TRAVERSE CITY — The assistant to the assistant went from one station to another in the library at Trinity Lutheran School.

Road Trip is a monthly travel series by northern Michigan journalists Dave and Jeanne Barber. The series takes regional readers on easy, one-day road trips to visit Michigan museums, parks, nature sites, businesses and festivals, including many of the state's “hidden gems.”

The streets of London were so filthy in the early and mid 19th century that those who could afford it paid others — mostly children — to walk in front of them and sweep the streets clean as they crossed them.

It’s late morning. A foot of snow has fallen overnight. The only vehicles on the road are the snowplows. I see that my newly installed mailbox post has so far withstood the first serious snowplow assault of the season.

There has resided a demon inside of me since adolescence. It told me that I was the only one. It told me to suffer and let the despair and agony smolder inside me till the end. I was alone on a planet with millions.

TRAVERSE CITY — Shaped from dance, inspired by architecture and forged in motherhood, interdisciplinary artist Jen Sperry Steinorth published her first book of poems this fall.

Halloween, with its images of witches on broomsticks, has come and gone. That image, which for the most part is no longer taken seriously, nonetheless stirs thoughts about the ongoing tension between science based on verifiable fact and deeply held beliefs of a reality beyond science’s reach.

Every year I’m looking for a good Thanksgiving poem for November. I picked Ellen Bass’s “Grizzly” because I can’t think of a better way to be grateful than to actually see what we have, to love it by appreciating it closely.

TRAVERSE CITY — Many people can trace their ancestry back at least a few generations. David Smith can trace his even farther — to the 1860s.

I’m on my lawn tractor cutting the grass on the property behind my house. The tractor is a serious machine, with a 48-inch deck and weighted rear wheels to help provide traction on the hills that my property provides to make this chore more interesting.

To say I had a bit of a competitive streak growing up is probably an understatement — and maybe a little misleading as well.

Earlier this year, in this column, I spun a little story that included a sentence or two about a random person I know who talks a lot. The gist of what I said was that I have nothing against the things they say, but sometimes I wish that they’d say less and leave me to enjoy the quiet from t…

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Editor’s note: This is the second installment Kathy Bussell’s story. The first focused on her re-occurring battle with breast cancer; the second on how to pay for treatment.

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