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sledding

Greetings from Mancelona, Michigan

Actually, I'm not in Mancy; I'm in North Carolina, but in spirit I'm still in Mancelona (my hometown). I'm now fixin' to bore you with "what I did during my vacation," but I know that you are bored already, because you're reading this.

TUESDAY. I wait, and I wait and I wait. I was hoping to set off by 11:00 or 12:00, but the spousal unit decides she has to do some last-minute shopping. I wait and I wait. I drink some coffee and study maps to pass the time. By the time we finally leave it's 3:30. There's no way we'll make it to Ohio. We make it to a place called Georgetown, Kentucky, just north of Lexington on I-75.

WEDNESDAY. Miraculously, we're on the road by 10:00 a.m. I drive through Cincinnati and Dayton and hand over the keys to the Issue in Wapakoneta. She drives an hour and a half or so up I-75 to Bowling Green, where I once again take over at the wheel. We get to my brother's house in Mt. Pleasant, MI around 5:30 or six. The ladies have tea. I drink a couple of beers. My brother shows me his new (to him) Wurlitzer SideMan.



Afterwards, the Issue drives north to Clare, and then I take over, since she's not authorized to drive at night. All in all, twelve hours of travel by the time we reach Mancelona.

THURSDAY. I ride my mom's bicycle around town, stroll down amnesia lane. The issue and I head out to Wetzel lake for a swim. The lake level hasn't risen since last year. The kids today are deprived of the adventure of walking the clay trail with water up to their waists. Today the trail is several feet above water level. I don't know what the cause of the dramatic lowering of the lake level is; perhaps sucking water out of the ground to irrigate crops.

In the evening the family heads to the Alden Bar and Grille to be entertained by my friend Ken Thompson.

After dinner we had a good look at Torch Lake, considered by many to be among the most beautiful lakes in the world.

FRIDAY. A pretty uneventful day. I rode my mom's bike around Mancy; swam with the Issue in the neighbors' pool.

SATURDAY. Headed up to Eastport to swim in Grand Traverse Bay. The water, while chilly, was not cold by Lake Michigan standards. I found a message in a bottle. The bottle was a plastic 1.75 liter Black Velvet Canadian whisky (empty). The message read: "Hi!! Bachelor Party 2013! Whiskey Drunk!! Please Respond for a $5.00 reward!" and then a phone number. Needless to say, I didn't call the number. If I were to call it, it would be from a pay phone, if any exist anymore.

Then down to Bellaire for food and beer at Short's. I'm not exactly a beer connoisseur, but they say that the IPA is primo. It was tasty, although for everyday drinking I would just as soon down a Labatt's Blue or two. I bought a six to go, and I'm going to find out what one of my beer snob friends thinks of it one of these days.

SUNDAY. I was dreaming pleasantly, when I feel this tap, tap, tap on my shoulder. It was the Issue waking me up for church. To amuse her I decided to attend. The reading was the story of Abraham and Isaac. God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He's ready to do it, but at the last minute God says, "Just kidding. Just wanted to test you." The priest turned this into a story about faith, but I couldn't help but think that God acted like a bully, and that Abraham was guilty of listening to voices in his head. Can you imagine if this happened in the 21st century. I don't think the authorities would believe Abraham: "God told me to do it." In my opinion, this doesn't reflect well on Abraham or on God. Anyway it's just mass. The keyboard was programed rather that played, and I watched the dude insert these passé discs into the keyboard's computer to get it to play the hymns. Then the choir would do their best on them, which really wasn't so good.

In the afternoon I went with my sister to play golf. I was horrible but I had fun. On the majority of holes I scored in double-digits. Those nice shots sort of compensate for the awful ones. I'm not telling you my score.

We pulled out of Mancy around 6:00 p.m. We stopped to have a look at Higgins Lake. The Issue drove all the way down to Mt. Pleasant, where we spent the night.

MONDAY. For breakfast, Steevorino prepared his famous breakfast egg / cheese / corn tortilla miracle and we were on the road. Somehow we spent four hours in East Lansing, between the Indian store, the Chinese store, El Azteco Mexican restaurant and the Michigan State University Dairy Store. I was the model of stoicism while I waited for the ladies to shop. I'm on Grand River with Roscoe, the dog, whom everybody likes: "I've had a bad day, I need some puppy therapy ... what kind of dog is it? ... Can I take a picture? ... Look, one brown eye and one blue eye."

We were finally on the road at about 4:30, but the Issue insisted on stopping at a mall in Ann Arbor. This was the first time I'd been in Ann Arbor since the 1980s. I drove right through downtown. At the mall, while the ladies shopped I sat and waited. I found some car keys (Cadillac), which I handed in at the information desk. Later the lady who lost them showed up. I asked, "You looking for some car keys? Cadillac?" "Yes." I told her where to find them. As we pulled out of Ann Arbor there was a thunderstorm on our tail, but we outran it. Spent the night in Wapakoneta, Ohio, as is our custom.

TUESDAY. Drove back to Carolina. Nothing notable to report.

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February 2018

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