room on the lawn–the children’s outdoor stage–for playing ball, doing tricks, and just running.

There’s an openness, too, inside the sweep of circular driveway. Charles and Ulysses cut the azaleas back severely. Now we can see the children as they round the curve on their bikes.

Sitting on our back porch listening to songs of birds, the rattle of dry brittle magnolia leaves whisking across the driveway, and, in the evening, watching the fireflies come out–that’s all so good!

Thank You, Lord, for home, sweet home!

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This Same Jesus

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This is a devotional concerning Jesus the day He left and how he may come back. The same Jesus Who fed the multitudes, made the blind to see, and calmed the storm left His disciples standing on a mountain as He disappeared into a cloud. This cloud pictured above was over our house one day and I grabbed my camera, nothing to compare with what is to come but, all the same, “breathtaking”!!! I took this picture when our roof was in disrepair from a storm. We may be in “disrepair,” too, but He will still come!

Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:1

It had to be breathtaking. He was there talking to them and then He lifted off the ground and rose before their eyes disappearing into a cloud. These men of Galilee had already had their breath taken away over and over just in the last forty days. The empty tomb. Jesus fully restored, scars in hands and feet. Jesus appearing through a closed door. Jesus at the seashore making breakfast. Now Jesus gives them last instructions–and disappears into a cloud!

They stared upward, shading their eyes, still trying to catch a glimpse of His robe, his scarred feet. This man Jesus had eaten with them, slept with them, walked long miles with them, and talked long hours, wept and laughed with them. Even knowing now that He is the Son of God, the resurrected Savior, they can’t fathom how it has come to this–that He can just leave them all standing up on this hill.

Can you imagine the stillness? “Jesus blessed them,” Luke says, “and while He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven.” I imagine there was no sound after His dear voice faded away.

But then–“two men dressed in white stood beside them.” Before those trembling disciples even had time to take in what has happened, before the shock set in, there were messengers straight from the Lord Himself. Later they will remember and try to follow Jesus’ every instruction, to be His witnesses around the world, but right now they need comforting. Right now they need to know this one big wonderful fact: Jesus will come back the same way He left. They don’t know when but they know He will return.

The same is true for us today. We don’t know when. But we know He is coming. And because of that don’t we, too, need to follow His instructions to be witnesses? Have you yet imagined what it may be like when He comes down through the clouds “the same way” He left? “The dead in Christ will rise first,” according to Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16, and then those believers who are still alive will be “caught up with them in the clouds.” (17) We don’t know which of those groups we’ll be in, the dead in Christ, or those still alive, but if we’ve trusted in Jesus and Him alone to save us, we will be in one of those groups. Wow! Talk about breathtaking!

Lord, I look forward to That Day!

 

 

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Tulips and An Old Windmill

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You don’t have to go to the Netherlands to see a working windmill….

Holland, Michigan is a small town that has become famous nationwide for its beautiful tulips. Growing lavish displays of tulips each year is a community effort. I’d love to be there when everyone is out taking up the bulbs at the end of a season or putting them back in. But we were there during blooming time and what could really be any better than that? In certain areas, such as Windmill Garden Island and Tulip Lane, there are so many red, pink, yellow, peach, orange, and blue tulips, as well as variegated blooms, one simply has to gasp at the sight.

But, then, we were expecting to see bright tulips. We had read about them and decided to include Holland in our trip. What we hadn’t expected was the wonderful opportunity of climbing to four of the five levels in the oldest working windmill in the U.S., two hundred and fifty-one, in fact, and itself an immigrant.

Holland is not as old as de Zwaan (The Swan) Windmill.

Holland, Michigan, was settled, not surprisingly, by the Dutch in 1847. Dutch Calvinist separatists led by Dr. Albertus van Raalte left the Netherlands hunting a better life and freedom. Harsh conditions confronted them but they were hardy and persistent. They wouldn’t give up though snow banked their houses, there was little to eat, and illnesses bombarded them. The fact that now there are two five-generation businesses in town as well as several four-generation establishments speaks of the tenacity and grit of these Hollanders. They are proud of their history as U.S. citizens but also proud of their roots in the Netherlands.

Their pride in their roots, I think, led them to aspire to bring a working windmill from the Netherlands to Holland, Michigan in 1964.

It wasn’t easy. The Netherlands had relatively few windmills left, largely because of World War II. The government had made a decision not to let any more be taken for any reason. But requests from Michigan citizens Carter Brown and Willard Wickers finally persuaded them to let de Zwaan Windmill go to Holland, Michigan. There were two promises, though, to be kept. One of their own millers should be allowed to spend six months setting it up and teaching a miller how to operate it in its new location, and it was to remain a working windmill open to the public. Of course it cost money, too, about $450,000. Dick Medendorf, a third generation miller and millwright, was the one who supervised the move. It was transported in 7,000 pieces and reassembled on a base constructed for it on what is now Windmill Garden Island.

All this and more we learned from a wonderful costumed lady guide who led us up to the fourth of five levels explaining the history and working of the windmill as she went. She even showed us how the huge millstones, powered by wind, could be set to produce different types of flour and meal from hefty bags of grain hoisted by pulleys up through the center of the mill to the top level where they would be fed into the gristmill. She also showed us how the gears could be reset periodically to receive the current wind for the most productivity. And she told us about Alisa Crawford, the resident miller, the first and only woman in the world to be Dutch-certified as a miller.

Alisa, even at thirteen, was “turned on” to the excitement of history. Degrees in history later she became so interested in the history of Holland that she wanted to be a part of passing it on. She also loved grinding wheat into flour. Realizing that as a miller she could demonstrate history and keep it alive, she determined she would go to the Netherlands and take the two year study to become Dutch-certified. Now she is working daily with her two loves, history and milling. I am so interested in this young lady who chooses to live in the past, that I plan to do another blog on her alone. Anyone who wakes up every morning listening to the wind to know how her day will go has to be interesting!

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Tulip time in Holland, Michigan

From the top of the 125-foot windmill we looked down on acres of tulips, on townspeople setting up tents for the beginning of the tulip festival the next day, and on the lake and river surrounding this Windmill Island.

Before we left the town of Holland, we ate lunch at the Windmill Restaurant and drove down Tulip Lane. We tried unsuccessfully to find some flour ground at de Zwaan. It would be on sale the next day, we were told.

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Petoskey Stones

 

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The beautiful cold shore of Lake Michigan

I probably would not have known to look for Petoskey stones had Sally Whitfield not told me about them and shown me a picture before we left for Michigan. Our first stop in Michigan was at Charles’ brother Ronnie’s in Adrian. His wife, Diane, learning of my interest in these unusual stones, plucked one from her collection to show me. It was a wonderful brown freckled stone reminding me of a special hen’s egg.

Charles, his sister Revonda, and I arrived in Boyne Falls, Michigan on Friday, April 26. On Saturday we started out to discover Petoskey, a lakeshore town twenty miles away. Hopefully, we might even find at least one Petoskey stone.

We laugh at my sister Jackie for describing the weather as “bitterly cold.” To her, it’s never just cold, it’s bitterly cold. But, believe me, that day in Petoskey, April 27, was bitterly cold. We were wearing double layers, but still not enough since we couldn’t believe it would be that cold. We did have on hats and scarves and Revonda had her gloves. I’d forgotten mine. The wind whipped us in the face like a horse’s tail as we scrambled from the car to see what we could see. Since cruising along the lakeshore had not revealed to us any good place to walk on the beach, and since it was so cold, we decided to browse in the gift stores in the quaint little town.

In “Grandpa Shorty’s” we found Petoskey stones. They had both polished and “raw” stones from the sixty-mile stretch of Lake Michigan’s shore where, particularly after the spring thaw, they can be found. We learned they are fossilized coral, some striped almost like swirled chocolate candy, others spotted like leopards. We were told that, were you to crack one open you would find where multiple creatures had lived inside. These are thought to be remnants of a time when that part of the world was under ocean water.

Yes, I bought some. This might be my only chance. I left the shop feeling smugly rich with my little bag of stones. But that wasn’t the end of our search for Petoskey stones.

As we drove around discovering more of the little town we found a stretch of beach in a park where we could actually walk on the rocky shore. Charles gallantly offered to let Revonda and me walk while he drove to the other end of the cove. Was he just being gallant or did he want to stay cozy in the car? We didn’t care, we were so delighted to get down to the shore.

It was still bitterly cold. Our layers of sweaters and coats felt like nothing in the biting wind. But we found such interesting stones worn smooth as silk by years of tumbling water. We weren’t finding Petoskey stones but we kept looking for them, like teenagers hunting a four leaf clover.

Clutching our stones in icy hands, exclaiming over one shaped like a shoe sole and another like a goose egg, we were shivering in the cold and heading for that warm car when, suddenly, I spied it.

A stone the size of a fat baked potato sat conveniently on a boulder near the water’s edge. It had the sure design of a Petoskey stone, the pattern of shaded spots like the back of some kind of turtle. I picked it up, looked around to see if someone were coming back for it, and then walked on feeling as if I’d just won the million dollar sweepstakes. I didn’t even offer to draw straws with Revonda over it. Actually, I think she may have been glad not to be the one hauling it out of there. It was pretty heavy.

Late that afternoon, back at our hotel, we all three enjoyed a luxuriating soak in a bubbling hot tub. The snowy slopes behind our hotel were fascinating but these South Georgia tourists were unashamedly wimps when it came to temperatures of “37, feels like 26.”

Of course we were ready the next morning for another adventure with added layers and good scarves and gloves.

For the rest of our journey a box of stones had to fit amongst the luggage.

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My Petoskey stone

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