Daylight Savings Time
Don't forget to change your clocks, daylight savings time begins on Sunday, April 6th. It's spring forward time.
Ferry Runs Cancelled
to the unrelenting weather this spring, The Beaver Island Boat Company has had
Beaver Island Boat Company
It's A Girl
W. Michael and Stacey, and daughter Maia Kelly, announce the birth of Blythe Ann Kelly, born March 29, 2003 at 8:21 a.m. Blythe weighed seven pounds, eleven ounces and is 20.5 inches long. Grandparents are Debra Kelly of Atlanta, GA; Christie VanLooy of Beaver Island, MI; and Dr. Henry and Margie VanLooy of Bellaire, MI. Great grandparents are Rena Thorsen of Beaver Island, MI; Uncle Scott VanLooy of Traverse City, MI; and Virginia and Merlin Freeman of Marbleton, GA. Congratulations to Blythe and all her family.
It's that time of year again, when Beaver Island becomes deserted and resembles that old television show "Gilligan's Island" except it doesn't take a three hour cruise to get here this time of year. Paradise Bay still sports a covering of ice although it's becoming rather punky. All ice shanties have been removed and water can now be seen along the beaches in some places and even out on the horizon there's a blue ribbon of water now separating us from the mainland. For the next week, until April 7th, town is mighty quiet. I did give some thought to that dreaded phrase "spring cleaning" but that's all it was.. a thought and after looking around I decided to ignore any wayward impulses in that direction. After all, those window pane smudges and fingerprints help our returning feathered friends avoid smashing into the glass. I can also use those handprints to measure how much my kids (and friends kids) have grown over the past year. I think there's a distinct possibility that window dirt helps strengthen the glass too. Forget the duct tape and plastic, I have dirt! It's also not all that warm out there yet, last night we had snow and freezing temperatures. I think it's one of those very old state or federal laws still on the books that says it's illegal to clean anything unless it's at least 70 degrees outside. So, until it warms up some I'll listen to my youngest whine about being "the only kid on the island who isn't going somewhere for spring break".
NOTE: Ok, folks.. that WAS spring break, now we're in the middle of Mother Nature's April Fools joke. Major blizzard here, almost no visibility. I'm registering winds of 41+ on my wind gauge. IF I can get out my front door in the morning I'll get a couple pictures of what our "spring" looks like.
Notice the rake on the front porch... a few days ago Joe was raking in the yard. Man, am I ever glad I didn't wash those windows. I'll bet you didn't know that smudges and hand prints also provide much needed insulation during spring blizzards. Now I'm wondering when exactly spring will arrive.
With winter on its way out, the island fishermen are becoming antsy about getting boats in the water and running. Taking a quick drive around the harbor on Monday afternoon I discovered Melvin Napont, Ernie Martin, Sr. and Skip Duhamel "playing" in/on the water. It seems the water level is so low that Skip's boat was on the bottom so he and Ernie got it running and were trying to get it turned around. Melvin was over-seeing the project from the dock and catching lines for them. Word was that the Coast Guard may be in this week to open the harbor and they wanted to be ready. Notice on the steel walls of the dock how much lower the water level is. This is probably not the only dockage in the harbor that will need dredging to aid boaters.
International Family Gathering
It's fairly common knowledge that when there is a school vacation Jim and Donna Stambaugh's idea of relaxation is to head for their home at the end of the Kings Highway and hide out 'til it's time to return to the grind. This spring break they are truly enjoying their week off as family members arrived from Grand Rapids, Sturgis, Michigan and even from Germany. Stambaugh's swamp is echoing with the sounds of the laughter of kids, grandparents, great-grand parents, brothers and in-laws while the house is bursting at the seams and Jim and Donna can't wipe the happy grins off their faces.
Son Jason along with wife, Ute, and daughter, Amy Donna, traveled all the way from Germany to spend a week on the island. I asked Jason and Ute how airport security was since they flew over from Frankfort after the war had started. Jason said their luggage had to go through three or four separate x-ray machines just in Frankfort alone. Once they reached Chicago they had to pass through customs where it seems if you are wearing dress shoes you must remove them for checking also. Amy's belt buckle set off alarms but eventually they all made it through customs only to discover that they had missed their next connection.
Amy is a well-seasoned traveler at age six having made the trip six times. She's bi-lingual (English/German) and once she starts first grade will add French to her language repertoire. Ute is a kindergarten teacher in Germany where she met Jason while he was serving with the United States Army. Jason is a 1990 graduate of the Beaver Island Community School. They now live and work in Germany making it home to touch bases every few years - not often enough for Grandpa and Grandma Stambaugh.
Son Clint arrived from Sturgis, Michigan with Kelly and kids Brook, Adam and Kane. Brook has the honor of being Jim and Donna's oldest grandchild, which makes her even more special than she already is. The boys, Adam and Kane, have been enjoying checking out all the neat "toys" Grandpa Jim has.
Donna's parents, John and Alice Weller, of Grand Rapids are here also for a few days. It's their chance to see the great-grands before they all head back to their respective homes.
Although things may be hectic around the house for this week, every minute is being enjoyed especially by Jim and Donna, whose smiles still go from ear to ear.
So How Come I'm Late Today?
I have to admit that like many others I've become addicted to the news, both on television and online. As a result, I'm late getting this published. I normally try to have it done by 3 p.m. on Monday but with a brother and a cousin in this war I've been having to force myself to leave the television.
We've finally had news from Ron but it took over a week for his letter to arrive and was sent before his battalion was sent into Iraq. In his letter he hadn't lost that terrific sense of humor as he told my folks, "...life if pretty spartan here. We sleep on the plywood floors of enormous tents. I have my entire company in two tents at about 60 guys per tent. It's a little cluttered, but not too bad. The bad part is passing ailments back and forth. Of course the collective foot odor is almost impressive. It we could contain it, we might be able to use it as a riot control agent."
We know from the embedded journalists reports that the 2nd battalion, B-Company is part of those forces surrounding Najaf. Please keep ALL of our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers that this is over soon.
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