Posted by: bree1972 | October 28, 2010

Sensory Overload 10/29/2010

Hilde Update (7:30 p.m. Friday evening):  Just received email from Bud.  Hilde is home and doing much better, although in a lot of pain.  Please keep her in your prayers as the doctor has said she is at a high risk for complications due to the severity of the inflammation.  Bud said, “I’ve got my best friend back with me.”  They are such a sweet, sweet couple.

Prayer Request:  I’m writing this at 7:26 Friday morning.  Just received word that one of my biggest Mackinac Island Blog fans, Hilde DaVanon, is in the hospital with a terrible gall bladder infection and had surgery during the night.  Her husband, Bud, contacted me through the Somewhere in Time blog I wrote last year, and I’m asking that you all join me in prayers for her swift and complete recovery.  Hilde comments on the blog every day, so I know you all probably know her almost as well as I do.  I did have the pleasure of meeting them both on the island this summer, and there are no greaters lovers of the island than these two.  Please lift Hilde and Bud up today.  I will post updates as I receive them.  Thank you so much


We’ve been home almost two weeks now, and I still haven’t talked to you about our trip south – well, except to show a few photographs.  What those  pics didn’t show was me almost throwing myself out of the truck on the busy interstate as I experienced the sudden shock of . . . sensory overload!

Living on an island with no vehicles, it’s amazing how quickly your senses adjust to the quiet – the peace – the calm.  The noisiest time of the day would be trips downtown, where the conversations on the street would blend into a kind of white noise – a low hum that settled into my consciousness, but didn’t require any kind of concentration to break it down into individual words.  Add to that the jingle-jangle of the horses’ harnesses, the clip-clop of their hooves, and the sporatic horns of the ferries and freighters.  Together, it all  turned into a merry little tune that hummed through my spirit and put a big smile on my face – every day.

Once I left town and got up past the horse barns, the merry little tune turned into a relaxing symphony of nature’s best sounds – birds singing, the almost-tame chipmunks’ feet skittering across the deck downstairs, the slow clop-clop-clop of the dray horses, dogs barking, and the whir of hummingbird wings as they flitted from one geranium to another. 

With no TV downstairs, except for the tiny one that hung under the kitchen cabinet which we turned on once a day – to watch the 6:30 evening news while we ate supper – the condo was almost like living in a tree house.  The windows stayed open 95% of the time, and that daily chorus from nature was our constant companion.  At night, when Ted would retreat upstairs to watch TV, I’d close the door to our bedroom and write in solitude.  With the French doors open, the only sound I would hear at night was an occasional frog, the taxi horses’ harnesses, and – more nights than I can count – the low and lonely fog horn sounding out on the Straits.

Nothing had prepared me for the first day of travel back into the real world.  Everything was fine while Ted packed the truck, and I got Maddie and Bear settled into their traveling home for the next day and a half.  But as soon as Ted climbed behind the steering wheel, fastened his seatbelt and looked over to make sure I had on mine, all that peace and quiet came abruptly to a screeching halt.

I watched in horror as he programmed not one – BUT TWO – GPS systems.  One came with the new truck, and the other was a portable one we had before they made trucks that talked.  Each GPS had a female voice, and I didn’t like the sound of either one. 

“Why do we need to listen to two of those things?” I asked before we ever left the parking lot.

“Because the new one sometimes does strange things, so the old one can keep us going in the right direction,” was his answer.

“Why don’t we just listen to the old one then?” I asked curiously.

“Because we have TWO!”  he said.

By now we had turned out of the ferry parking lot, driven two blocks, and entered I-75, which we go straight south on for the next 1,175 miles. 

I had to say it. “Why do we even need a GPS?  We’re going to be on I-75 the whole way.”

Ted looked over and patiently said, “Because when we get into a big city, and have to find the way to a hotel or restaurant, we’ll have voice instructions.”

“But you don’t stop in big cities for hotels and restaurants.  We eat wherever we pull off the interstate for gas, and we know the exit for the hotel in Richmond, KY.  We stay there every year!”

“Aren’t you getting sleepy?” Ted asked, with that “would you please let me play with my toys and enjoy it” look.

So I went to sleep to the voices of GPS girls #1 and #2 cooing, “Drive 1,173 miles south, then turn on Flintside Drive in Cobb, GA.”

Each time we would exit the interstate for doggie and people potty breaks or for a quick lunch, GPS girl #1 would say, “You have left the planned route, do you want to get new instructions?”

Ted would say, “No.”

Girl #1 would say, “I’m sorry, I did not understand that.  Do you want to get new instructions?”

Ted would keep saying no until she finally understood his southern drawl.

In the meantime, GPS girl #2 would say over and over, “Make a U-Turn, make a U-Turn!”

After 1,175 miles on the interstate with those two disembodied voices, after being sandwiched between semi-trucks and listening to The Roadhouse station non-stop on Sirius radio, and after hearing drive-through window microphones turned up to eardrum splitting levels – my nonexistant stress level had been kicked directly into overdrive.

Finally, we turned into our driveway at home in Georgia, I opened the door of the truck and was greeted by two sounds – the singing of birds and the low growl of a boat motor way out somewhere on the lake.   Later that night, sitting on the porch with the windows open, I listened to the tree frogs and the ri’vah gently lapping up against the seawall.  I heard the low voices of a couple of guys as they fished out on the pier next door and the occasional plop of a baited hook hitting the water.  Across the lake I could hear laughter from someone’s house – sound carries like that on the water .

And I thought . . . once again – how blessed we are.

The ri'vah on a quiet October afternoon.

Header:  The bumblebees are still buzzing around the butterfly bush in our frontyard, although they are moving pretty slow these days.  Maybe that’s why it was so easy to catch this one having a little afternoon sip of nectar.



  1. […] Coming soon . . . Update:  On the Lake Blackshear Blog for Friday, I wrote about our trip home from the island.  You can click here, if you’d like to read about that: […]

  2. Brenda,

    Tell Ted I can see that his mind works in a perfectly logically manner. just like all us men.

    Your words bring such beautiful pictures to my mind, but a few of them brought back a not so pleasant memory. The first time I went to The Island I stayed there for three weeks without leaving. When I went back to the mainland in Mackinaw City, I walked from the ferry to the highway to hitch hike home to Cheboygan. As I stood there the odor of the car fumes was so terrible it nearly took my breath away. Before I went to The Island I had never even noticed that odor.

  3. Brenda, something tells me that those GPS girls will be your new best friends once you start heading north on I-75 in May.

    Hilde, we’ll miss your posts while you’re in the hospital. Get well soon!

  4. Do you truly stay on I-75 the whole way, or do you use Rte 23 to avoid Detroit and re-connect just south of Toledo? Sure hope so! Your travel experience sure sounds familiar. It’s something we have to endure in order to get to those beautiful places, I guess!

    Keeping Hilde in thought and prayer. So sorry to hear that she’s hit such a big road bump!

    • Yes – we do avoid Detroit!

  5. I don’t like to travel on interstate roads so I understand your overload. And the GPS voices are enough to make you want to stay home at times.

    Keeping Hilde in my prayers and thoughts. Will miss her posts. Hope she’s up and about real soon.

  6. Hilde doesn’t need that nasty old gall bladder anyway. Hope she bounces back rapidly. Always love her comments. Glad to see the rivah’ sooths the savage soul. You truly are blessed.

  7. I KNEW something was wrong when Hilde had not posted anything! Feel better soon.

  8. Hilde,

    My wishes for you are to be up and around soon – and I know you will.

  9. Get well soon Hilde! God bless!

  10. Loved hearing about your GPS girls..our GPS is a guy and we have named him Gerard and I find myself talking to him when he is bugging me!! 🙂
    Will be praying for Hilde for a quick recovery!
    Glad you are enjoying your Georgia home!! Blessings!!

  11. Feel free to give us, your loyal readers, more information on a previous post or experience anytime. We all love the way you express your point of view and the pictures you take.

  12. Prayers are sent to Hilde. Thanks so much for the update Bree! Funny story about the GPS! My husband has ours set to a weird voice that when we get to our destination it says “Grovy driving man”. Drives me crazy!

  13. Ok, I really got a kick out of this one. Your describing of it put me there in the truck. You had me laughing before I had a chance for my first cup of coffee to take effect, which is a feat in itself. To also know that I’m not the only one with traveling frustrations and we all have our quirks. I have to turn my GPS sound off, visual is enough for me. Even though I have to agree that the many years of driving north to the UP I really don’t need it. However its fun to see how many miles and time is left before we are in St. Ignace.

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