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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Midweek Up North News Sampler

The snow is still hanging on in patches. I have to admit, however, that the sunshine in this image is from last week, not this. Sigh! Still, there's a lot going on in Northport. This is only a small sample of happenings:

First, our own Deb Stannard at the Leelanau Township Library in Northport will be receiving the state library “Quality Services Certificate,” to be presented at the library at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 24. The public is invited on this happy occasion. We’re not a bit surprised that Deb has been chosen for recognition. This is a well-earned award, and it is Leelanau Township’s good fortune to have her at the helm. Yea, Deb!!!

The library celebration is Friday, but Saturday is a big day, too, the day of the annual Scott Brow Fishing Derby at the Mill Pond. As one middle-aged native put it, remembering his boyhood and the fun of fishing for prizes in April (sometimes in the snow!), the fishing derby was always “better’n Christmas!” Also on Saturday is the Adopt-a-Highway cleanup (meet at Covenant Church at the 90-degree turn of M-22), starting at 9:00 a.m., with cleanup of the Visitors Center afterward at 10:00 a.m. Volunteers welcome—just show up and be put to work!

Next, everyone please note that Bruce Viger at the Eat Spot is now opening at 8:00 a.m. and serving breakfast Tuesday through Saturday. This past Friday morning when I was there with Connie Arnfield, discussing the details of our upcoming book signing at Dog Ears (see top right corner of page), Bruce even had a fire in the fireplace. Cozy! Rumor has it that his new BBQ place on Waukazoo Street--handily next door to Dog Ears Books and the Painted Horse Gallery and across from Northport Fitness--will be open by Memorial Day weekend, and David predicts lots of competition for parking on Waukazoo Street. I tell him, there’s a problem I can live with! Downtown hiving with activity!

Sally Coohon at Dolls and More had her place open for Northport all winter, with expanded space (into the former pharmacy building) featuring a knitting corner, complete with a circle of rocking chairs up in the sunny front window. Sit in the sun with friends, get tips and help from Sally, watch the town go by from the best seat in town--brilliant! How would Northport women have survived winter without this refuge from isolation and cold? Now spring is here (or almost?), and still something is happening all the time at Dolls and More. Here is Lisa Drummund in the knitting corner, working on a baby cap for a little one arriving soon, while over at the big tables some girls from Northport School are painting their kites for outdoor fun. A few minutes later Sally is helping to dry the paint so the kites get home without mishap.

Outdoors, I was thrilled to see Michael and Arturo working in what used to be (that was during Incarnations #3 and #4 of Dog Ears Books) my own little Dog Ears garden. It was put in so long ago that it really needed the major overhaul that Serendipity Landscaping is giving it, and I can’t wait to see the results! Just hope that beautiful 'Crinkled White' peony survives.

Across and up Mill Street a little way, Barb’s Bakery was closed for the winter but is now open again. I like this shot of Barb behind the counter, framed by one of Marcia Jongsma’s prize-winning orchids.

And quite a bit farther from home, Betty Hendryx Loomis, daughter of Michigan adventure fiction writer, James B. Hendryx, died April 5 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the age of 87. Old-time Hendryx collectors fondly recall sharing Hendryx stories over lemonade once a year in Suttons Bay with Ms. Loomis. Well, excuse me while I go off on a tangent of my own here:

I never knew either James Hendryx or his sister, but one day at Dog Ears Books, over a decade ago, while two avid Hendryx collectors were conferring about their respective treasures, I got into conversation with one of the collectors’ wives. Her interest, she said, was genealogy. Then she told me her family name, which was the name of old neighbors of mine in Traverse City. “Are you related to ---?” I asked. “You mean my brother?” she said. “Then,” I went on, “you’re related to Grandma ---?” “You mean my mother?” Shock of recognition! Her mother, old enough to be my own grandmother, was one of my dearest friends in the old West Front Street neighborhood, and both of us had tears in our eyes at this unexpected connection. She was thrilled to meet someone who remembered and had loved her mother, and my heart warmed toward her simply for being her mother’s daughter. What this has to do with Hendryx is that the genealogy woman and her book collector husband had made many camping and fishing trips over the years into Canada with Hendryx and his wife. What mattered more to me, though, I have to say, was seeing my old friend’s smile in her daughter’s eyes.

The last time I had seen my friend, she told me that she didn’t read even watch television much any more, because her sight was so poor. Instead she stayed in bed late and remembered. “I think about my life,” she said contentedly. “I think about my family. And I always think of you as one of my girls.” (I have never forgotten those words and still shiver with happiness remembering them.) All the time I knew her, I had no idea that her daughter and son-in-law were intimates of a popular Michigan writer. In fact, back then I didn’t even know the name James B. Hendryx. My bookstore was still long years in the future. So life is full of unexpected connections. Also, I can’t help reflecting, besides the coincidences that the world finds noteworthy, there are so many countless others important only to one or two human hearts.


dmarks said...

I blogged about Hendryx a while ago.

I am also seeing those lingering snowbanks just north of treelines, and the nearly-black lingering lotbergs.

P. J. Grath said...

Thanks for that link, dmarks. I'd missed your Hendryx post. Did you know there is a little road called Hendryx Lane and also a small park that bears his name out on--I think it's Lee Point. Anyway, out by where he lived outside Suttons Bay. It's also interesting to me how much of his life ran parallel to that of James Oliver Curwood, the Michigan adventure fiction writer from Owosso (down by Lansing). Both wrote a few Westerns, along with what I call their 'Northerns,' and both were drawn to Alaska by the Gold Rush.

Deborah said...

Joe and I were saying just a few days ago that what we really want to do is move to Northport, bring our dogs, buy land and adopt more dogs. We love the town already and today's post makes me want to be there right now. Thanks for the updates - for those who live there and for those of us who want to know all the happenings!

P. J. Grath said...

Deborah, you and I would have a good time living closer to each other, wouldn't we? And Northport is definitely a dog-friendly town. One of my problems with Florida is that it is not a very dog-welcoming state, overall, though we were thrilled with Hernando County's new dog park and visited 2-3 times a week, David often saying while we were there, "This is the best part of our day!"

Anonymous said...

Pamela, I've been thinking about doing a "Faces of Northport" poster, and have been taking photos of the people who bless my day at Tom's, the post office, etc. Maybe we can collaborate? I love your shot of Barb!

P. J. Grath said...

Re "faces," let's talk about this face to face rather, okay?

P. J. Grath said...

Late-breaking Hendryx note: Today’s Leelanau Enterprise (4/23/09) has an article in the second section entitled “Survey of Hendryx Park approved.” Seems the Bingham Township Board has approved $800 for a survey and to improve the park. The legend lives on.(