Category Archives: tradition

Little Bo


I love nicknames.  They play a big role in my family life, and frankly, it is how we show we love one another.  Some of my best and earliest memories involve various nicknames Grandpa Buttrick gave me as a child.  In fact, I distinctly remember him actually calling me by my given name when I was about 10 years old.  It stood out because he never called me Lindsey.  In fact, he called me everything but (see list below).  I thought I was in trouble!  Fortunately, I wasn’t.

Well, somewhere along the line Mom picked up the nickname habit from her dad.  The latest nickname she gave me is “Little Bo.”  I love it.  My dad’s name is Bob (aka Bo), and I earned every bit of that nickname.  I am very much my father’s daughter.  When I feel strongly about something, people know.  So, in honor of my newest nickname, I decided to compile a list of nicknames I’ve been given over the years – and the people who gave them to me and the stories behind them.

Lindo – Perhaps my most common nickname, mostly used by Mom’s family and probably given to me by Grandpa Buttrick.  Bonus:  It means beautiful in Spanish, even if the masculine form.

Ed – Given to me by Grandpa Buttrick when I was a baby.  I have no idea.  Ed happened to be the name of his best friend.

Ankle Biter #3 – I am the third grandchild on the Buttrick side.  My cousin Abby bit my dad’s ankle when she was a toddler, and none of us lived it down.  Again, given by Grandpa Buttrick.

Rifle River Rat #1 – I am the oldest Russell child – and we are river rats.  Again, Grandpa Buttrick.

Lonzo – Only Dad can call me Lonzo.  Period.

Buckshot – Grandpa Reid gave me this nickname when I was an infant.

Gypsy – Grandpa Reid always called Grandma and I his gypsies.  I am still always on the go.

Sugarfoot – Grandma Reid somehow came up with this one.  Since she passed away in 2017, Mom decided to bring it back.

Rosie – Given to me by Grandma Reid due to my complexion.

Itchy – My brother Garrett gave me this nickname years ago.  I have no idea why.  I have taken to calling him Scratchy ala The Simpsons.

Little Bo – Given to me by Mom because I can channel my dad all too well at times.

Yes, I am loved!

Name Quote.jpg

Leading By Example


As my brother, sister, and I work on a project for our Mom’s 60th birthday (see link above for more information on what we are doing), I can’t help but think about role models.  It is clear from the letters we’ve received so far that my Mom left a lasting impression on at least a few of her students.  Those letters, preparing for student teaching in the fall, all combined with working with my parents and brother on a daily basis at the canoe livery make it clear that I am once and for all right where I need to be.

I do not remember a time when I did want to be like my Grandpa B. and my Dad when I grew up.  I loved my Mom dearly, but I never wanted to be “just” a teacher (how awful this sounds now).  In the case of my little sister, that is all she ever wanted to be.  In fact, I admired her for her determination and having the sense of self to know what she wanted to do with her life from the time she was born.  I just knew that I needed to create.  I’m not sure when I made the connection between business and creativity, but I did.  I watched as my parents grew their business throughout my childhood.  I watched as Grandpa B. grew his during the same time period.  The funny thing is that as much as I admired both Grandpa and my Dad, they had vastly different visions for their businesses.

Neither my Dad or Grandpa started their respective businesses.  My parents purchased Russell Canoe Livery from my Grandma Reid, my Dad’s mom.  In the case of my Grandpa, he took over his grandfather’s business with his younger brother.  After my Dad lost his father to cancer, he and Grandma Reid kept the business running.  When my parents married in 1977, they purchased the canoe livery too.  I saw the early sacrifices they made to grow their business, and even though no one expressly said so, I always believed that my Dad was more concerned with creating a business around our family’s lifestyle than business itself.  During the summer business came first, but there always seemed to be time to make memories of our own as a family.

Grandpa, on the other hand, truly loved the convenience store business.  During summer time trips to the UP (the Upper Peninsula for those not from Michigan), we would stop at his convenience stores to see how things were going.  He constantly sought to expand his business and enter into new business ventures.  My Dad sought to innovate at the canoe livery as well, and did so successfully; however, he never had an interest to expand into new business opportunities.  As I later managed one of Grandpa’s convenience stores for a short time, I learned so much from both men.

Only fairly recently did I fully appreciate my Mom’s role in the success of the canoe livery.  As I have taken on more of her responsibilities, I have a new respect for all of those summers she worked while other teachers took much needed time off.  She continues to be the glue that makes everything work.  Late in her teaching career the superintendent at the time asked her why she never pursued her Master’s degree (she ended up with the equivalent).  She simply stated that she was too busy spending her summers building a business.  I include that here because it illustrates just how under appreciated my Mom’s contributions to the family business can be at times.  There is no doubt that my Mom had a successful 32 year teaching career.  I argue that her nearly 40 year career as a co-owner of a family business is just as successful.  She worries about how our Crystal Creek Campground will run without her.  As a future owner, I worry as well.  Our Crystal Creek customers love her, and I can’t imagine Crystal Creek without her.

The funny thing is that I am largely following in her footsteps.  Not Dad’s.  Not Grandpa B.’s.  Those men taught me so much about business and impacted my career in thousands of ways, but it is my Mom’s example I will follow.  I plan to teach and spend my summer’s continuing to build Russell Canoe Livery with my brother.  If I am half as successful as my Mom as both teacher and small business owner, I will do well.


The "back yard" of my childhood home:  Crystal Creek Campground.

The “back yard” of my childhood home: Crystal Creek Campground.

The Most Important Thing I Learned from My Dad

My Dad and my brother - Red Wing's Game, Joe Louis Arena - December 2015

My Dad and my brother, two of the most important men in my life – Red Wing’s Game, Joe Louis Arena – December 2015

Today is my Dad’s 63rd birthday.  As he and my Mom celebrate at their cabin in Canada with friends, I can’t help but think of all he has taught me over the years.  So, as tribute to my Dad, I am going to answer the one question he asked me several times as a child (and maybe once or twice as an adult).  I will also share the one thing he taught me that will always stay with me and is clearly now a part of who I am.

First, the question.  As child, he asked me all too often “Lindsey, why do you always have to do things the hard way?”  Well Dad, I would certainly like to know too.  The thing is, I always have to discover things for myself, and unfortunately, I am incredibly stubborn, just like my Dad and his Mom, my Grandma Reid.  I can’t help it.  When it comes to my Dad dispensing advice that goes against what I feel is best, I am going to do what I feel is best at the time.  He and my Mom gave me plenty of opportunities to make my own choices even as a teenager.  Over the years, of course, I’ve grown up and made better decisions, but every now and then, I still go rogue and disregard my Dad’s advice, usually at my peril.  So, Dad, if you are reading, the reason why I have to “do things the hard way” is because I am too much like you.

The biggest lesson I learned from my Dad is undoubtedly to go after whatever it is you want out of life.  My Dad may not fully understand why I love the things I do or why I want certain things out of life, but he has always supported me in chasing my dreams.  I watched my entire childhood as he went after his dreams.  There was never any doubt that I was expected to do the same.  There were times when I wished my Dad more fully understood why I love the things I love and why I chase the things I do, but I know deep down he understands more than most.

Happy birthday, Dad!  I love you.  Lonzo.


Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's House

Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa’s House – 1985

I love tradition.  As a child, it meant everything.  As important as tradition is, why is it so much more important this time of year?  Why are Christmas traditions so sacred?  Growing up, most years of my childhood, if you gave me a time from say 4 PM on December 23rd to 5 PM on December 25th, I could easily give you an idea of what I would be doing with my family.  Last year, Christmas 2014, was the first Christmas Eve of my life not spent at my Grandma and Grandpa Buttrick’s house (that includes my first Christmas Eve at six days old).  Grandma B. passed away in 2014, and as much as we all dreaded Christmas without her, we started a few new traditions, including a Christmas Eve get together at my parents’ house with aunts and cousins and attending Christmas Eve service at the church where my parents were married.  I love the fact that my nephews and niece are young enough that they will grow up with these new traditions.

Of course, we included many of the old traditions as well.  We still celebrate the Night-Before, the Night-Before (the evening of December 23rd) at my aunt and uncle’s house in Standish.  My brother, sister, and I, along with families, still spend Christmas Eve at our parents’ house.  We still have cinnamon French toast and sausage for Christmas breakfast and a wonderful turkey dinner later in the day.  It still takes us half the day to open presents, partly due to the fact that there are quite a few of us and partly due to the fact that we like to lounge around (yes, even my young nephews!).  It is still always a toss-up as to whether or not we’ll get to watch old home movies Christmas night.

So, as I get ready for the next few days of love and laughter, Merry Christmas!  I hope yours is as full of faith, family, and fun as mine will be.

Waiting for Santa - 1984

Waiting for Santa – 1984