One of the best things about having a home in two completely different areas of the country is finding out there are wonderful people everywhere, and Ted and I have been fortunate in the last four years to add new friends in Michigan to our south Georgia home friends on the ri’vah.
My very first Mackinac Island friend (even before Jill) was Chris Ann Nelson. After closing on our condo in June, 2008, I spent the majority of that summer walking and biking to and from Sutler’s Store at Fort Mackinac, trying to make our condo (which came completely furnished) look more like home and less like a vacation rental. Being new to the area and not knowing where the best spots were to shop for “decor” off the island, I spent a lot of time at Sutler’s. They had a wide array of items to choose from – bed linens, lamps, candles, knick-knacks, throw pillows, and any other kind of decorative doo-dad I might be seeking.
I met Chris Ann on my first visit to the store. She worked there part-time , and her willingness to help and her knowledge of all the inventory had me hoping she was on duty whenever I entered the store. She always went out of her way to try and accommodate my craziest requests – and consequently our condo has something from Sutler’s Store in every room.
After that first summer, Chris Ann began to work more at Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City than in the island store (both are part of the Mackinac Historic State Parks). She and hubby Burton own a home right on the shore of Lake Michigan in Mackinaw City, and it just made more sense for Chris Ann to work there instead of riding the ferry everyday. But we kept in touch over the following summers and would see each other once or twice a season.
Chris Ann is the one who introduced me to the phrase “double nesters” – a term for families with two homes. She and Burton summer in Mackinaw City and winter on Pine Island, Florida – near the Florida Keys. And last Wednesday evening, after closing up the Pine Island house and starting their trek north, they stopped here at the ri’vah for the night – along with their two four-legged babies, Hank (a West Highland Terrier) and Lilly (a Shetland Sheep Dog). Chris Ann and Burton have four children (2 girls and 2 boys) and 4 “bonus” children (that’s what they call their childrens’ spouses). They also have nine living grandchildren, ages 1-15, and 2 grand-dogs, Apple and Max. This is a BIG family, and since they are spread out from Florida to Michigan to Washington state, Chris Ann and Burton don’t let the moss grow under their feet for very long ANYwhere. They are constantly traveling to someplace to visit family OR have family traveling to them. The house in Mackinaw City will be teeming with folks this summer – as always.
They only stayed with us one night, and after arriving at the ri’vah around 6:30 p.m. and making sure all our dogs were ok with each other, we went out to eat at Daphne’s. Maddie had immediately put Hank (the Westie) in his place, but then Hank was a little testy about Bear. I’d say it was just two male dogs and raging testosterone, but since neither of them is supposed to still have any of that, I can think of nothing to blame it on except terrier vs. retriever temperaments. Anyway, they got over it. Lilly, the precious Sheltie, was a perfect lady throughout the whole visit.
After breakfast, the Burtons packed the one suitcase they had gotten out of the CAR and were off to their next stop with friends in north Georgia. Please, please explain to me how these two folks with their two dogs can move to Michigan for 6 months with everything packed into the backseat and very small trunk of a CAR, while Ted and I use the backseat and the entire bed of a PICKUP TRUCK and STILL have to ship ahead five boxes. I don’t GET IT!
With families to stop and see in Michigan, it will be another week or so before the Nelsons arrive in Mackinaw City. Their visit was too short, but we’ll see each other again soon.
After several cool days and chilly nights, spring has arrived for the second time this weekend. I can’t believe I did this, but I actually “sat out in the sun” for a whole 15 minutes Saturday afternoon!
Hoping you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back on Friday with some beautiful flower photos from around our neighborhood. Here’s a preview . . .
See you on Friday!