These last few weeks have been eventful, and frankly, fun. While my parents were in Ireland, I house sat for them. First, I love my parents’ house. It is comfortable and, next to my own house, is a space where I can just be myself. Housesitting for my parents during the early part of the fall means checking our Crystal Creek Campground as well. Crystal Creek is adjacent to my parents’ house. In fact, the house – my home from ages 3 to 18 – sits behind our store. It is hard to separate the two.
There is something about the empty campground, with the promise of fall in the air, that gets me every time. It is gorgeous and my favorite time of year. I can’t help but think of all the time I spent playing in the campground as a child after the campers left for the season. The land itself is forever a part of me.
During the great shutdown of 2020, I lived with my parents. It didn’t make sense for me to live alone at a time when no one knew how long it would last. Those days were largely a challenge for a variety of reasons, but the campground helped. Even though we had no idea when would be able to open up for Summer 2020, my parents and I spent time getting the campground ready. It was something tangible we could do. Mom and I picked up sticks and garbage daily while my dad and brother took care of most of the brush. It gave me a new appreciation for the land and the river, especially after we had the 500 year flood in May 2020 and rebuilt to open in mid-June.
But, home is so much more than just my parents’ or my home. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to return to Michigan State’s unrivaled campus – the home of some of my best memories. My brother, sister, sister-in-law, and I made sure my nephews and niece had a great first experience at Spartan Stadium. While wonderful in many ways, unfortunately my niblings didn’t get to see the Spartans win. Still, just being on campus brought back so many memories – the kind of memories that can only be relived when you’re home.
My grandparents are never far from my mind (or heart), but over the last several days, they’ve been on my mind even more. As my parents were preparing for a trip to Ireland, my dad asked me a little about the Irish ancestry on the Russell side of his family. It is fascinating! I didn’t realize that his grandfather (my great grandfather), Elijah (EC) Russell, was the son of Irish immigrants. As Grandpa Russell passed away long before I was born, I happen to know the history of the Suszko and Buttrick/Hoffman sides of my family better. Realizing that my ancestors on the Russell side made sacrifices for their descendants by leaving their homeland in search of a better life is humbling.
Today also happens to be Grandparents Day. My grandparents may no longer be with us, but I simply would not be the same person without their influence. As a child, I somehow won the grandparent lottery. Both my Buttrick and Reid grandparents lived close by and played a huge role in my life. I spent my summers spending time and working with Grandma and Grandpa Reid. They both taught me so much about life in general. I’ve written extensively about their influence.
Grandma and Grandpa Buttrick’s house was always open to us grand kids and our friends. They lived close to Standish Elementary, and we often visited after school. As an adult, trips to Standish were not complete if I didn’t visit Grandma and Grandpa. Even today, when I am running errands in Standish, I think of how nice it would be to be able to stop in for a quick visit. I still miss the book club for two that I had with Grandma B. I also think of all of those August trips to hunting camp in Kenton, piling in Grandpa’s station wagon or Suburban with our cousins.
There is so much more I could say. I didn’t even discuss our “adopted” grandparents, our neighbors Joyce and Carl. That is all together another subject for another day. By the way, I didn’t post a picture of Grandma Buttrick for a specific reason. She was a private person, and even though she is no longer here, she would hate having her picture here.
Even though I never knew him, Grandpa Russell’s legacy lives on in the canoe livery. Grandma and Dad may have kept the canoe livery running after he passed away, but it was Grandpa Russell who started it all over 60 years ago. In fact, all of my grandfathers were entrepreneurs in their own way – a fact I love.
So, to all of my grandparents, thank you! Thank you for your love, guidance, memories, and so much more.
By mid-June, things were starting to come together at the canoe livery … but would our customers return? Boy, did they! We had a wedding at our main location in Omer towards the end of June. After the wedding, with one more weekend in June left, we became increasingly busy, experiencing volume rivaling what we normally experience mid-to-late July or even early August. True to form, we remained busy right up until the mid-August.
Normally, this would be welcomed and wouldn’t have been an issue. However, this year, thanks to COVID, we didn’t have adequate time to properly prepare. During a “normal” year, we have much of June to prepare for the crowds. Things ramp up during June until it becomes crazy from the 4th of July until mid-August. Well, we lost that time to hire and train. We had a week, maybe two, before we started to become that busy. Add in the pressure of new safety precautions, difficulty in getting merchandise, and rebuilding from the flood, and one gets a sense of why it became so stressful. I feel as though I have been running a marathon since May.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am eternally grateful that our business not only survived but grew during COVID. I refrain from saving thrive because it would not be sustainable long-term. Simply too many hours and too much work in such a short period of time. Still, it haunts me that so many small businesses didn’t survive or are in danger of closing permanently. All I could think of this spring is the decades of work the canoe livery represents – my family history and my personal history. It would not exist if not for the hard work, dedication, foresight, and planning of my parents, my grandparents, and now my brother and I, along with countless others over the years. So much in my life simply would not have been possible without the canoe livery. In it, I see my future. Whether I like it or not, the canoe livery and the Rifle River is a part of me. The very idea of it no longer existing is unimaginable.
If nothing else, I do hope that I have turned the corner and truly have a fresh start this fall. It feels that way. I could use some routine and consistency in my life – along with a healthy dose of “normal” – whatever that is now. It is time to figure out exactly what it is that I want. I know that I have returned to that theme dozens of times here over the years. Yet, I still don’t know.
Who is to say that I will be content to spend the rest of my life alone? If I met the right man – and I repeat here, the right man – I can see myself in a relationship again. Yet, I have a difficult time seeing how I would meet him. Same goes for children. I would love to be a mother. I know I would nail it. Yet just the mere thought of the foster and/or adoption processes is enough to make me want to break out in hives. I know what can go wrong all too well. Maybe it will be time to “jump” sooner rather than later. I do know that I do not want to regret what I didn’t do in my life. Until then …
I’ve always loved fall, but somehow, this time of year just means more this year. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster (more on that in a minute, and not all entirely COVID related) since mid-March. I want OFF! NOW. I never dreamed that I would help run a business and teach middle school during a pandemic, but here I am. Something I never wanted to add to my bucket list.
As I am smack-dab in the middle of returning to in-person classes for the first time since mid-March, it is SO nice to have some normalcy, particularly after a summer and spring that was anything but “normal.” I missed my students deeply, and I enjoy just observing kids being kids.
So, about this spring and summer … Well, of course, it all started mid-March – that ill-fated Friday the 13th to be exact. As the shutdown deepened, I began to worry about opening the canoe livery for the season. Worry about the survivability of the family business #1. Frankly, it didn’t look good. Just as we, along with pretty much everyone else on the Rifle River, made the decision to open for self-contained camping only during Memorial Weekend, the other shoe dropped.
May 18th-20th, we received close to 7 inches of rain. Dams in nearby Gladwin and Midland counties failed. Fortunately, we did have a little warning thanks to another livery on the river. My parents, brother, and I were able to save much of our technology and merchandise in our store in Omer. Good thing we had that warning. We ended up with 3 feet of water in the store. That wasn’t even the worst part.
During the shutdown, I made the decision to stay with my mom. I don’t think either of us wanted to be alone in our own homes for an extended period of time. My dad was at their cabin in Canada when the shutdown happened, and he didn’t come home immediately. I was over at my parents’ house when the stay-at-home order dropped. Then, it just became habit. What was I supposed to do at home by myself that entire time? Normally, I am rarely at home. I am usually at work, running errands – all kinds of things – none of which I could do during the lockdown.
Anyway, my parents and I watched in May as the Rifle River filled our Crystal Creek Campground near my parents’ home. It nearly reached Pinnacle Bridge, which is amazing in and of itself. Then it happened. I read a Facebook post that stated that the Forest Lake Dam broke. We evacuated my parents’ home. While the Forest Lake Dam isn’t directly on the Rifle River, it would feed into the nearby river if it did break. There simply was no way to predict what would happen if the dam broke. My parents feared losing their home of nearly 40 years, not to mention their business of nearly 45 years. I can still hear the panic in both of my parents’ voices. I hope to never experience anything like again it in my life. Same can be said for most of March through August.
Fortunately, the dam held. We returned to my parents’ home later that day when we received word that the immediate danger had passed. While I haven’t made a habit of watching the local news in decades, I did watch that evening as local affiliates reported as the Edenville and Sanford dams collapsed, devastating Gladwin and Midland counties. I know the area. I used to manage a convenience store in Sanford. I traveled M-30 across the Edenville dam many times. Wixom and Sanford Lakes are no more, and the Tittabawassee River reclaimed its original path. It so easily could have been my family. My parents could have easily lost their home – MY childhood home – and their business that day. So many in Midland and the surrounding area did.
When we were finally able to survey the damage, we were lucky. The flood mainly damaged our main location in Omer this time. Keep in mind that we suffered devastating flood/ice damage – along with tornado damage later that summer – at our Crystal Creek Campground in 2018. In Omer, we lost our propane tank, our ice chest, fencing, and a campsite. Yes, you read that correctly. When our campground – a former mill pond – flooded, the water drained in one area, completely eroding one of our campsites. We had to get excavation work done in order to rebuild. All of this on top of 3 feet of water in our store, bathrooms, and pole barns. The cleanup took nearly a month, delaying our opening. When we were finally able to reopen in mid-June, we didn’t know what to expect.
I will leave off here for now. There is so much more to the story. While I will discuss some aspects of what happened after we reopened another day, there is much more that will have to be left unsaid. So much of what made this summer truly horrendous isn’t even my story to tell.
In my family’s experience with the flood, I watched my parents, my brother, and I come together to make things happen under unprecedented circumstances. COVID made things much more difficult than they needed to be. Something as simple as ordering merchandise for the summer became a nightmare. Yet, it worked. We somehow made it work. That is precisely why I wanted to tell this story.
Above all, I hope all of us – every last person affected by COVID, which is the entire planet – finally get some semblance of normal. We deserve it!
I will never forget Friday, March 13th, 2020. I teach middle school at a small, rural Catholic school, and we had just had an unexpected day off due to a boiler issue. Late in the day on Thursday, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer mandated all schools closed as of Monday, March 16th. Suddenly we were all faced with an undetermined amount of time off. Not only did teachers and administrators not quite know what to expect, students looked to us for answers and we had none.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. After school on that Friday, we were supposed to have an after school event for March is reading month, Prime Time Live Friday Night. Games, dinner, and prizes all cancelled. Our once full March calendar suddenly free. Now, our last Stations of the Cross is the last school memory I will have for a while.
I can’t help but think of all my 6th through 8th graders through all of this. Are they OK? How do I help make sure they are still learning? What can I do when I can’t assign any graded work as not everyone has internet access? I’ve worked my way through a crash-course on creating Google Classrooms, learning by doing.
Oh, the events! I so looked forward to so many events this spring! We had one field trip planned to Lansing in May, and I was in the process of booking another to the Michigan Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Art. We were just beginning the novel Esperanza Rising as a middle school. Oh, and the poetry unit I wanted to do. Then there were the professional development opportunities now cancelled. I looked forward to learning to become the best possible middle school teacher I can be. I am hoping that I have the same opportunities next year.
Then there are the longer-term questions. When will we return to school? What to expect when we do? When will society return to “normal’? How will things work with our seasonal family business, which is due to start Memorial Weekend? In fact, I’ve been splitting my time between trying to round up resources for my students and using this opportunity to get some business done.
Watching and observing how we have all come together as a profession (teachers are the best!), a church, a community, a state, and a country is heartwarming. Ultimately, we will all become stronger through this adversity.
Lately, I can’t stop thinking about my life in September 2009 and all the changes it brought with it. I can safely say it remains among the worst times in my life. That month, I lost two people close to me, both of whom I knew most of my life, and my ex lost his job at a time when I found it impossible to find one. The aftermath of that particular month still haunts me with unanswered questions and things left unsaid.
It started with Joyce. She passed away on September 2nd. It left me in shock as it was her husband who faced serious health issues at the time. The thing is Joyce and I always had a special bond. She babysat me from nine months of age until I was old enough to stay alone. We always referred to her as the “babysitter,” but she became so much more to me, my sister, and my brother. The truth is more complex. She and her husband were essentially another set of grandparents whom happened to live next door. When it came to grandparents – biological and otherwise – my siblings and I won the lottery.
As an adult, I tried to talk to her about subjects such as infertility and faith, but I never found the right words. I found her increasing pessimism as she aged hard to take at times, even though she had every right to feel the way she did. I knew that she would have wisdom to share, but I could never bring myself to ask her the hard questions. Now, a bit older and wiser, I would love to have those conversations with her.
Shortly before or after Joyce passed away – that time frame is still fuzzy in my mind, even though I am fairly certain it all happened within days – my ex lost his job. He just came home one morning when he should have been work, completely devastated. It turned out that the company he worked for at the time slashed their workforce by 20%. Only a few months prior to the layoffs, I had hoped to work there as well. They never filled the position I so eagerly sought.
In fact, nothing I did during the years 2006-2009 seemed to matter much. There were openings in my field. Unfortunately, those positions would remain forever unfilled or I would be competing against someone with 20 or even 30 years of experience – for an entry-level job. There simply were not enough jobs. Period.
As cruel as it sounds, I wish I would have known then that things weren’t meant to work out for us. My ex and I spent years trying to make it all work. It never did. As soon as things appeared to be getting better, something would happen to force us to start back at square one. Out of all the years we were together – 2004-2014 – we both held jobs only one year. One year out of ten. The rest of the time, one of us remained unemployed, even though both of us held college degrees (three between us) and had plenty of work experience, not to mention looked continuously for jobs in our fields. Still, both of us were far too stubborn to give up. After all we had been through together, it took two years of our relationship essentially unraveling before we finally had had enough, although the end wasn’t nearly that nice or simple. I haven’t looked back.
Just when I began to adjust, one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away. To this day, I think of him all the time. I came home from work only for Brian to tell me that Derrick passed away. It is the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing shock without physically being in shock. Derrick and I went back so far I can honestly say I have no idea when we met – elementary school or possibly earlier; I don’t know. What matters is the fact that I don’t remember life without Derrick prior to September 25, 2009. We experienced so much together from elementary school to college. I tried to capture our memories here.
First, nothing prepares you to lose a good friend who happens to still be in their 20s. Nothing. I didn’t know how serious his issues were. Now, of course, I’d like to think that I would have been able to help in some small way. Second, when you are unable to attend a close friend’s funeral, it does affect you – family or not. I still remember trying to keep it together because I had to work the day of his funeral. Later, I still found it difficult to be around his great aunt E. Memories came flooding back as soon as I would see her. I became so uncomfortable that I didn’t see her nearly as often as I should. Now that she is gone too, I regret it. Finally, I still see Derrick and I sniping at each other 50 years in the future, somehow managing to end up in the same nursing home. Frankly, I feel cheated knowing it is simply not possible.
Ten years later, I am not the same woman. I’ve experienced more loss in those years – and a lot of happiness. I know myself better and worked hard towards new dreams and goals. Still, when I think of those awful days of September 2009, I’d like to think that Joyce and Derrick both somehow know where I ended up. I can only imagine the conversation Derrick and I would have had in the aftermath of my awful breakup with Brian. He had been so happy that I’d finally found someone. I can also imagine how happy Joyce would be to know that I am now a teacher and how deeply her faith affected me. To Derrick and Joyce, I still love you both.
Mother’s Day will never not be emotional for me. I am continuously torn between celebrating the wonderful women in my life who made me who I am today – not just Mom, but both my grandmas and Joyce, my childhood neighbor, babysitter, and essentially adopted grandmother – and struggling with my own path to motherhood. All those women helped shape me morally, spiritually, and intellectually.
Mom, of course, continues to do so. I still crave her advice. I am so grateful for her friendship; her example, not only as a mother, but as a teacher, business woman, Christian; and her unconditional love. All of it. Somewhere along the path to adulthood, she also became my best friend.
Mom, Dad, and I ~ 1983
In the past, I dreaded Mother’s Day. Working retail in my 20s, strangers wishing me a “Happy Mother’s Day!” broke my heart and left me feeling empty. They all meant well. That’s the problem: One never knows who is struggling with infertility, pregnancy, strained relationships, loss, etc. For the longest time, I felt the same way at church on Mother’s Day, until I no longer did. A simple acknowledgement that some struggle with a whole variety of issues relating to motherhood made all the difference. Watching others grieve and acknowledge the loss of their own mothers made me realize that I am far from alone.
If I am completely honest with myself, recent events have made me question whether I do want to adopt, my only path to motherhood. In fact, it is part of the reason why I have been so silent here lately. Fortunately, my parents support me no matter what I decide, but what I wouldn’t give to be able to talk to my grandmas and Joyce right now. I could use their advice and wisdom now more than ever. All three would have something to say – all different – and force me to think of something I had overlooked.
Grandma Reid and I ~ 1985
If I do decide not to adopt, the hardest part will be having to change my perception of myself. I do not remember just how young I was at the time, but the first thing I remember wanting out of life is to be a mother. Fortunately, that is the beautiful thing about all of this. If I decide not to adopt, in many ways, I am still a mother. I have a great relationship with my nephews and niece. Spending time with my niece the other evening, she randomly told me that she wanted to come spend the night at my house. It didn’t work out that evening, but a sleepover is in the works once school is out. I want to be that aunt. My niblings are finally reaching the ages where I can be that aunt.
As a teacher, I influence children every day. I truly care for all my students, even if I am just their substitute teacher for a day or two. It doesn’t matter. So many students do not have much support at home. As a teacher, I can put my maternal instincts to good use. I can be the teacher that cheers them on at school. I know for a fact that I have already made a difference. I just need to step it up as I truly start my teaching career.
I may yet decide to adopt, but I need to give myself time and space to make that decision. I finally concluded that it isn’t the end of the world if I do not. When and if I do decide to adopt, I can say with certainty that I have thought of all possibilities and outcomes. If it is meant to be, I know that my son or daughter is out there waiting for me.
There is no escaping it. This topic keeps rearing its ugly head. Last night, we discussed it in book club. Are people meant to be in a certain place? You can find my take on the topic here. That question keeps haunting me. What if somehow I missed my chance to be wherever it is I am supposed to be?
Am I supposed to live in Omer the rest of my life? I wish there were a simple answer. The reality is that there isn’t. I love my family, I’ve always wanted to be a part of the canoe livery, and I enjoy spending my summers working there. Yet, do I have what I need? Frankly, the answer is no. There are few people my age around, and those who are around are in a different stage of life. With one notable exception, all are married and/or have families of their own. It would be nice to at least have the possibility of dating in my future.
What are my alternatives? None of them are good. Either I deal with the issues before me and continue on this path, or I start over someplace new. If I stay, a part of me will always be someplace else. If I go, I would miss my family and the canoe livery. At least in Omer I am needed and loved.
The truth is I am going nowhere. The canoe livery and the Rifle River itself are too much a part of who I am. I want to watch my niece and nephews grow up firsthand, and I want to be there for my parents as they get older. None of that means that there aren’t sacrifices and complications that come with that decision. None of it changes the love/hate relationship I have with Omer and Arenac County in general.
What saddens me is the reality of where I live. Over the last two decades, so many people left not only Arenac County, but Michigan as well. Many were left with no choice thanks to a one-state recession followed by the Great Recession. I graduated in 1999, and due to the fact that so many classmates moved out of state, I doubt we will ever have a true class reunion. Most Michigan State business students I graduated with in 2004 headed to Arizona or Texas, including me. No one seems to care. Few planned on helping their children create a life for themselves here during that time frame and the years that followed.
While we may be on the path to recovery, we are not there yet. What bothers me is a general aura of denial that stubbornly resists any change. Yes, I agree we need change, but we also need to keep what is working – and there are things that are working. Unfortunately, we do not support those things. So many people seem to want to change nothing or change everything at once. Neither approach will work, but no one seems to address this.
What about businesses? What are we doing to attract new ones? Absolutely nothing I can see. No, instead we keep piling on more unnecessary regulations that do nothing except add costs. Instead of making it easier for those just starting out to get started in a career, we make it next to impossible. Today, we still tell high school seniors that a four year college degree should be the norm when we are setting them up for tens of thousands of dollars of debt before they even start their career. It is wrong and needs to stop. We need to attract more businesses and encourage trades. What about entrepreneurship? Again, we do little to support those who wish to start their own business. New businesses and new growth are exactly what we need, but they cannot survive if not supported.
I am angry. I want to believe in my hometown and live here, but many times, it feels next to impossible. If it weren’t for my family, I would have never looked back. I am tired of feeling torn, and I am fed up with everything else about the area pushing me away.
I’ve always been obsessed over organization. If I’ve learned one thing about myself through the years, it is this: I work best when I am completely organized. When one small thing is out of place, I find myself easily distracted. A simple task that should take only a few minutes looms large and threatens to upset everything. Silly, I know.
As a teacher, even as a substitute teacher, I try to be as organized as possible. There is nothing worse than walking into a classroom in disarray as a substitute teacher. Endlessly searching for the sub plans constitutes a nightmare in my book. Even worse, walking into no sub plans at all. Fortunately, that happened to me only once.
As a student, my favorite teachers tended to be those who were more organized, or at least attempted to be organized. Knowing what is expected of you as a student goes a long way toward meeting high expectations. I loved being able to easily know precisely what I needed to accomplish to do well in a class. It didn’t matter at what level. Teachers that allowed for creative freedom – and time to exercise that freedom in class – were among my favorites as well.
So, where did I go wrong?
Right now, I feel anything but organized. Maybe it is just the chaos of creativity and everything happening at once. I never seem to be able to get far enough ahead to make a difference. I know this spring and summer will bring massive changes in my life – and for the better. But what about tying up all those loose ends and meeting deadlines? How do I make it work?
I am slowly trying to make it all work. Unfortunately, I inherited impatience from all sides. In some ways, my procrastination at times is downright rebellion. Growing up, my parents were always working, whether teaching (Mom), running a business, or raising kids. My parents may have been understanding in most cases, but neither one could be described as patient. After spending time with Mom, I realize it is something I will have to work on for the rest of my life. Ultimately, it is my impatience that makes me so disorganized at times. I need to get things done NOW. Putting things away can wait. I am trying – and that is about all I can say at the moment.
The idea of place keeps coming up. I never realized it before, but I have ordered my life around a certain geography, a certain space. In my case, that would be my hometown of Omer, Michigan – Michigan’s smallest city.* It expands to include my grandmother’s house (my current home), the canoe livery, my parents’ home (my home from ages 3-18), and the nearby city of Standish. If I expanded my personal concept of place further, I would include Bay City, the nearest city of any size – the city where I spent a good share of my 20s – and Saginaw, home to both Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College, where I was recently a student. There are several others not mentioned here, but currently, those I did name create much of my world.
Although I recognize the fact that the places mentioned above – and more – have helped to shape who I am today, none are nearly as important as the people, family and friends, who inhabit those spaces. They, too, exist in a certain space in one’s life. When a loved one passes away, those spaces can loom large. Instead of filling those spaces, our lives expand to make new room for others as they come into their lives.
If I were asked to list my memories of the places I listed above, I wouldn’t know where to start. I would be quickly overwhelmed. Not only would those memories be tied to those spaces, they would certainly be tied to family and friends as well. For example, each day as I ready myself for the day ahead, I think of Grandma when I look in the mirror. As a child and teenager, I spent many hours waiting for her to “put on her face” before heading out on our next adventure. I love and remember those little routines and moments that make up and take up so much of our lives.
I am blessed to have the ability to carve out a space for myself in various places so strongly associated with my childhood. As a writer who ultimately plans to write creative non-fiction centered around her early life, including childhood, there is no place I’d rather be. That isn’t to say that I don’t dream.
I often fantasize about packing up and starting over on the west side of Michigan, near Grand Rapids, or in my wilder days, Austin, Texas. The Grand Rapids area makes sense. My sister and her family live in a small town called Hopkins, which happens to be situated between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. My sister, her husband, and their two boys enjoy the best of all worlds. They live in a small town and can take advantage of all it has to offer. The benefits of suburban and even urban areas are still near. Add in the facts that I have a lot of family on that side of the state and western Michigan is growing like crazy, I must give it serious consideration.
Then there is Austin. I don’t know if I have ever fallen more deeply in love with a specific place. Even though I only lived in Austin for six months back in 2002, those experiences left a huge hole in my heart. In Austin, there were plenty of tech jobs to pursue at the time. When not working, I had endless opportunities to check out live music venues and crazy art installations with friends.
Oh, and did I have great friends! For the first time in my life, I felt as though my life had come together. It took everything within me to drive home to Michigan to finish my degrees at Michigan State. I had no choice. I can still see the heavy fog and sleet – and feel the tears rolling down my cheeks as I left on that drab December day.
Even though I daydream about moving to Austin every now and then, it won’t happen. I am too tied to Michigan – by birth, and by the people and places I love. As much as I adore Texas – all of it – that is another story entirely. The reality is that I am not going anywhere. I am as much a part of my family, Omer, and the Rifle River as they are a part of me. It is now time to claim the space for myself.
* Yes, I realize that technically Lake Angelus has a smaller population, but it is in Oakland county, near Detroit. It is close to and surrounded by Metro Detroit. There is no comparison.