It's Christmas Day and we're due at the Grayling home of my sisters-in-law at half past noon.
I accidentally sleep in late, having forgotten to set the alarm. My husband is on the phone with a friend in Pakistan, but I can't stop to say Merry Christmas because I have 15 minutes to get ready. I take a quick shower, brush my teeth and throw on some clothes, then cut several strings off the spiral scarf a friend in France made me for Christmas, and which just got caught in my brush.
Meanwhile I hear my husband's shower start downstairs. As he pounds back up to the bedroom, now late himself, I pack a cooler with the peppermint-stick ice cream we're taking for dessert. Like a well-oiled machine, he grabs the cooler and the box of gifts we wrapped the night before and heads to the garage to get the car. My coat and boots are too far away, and besides, I'm wearing a heavy sweater, so I slide my feet into some flats near the front door, snag my purse off the entry table and start down the sidewalk to where the car is now waiting.
As we slip and slide through our neighborhood, hit hard by the snowstorm, my husband remembers he forgot to turn off the coffee machine. Back we go the way we came, pushing our way through the pack of dogs eagerly awaiting us at the front door as if we've been gone for hours. As my husband turns off the coffee, we decide another three minutes won't hurt, and start a cappuccino for me. We pour the drinks into thermal cups, check to make sure both machines are off, and hurry back out to the car.
When we get about as far as we made it the first time, I remember I forgot the printout that goes along with one of the gifts, a tin of coffee from a centuries-old luxury delicatessen food store in Munich known for its exceptional kaffee brand. The tin is its signature coffee, made from beans grown and sun-dried on a fourth-generation family farm in Guatemala that produces Cup of Excellence-winning Antigua coffees. Daunting as the thought of having to explain all this is, I decide not to go back for the printout and we finally make it out onto the main road.
About an hour east, we remember that we forgot to get gas, and we're nearing empty. Since our options are limited on Christmas Day and we still have the return trip home, we find a station that's open and fill up. Ten minutes back on the road, we hear a funny noise.
"I think we have a flat tire," my husband says, as he steers the car to the shoulder. He gets out the flimsy jack and spare, then removes the plastic cargo hold floor to lie on while changing the tire. It's cold, and I've left my coat and boots at home, so I wrap a thick wool blanket around my shoulders and stand outside to direct traffic around us.
Almost immediately, a motorist stops to see if we need help. It's a roofer on his way home to Gaylord after a Christmas Eve visit. Soon we're joined by two others, both on their way to Christmas Day celebrations. They're cheerful and happy to help, and insist on staying until the tire is completely changed. Then, as if in some holiday movie, they wave and call, "Merry Christmas" as they climb back into their cars, though they're late for their own family gatherings.
Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa.
It's Christmas Day and we're due at the Grayling home of my sisters-in-law at half past noon.
- News From ... 100 Years Ago: 04/01/2013
- Northern Notes: 02/18/2013
Fee, tax increases vital to fix state roads
Do Michigan's lawmakers have the will to vote for some painful spending that is absolutely necessary if the state has any prayer of being economically competitive in years to come?Continued ...
Northern dynamics in Dem chief race
Of the 32 men and women who have chaired Michigan's two major parties since World War II, not one has been from northern Michigan. No Republican chair has been from north of the Grand Rapids area; no Democrat from north of the Flint area.Continued ...
Phil Power: Distinction between teaching, giving
Gov. Rick Snyder unveiled his proposed state budget for the next two years Feb. 7. If there is a core idea in his $50.9 billion budget message, it's the distinction between investments (teaching people how to fish) and expenditures (giving people a fish.)Continued ...
- Monday, February 11, 2013
James Cook: Complaint over mascots misguided
Forest Area Schools does it right. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights doesn't.Continued ...
- Sunday, February 10, 2013
Loraine Anderson: Wallpaper as 'a manner of travel’
The last time I wallpapered was about 30 years ago. I vowed never to do it again.Continued ...
Ed Hungness: Valentine's Day celebrations haven't changed much
Thursday is Valentine's Day! Only four more days to buy cards, chocolates and flowers for your special Valentine! It's a fun day; an opportunity to show your love for others. The greeting card companies, florists and confectioners also eagerly look forward to this annual observance and its bottom-line contributions.Continued ...
Lessenberry: Detroit continues its self-destructive path
To anyone not steeped in the long, dreary and self-destructive history of racial identity politics in Detroit, it is hard to see their city council's move last week to reject the state's offer to fix up Belle Isle and run it as a state park as other than sheer insanity.Continued ...
Weeks: Some applaud Gov. Snyder, but not Brewer
Those who cherish Outdoor Michigan — including the impact of the Great Lakes on the state's economy and recreation — found much to applaud in Gov. Rick Snyder's budget message last week.Continued ...
- Saturday, February 9, 2013
Adapted in TC: Author, retiree inspiring
One of my childhood friends had her leg amputated last year due to infection. She's new to the area and I've gotten reacquainted with her. She's shared some of the trials of living with limb loss.Continued ...
Perspectives: Never too old to play
It doesn't matter if you're a child or a child-like adult, though, because you can play the bear or the hunter with abandon. A few nights ago, we invited our longtime friends and their grandsons (and parents) to come for hot dogs and corn on the cob.Continued ...
- Thursday, February 7, 2013
Amish Cook: Winter travel can be scary
I think a lot more about accidents since the tragedy that took the life of two of my cousins two weeks ago. Joe will take off work to go with us, which I am glad for. Days like that can be more stressful than being at home working.Continued ...
- Monday, February 4, 2013
Northern Notes: TC resident thanks kind stranger for lunch
Eunice Groesser, of Traverse City, was having lunch at the State Street Grille on Jan. 17, when a nice young lady named Angie came over and offered to buy her lunch. Eunice told Angie it wasn’t necessary, but if she really wanted to she could.Continued ...
- Sunday, February 3, 2013
Lessenberry: The future of the fairgrounds
Back in 1849, when Zachary Taylor was president and Michigan had been a state for barely a dozen years, the state's farmers and merchants held the first state fair in Detroit. The fair moved around for a while, till 1905, when Joseph L. Hudson, founder of the state's iconic department store chain, bought some land on Woodward Avenue, near the city's northern border.Continued ...
Garret Leiva: Snow: pretty? Or pretty annoying?
So far this winter is more bipolar than arctic polar: Frigid and flurries one day; 50 and foggy the next.Continued ...
George Weeks: Michigan's high-profile players on Capitol Hill
As Chairman Carl Levin presided last week over the contentious Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on confirmation of ex-Sen. Chuck Hagel to be the next U.S. Defense Secretary, I was struck by how much Michigan's congressional delegation is now on the front lines of major foreign and domestic issues facing the nation.Continued ...
Fleda Brown: When poetry connects with the natural world
I've seen many deer crossing the road in the evening or feeding in the fields near our cottage, but I rarely see a buck with a big rack.Continued ...
- Saturday, February 2, 2013
Senior Focus: Family snowman-building event
The Senior Center Network and Compassionate Care Home Health Services are sponsoring a family snowman-building contest on Feb. 16 at the Traverse City Senior Center.Continued ...
- Monday, January 28, 2013
Northern Notes: 'Yarn Fairy’ donations
Members of the Prayer Shawl Ministry at Grace Episcopal Church would like to thank the “Yarn Fairy” who dropped off bags of yarn at the church before Christmas.Continued ...
- Sunday, January 27, 2013
Jack Lessenberry: GOP trying to alter the electoral landscape
Twelve years ago, the nation was bitterly divided over a presidential election that in the end was decided by what many called an outrageously partisan U.S. Supreme Court.Continued ...
Kathy Gibbons: The job that keeps on giving
There is nothing like having your children not only through college, but gainfully employed.Continued ...
George Weeks: Political rivals have common cause on vets
In 2010, Upper Peninsula surgeon Dan Benishek and longtime state lawmaker Jason Allen of Traverse City had a fierce battle for the Republican nomination for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee. Benishek won by just 15 votes out of nearly 99,000 cast.Continued ...
Ed Hungness: Uncle Bob Says: Save your pennies!
In late December, I made a trip to Chicago for a belated family Christmas celebration.Continued ...
- Thursday, January 24, 2013
Dennis Chase: Manville has young Panther team rolling
When you call Reggie Manville and ask if he has a couple minutes, he responds, "I'm retired."Continued ...