Happy New Year!

Let's all celebrate our blessings in 2003

Thanks to my drummer - see the article below - who shared the flu with me, I was unable to leave my worship of the porcelain goddess to take pictures.  Luckily, my son was able to find someone who was willing to give it a shot.  Very, very special thanks go to Amy Epperson and Jesse Moore who took all the photos of the New Years Eve activities.  Poor Amy and Jesse had to deal with a camera they knew nothing about and the very few directions for operating it she had were passed through a couple people.  They did very well considering that they were given the camera about ten minutes before they were going to need to use it.  Thank you again, Amy Epperson and Jesse Moore!

I staggered out of bed at 4 a.m. when the rest of my family came home and was informed that celebrations at both the Hall and the Shamrock were down in numbers compared to other years.  

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Congratulations, Hilary!

The Beaver Island Fire Department Auxiliary Drawing for the 2002 Artic Cat Snowmobile was won by Hilary Palmer.  Can't help wondering if she's going to allow Mom and Dad a ride on it if we ever get snow.  Congrats, Hilary!

Ahhh, the Glory of Christmas Morning Thanks to Mr. Santa

Christmas morning and Mom and Dad are enjoying that last few minutes of sleep, then the youngsters pounce on the bed, giggling and saying, "Come on, get up, Santa's been here!"  You stagger out, tap your foot with impatience as you wait for the coffee maker to deliver... it occurs to you to simply shove some of those Columbian Roast beans into your mouth and start chewing for a quick wake-up and the kids mantra becomes, "Hurry, hurry".

I had this mental picture of a happy family gliding into the family room with Mom and Dad wide awake and kids dressed in cute jammies with drop-seats.  Somehow that never happens at my house, especially this year.  We sort of crawled out of the bedroom (having been up until 3 a.m. trying to bring into the house and figure out how to wrap one particular gift that MR. SANTA purchased and neglected to tell MRS SANTA about until it was already here.  NOTE TO FUTURE MR. SANTA'S WHO WANT TO MAKE POINTS:  Do NOT do this unless you have already moved your recliner, television and your 47 remote controls to the doghouse.  

Our youngest had presented us with her "wish list" well in advance of the holiday.  It was pretty reasonable except for one item which I figured she wouldn't get.  On my shopping expedition I managed to get her wants covered after talking to relatives about what they were giving her.  That one "big" item was NOT on my list and so I came home, relaxed, wrapped gifts and gave a sigh of relief the whole thing was covered.  Then Christmas Eve arrived.

We attended the Christmas Eve service and even the surprise wedding of Marilyn Clark and Dave Duda.  We came home and after some nagging, talked the youngest into getting ready for bed.  Of course we got the typical 13 year-old response, "I'm not tired yet", but she did head to to room and after checking an hour later, found her sound asleep.  Now we could start doing those "secret" things... like trying to remember where the heck those "safe" hiding places were where we had stuffed gifts.  One we couldn't find will probably turn up around Easter.. maybe.

It was at the precise moment my spouse announced that he had hidden a gift and would need our older daughters help in getting it into the house.  Ahhh, what could it possibly be?  Just what every family needs who has a 13 year-old... a complete drum set: bass drum with foot pedal, two tom-toms, a floor tom, snare, high hat, cymbals.. all the stuff to make plenty of racket.  Let me tell you, I was thoroughly thrilled with the prospect.  I was assured that included with the set were a type of "mute".  Of course the set was too large to completely wrap so one small drum was selected and wrapped to go under the tree and the rest were hidden in our bathroom.  I was terrified to make a visit to that particular room once we went to bed in fear of walking into some part of it and waking the neighborhood.  Needless to say, by morning my back teeth knew every single verse of "Anchor's Aweigh".

Morning arrived with Andrea chomping at the bit by 6:30 a.m.  Joe and I slithered across the floor into the family room as the girls began digging through their stockings and we chewed our coffee beans.  Then the gift opening time arrived.  Now just imagine what that was like as Andrea opened that wrapped snare drum to discover a note attached saying the rest of her gift was too large to fit under the tree.  There was a sprint to the bathroom to see the rest of the gift and everything had to be suspended until it was moved to the front room and set up.  I staggered along behind dribbling coffee beans down the front of my robe, still only half awake.  That lasted about .05 seconds once the drums were in place.  Andrea sat down and proceeded to pound away.  She's enjoying the heck out of her gift.

Yesterday, four days after Christmas, my son, Michael, said, "Mom, did you ever think of getting your hearing checked? I've repeated myself a couple times."  Well, duh, Mike... those cotton-picking drums are about 6 feet from my computer.  Next year I hope Mr. Santa decides to get our youngest something like cotton towels... they don't make noise, do they?  

P. S.  The mute doesn't "mute" much, but Andrea has taken to them like a duck to water.  She may just become the female Gene Krupa!

Walter Edward Smigel 1915 - 2002

Walter Edward Smigel formerly of Southgate, and summer resident of Beaver Island and Bay Shore, died at Sunnybank Assisted Living Home in Petoskey, December 25, 2002.

Walter was born in Detroit, March 8, 1915 to Stanley and Mary (Kotlarz) Smigel.  He had great success as an amateur boxer in his late teens and won a Detroit Free Press Golden Glove Championship.  Walter served in the Army during World War II and saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines where he was wounded in action and received a Purple Heart.  He also received a Defense Service Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with three Bronze Battle Stars and the Good Conduct Medal.  Walter retired from General Motors in 1980 where he was employed as an instrument repairman.

Walter married Jean (Bissell) in 1953 in Petoskey, she preceded him him death in 1974.  In 1979 he married Nora Dagernais, who preceded him in death in 1996.  He was also preceded in death by three brothers: Frank, Louis, and Edward.  He was a member of the V.F.W. and American Legion, and enjoyed his friends and many a pool game.  He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, archery, and feeding and viewing wildlife.

Walter is survived by his stepdaughter Susan (Ray) Bice of Bay Shore; granddaughter Leslee (Woody) Pearson of Charlevoix; grandson Bill (Shannon) Bice of Bay Shore; and 5 great-grandchildren, all of whom loved him and will miss him, and are grateful for the wonderful Christmas Eve they shared.  Walter is also survived by stepsons, Bob (Della) Dagenais and family of California and Ed (Emma) Spenchuk and family of Windsor, Canada who remember Walter as a good and loving husband to their mother.

A service for the family was held at Winchester Funeral Home in Charlevoix and burial will be at Brookside Cemetery.

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