In 2005, the weather was terrible and flying was not an option on Christmas Eve during the day. Island Airways called all those who were on stand-by (and hoping for clear weather) and told them to head to the boat docks both on the island and in Charlevoix. Margo Marks and Kevin McDonough, in the meantime, gathered up employees to man the docks and crew to operate the ferry. All these folks gave up spending Christmas Eve with their loved ones so that everyone would have a Merry Christmas.
The Emerald Isle left the island with 22 aboard bound for Charlevoix about noon on Christmas Eve. Those twenty-two would not have been able to spend the holiday with their families without the special trip. Once in Charlevoix, folks lined up for the return trip with 47 as the final number as she set off for the island arriving about 6 p.m. to cheers and holiday music blasting from a boom-box set outside the office on a bench. Car and truck lights lit up Whiskey Point and then the dock as the Emerald Isle glided into her berth. According to several passengers, Christmas carols were sung a good share of the way and probably with more feeling then ever before.
Add to all this the fact that Postmaster Michelle Dreffs came into the Post Office on Christmas Eve (after six o'clock). Michelle opened just the bags that contained packages and then notified the recipients so that any last minute gifts could be placed under the tree in time for Christmas morning. Not many mainland Postmasters would do that.
Eleanor LaFreniere was a poet, musician, organist, and songwriter who lived for years with "Bussy" LaFreniere in the white house next to Ed Wojan's Realty building. She wrote a "Hymn to Holy Cross" to mention only one of the many.
Dear Holy Cross our Island Church,
Your sounds we love so well,
From your chimes that o'er the harbor ring,
To the tolling of your bell
That bids us come and worship
As a group of one accord,
To help and love our neighbor,
And to serve and praise our Lord!
To be thankful for His blessings,
For truly He did smile,
When erecting you, dear Holy Cross,
On our beautiful Emerald Isle!
Dear Holy Cross, O may we share
In memories you've saved?
How you welcomed us with open arms
From the cradle to the grave.
You have witnessed First Communion,
Our Confirmation, too;
Your wedding bells were pealing,
Steadfast were our whole life through!
Dear to you are all who serve you,
at your fee petitions lay,
Our prayers for you ascending now,
On this August Dinner Day!
M is for the music we hear on Christmas Day.
E the lofty evergreen, "A Christmas Tree," they say.
R is our Redeemer who was born that nigh, and
R is for the ribbon to wrap a gift just right.
Y is for the Yule tree that stands so straight and tall.
C is for the Christ-Child, who was born to wave us all.
H is herald angels who were ling'ring near.
R is for the ringing of Christmas bells so clear.
I is for Israel, a land of mystery.
S is for the Savior from all sin he set us free.
T is for three Wise Men; a star led them the way.
M is for the manger where the Bably Jesus lay.
A means Alleluia, a word of praise to you.
S is saying, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Too!"
And, the same holiday greeting, Eleanor LaFreniere, to you.
It was a very sad day when the sisters were no longer going to teach in the Beaver Island Community School, and they left to go back to Marywood. The farewell took place in July of 1991. It's hard to imagine that was sixteen years ago. The Dominicans had served the Beaver Island Archipeligo for more than one hundred years.
(These pictures are by Gerald LaFreniere.)
In the first week of September 2007, our volunteer fire department went out to do some training. It's not that unusual for them to do the training, but these pictures show the volume of water and the new equipment working, which most of us don't get to see.
As this demonstration of just a few pictures shows, our volunteers are ready for anything.