Tag Archives: swimming

Springtime, Fox Lake

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march2016 128It may have been simply my own feelings of sadness, in anticipation of leaving my little dog for a week, but I thought Rosa Parks looked downright depressed on Sunday.

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Though it was chilly, I suggested a walk. Rosa loves the idea of a walk. She leaps from her bed at the suggestion, bounds to the door and leaps into the yard. However, this time of year, her allergies to almost every growing thing are at their worst. Though she’s on daily medicine to suppress the symptoms, as soon as we near the end of the driveway, she starts shaking and scratching her ears. Sometimes she pushes through, though later her red ears and watery eyes inform me that it’s not easy for her. Most spring days, she sits down, and refuses to go on.

When that happened Sunday, we got in the car, instead.  The snow has melted and the roads are in pretty good shape. After this mild winter, we aren’t dealing with two feet of mud or flooding issues this spring. We would go have a look at Fox Lake!

The landscape had changed over the winter. Many birch trees have fallen; undergrowth is higher than I remember it; the second drive in was overgrown with brambles. I twice drove past the drive down to the lake! I, who visit it two or three times a week, in season! When I finally found the drive, I was still in doubt. I didn’t want to pull in and perhaps find myself unable to turn around to get back out. I parked at the mouth of the drive and we walked.

Rosa Parks recognized right away that we were in the right place. These are her old stomping grounds! Her allergies don’t seem to aggravate her near the water. Fresh smells are everywhere. She set off ahead of me, madly wagging her tail.

She checked around the latrines, then sniffed around the stone-bordered campfire site and the picnic table. She examined the shoreline for anything that might have washed up. She peeked under every upturned boat. We followed the noise of ducks and geese, along the trail as far as possible, then through the trees and brush to the hidden, shallow arm of the lake, to see where the birds were swimming. On the way back, Rosa tested the water herself. It was a good day.

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Life at Corner #16

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Kate and Jen, coloring Easter eggs, 1981

Living one year on Beaver Island had changed me. I had grown up. I had more confidence in myself. I was more comfortable with my life.

Before Beaver Island, I would beg my husband to take us somewhere (usually to his parent’s house for dinner and a few games of cards) two or three evenings a week, when he came home from work. Though I’m sure they got to the point of dreading our drop-in visits, now they were so rare, my in-laws even brought it up. Our relationship with them hadn’t changed.  I was just less needy.

We were busy, too. Our first year back seemed to fly by. Jen zipped through the second grade. She started third grade the same year that Kate started kindergarten. They were in swimming classes for part of the year, and ballet classes for part of the year. I was back in college, in Flint, with a full load of classes, and working as a server at the Big Boy restaurant in Lapeer. Terry traveled to Arkansas for a few weeks to help his cousin with a big job there. I wrote an essay for a national organization, and won an Honorable Mention. Sometimes, with a deadline for a drawing or painting class, I’d turn our kitchen into an art studio. For a few days, meals would be basic picnic fare, as I took over table and wall space for creative endeavors. We planted a big garden in the summers there. My sister, Cheryl, and I started bicycling together. Now and then, I babysat for her children.

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Easter morning, 1981

We had left Beaver Island with a stack of bills, and a packet of information on new land parcels for sale on Eagle Hill Drive. We intended to get caught up, then buy land, eventually put up a small house, and move back to the island with a secure place to live. It was a good plan, and we were making good progress on the stack of bills…when my husband fell off a roof.

Terry broke both arms and sprained a leg. We were lucky! It could have been much worse. With my restaurant tips now our main source of income, all plans slowed. Still, I continued to send little checks, five dollars here, ten dollars there, to the patient creditors on Beaver Island, to pay off our debts. Mrs. Chapman, whose husband had provided us with both gasoline and fuel oil, would always send nice receipts. “Thank you for the effort,” she’d write, “every little bit helps!” I continued, too, to put a little bit in a savings account every week, looking to the future.

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Jen, looking for eggs, Easter morning, 1981