Dreams do come true. Steve Mulkerrins, grew up alongside Galway bay. As a young boy he watched the fishing boats ply their trade. For almost twenty years he was surrounded by the boats and fisherman in his hometown of Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. Then he came to the states and worked in Chicago, but he never forgot his roots nor those lovely Galway hookers. No, they aren't ladies of the evening, they are the working boats named for the type of fishing done there, hook and line, of Galway and Mulkerrins made his dream come true by building one and plans on making the capstone of his dream the sail from America into Galway bay... going home.
Tied up at the old Gillespie dock sits the St. Barbara, named after Mulkerrins mother. The shape of the ship is reminiscent of Viking ships. The style evolved to suit the rough waters of Ireland's western coast. No figurehead is on the bow, no working ship had them. The St. Barbara is almost 47 feet long, 16 feet wide, and the mast going 46 feet into the air. She's built with white oak from County Wicklow along with a variety of other woods. She is truly a work of art and love which was born in a Chicago warehouse.
The owner and crew were kind enough to let us aboard to see her up close and what a thrill it was. Rich Gillespie was on hand along with Dale Cull and Jerry LaFreniere, Sr. Karl Felix stepped aboard to marvel. Eventually the St. Barbara will head for New York and then on to Ireland and Galway bay but most likely they whole trip will not be this year. I would imagine that at every port she'll be looked at with wonder by those who still have their dreams and they will know that it is possible for a dream to become reality.
By the feel of the weather, it should be fall. Summer only lasted about two weeks. The trees are beginning to turn, indicating that their growth period is over for the year, but the wildflowers are still around although some are beginning to fade. These little bits of bright color are so striking against the grays and browns of the shorelines. Certainly all of them can't be captured, but it only takes one or two to bring a smile and a rememberance of being a child and picking a handful to take "home for Mom".
I've made a profound discovery: school shopping is exactly like Christmas shopping except that it takes place in August! which make the major difference being that you can get sunburned doing it instead of frost-bit.
We got aboard the ferry and headed off on the adventure. Of course taking the ferry at the end of summer means it's packed with folks heading home. On our trip it was loaded with a large group of young people who had been at the biological station at Sand Bay. Of that group there were at least six gals who didn't seem to be able to speak except in high squeals that several times broke the sound barrier.
My daughter really wanted to shop at a mall. Absolutely not! It's bad enough that I have to shop period but I am not going to go into a building and be completely surrounded by stores, no way. However I did give her a choice... Walmart (my favorite store is right next door - Office Max) or Kmart. I can handle that and maybe a RiteAid tossed in if necessary. I had tried to get her to agree to shopping online but she didn't bite so off we headed for Petoskey.
Now parking isn't quite as bad in August IF you don't stay too long. The heat buildup in the parking lots of these huge stores can melt the tires right off your car. You shop until you're ready to drop, having to use your cart like a bumper car in the aisles, and then deplete your funds in one fell swoop at the checkout. Gasping from shock you head to your vehicle and load up the trunk. Staggering around to the door, you open it and discover that the interior is equal to 3,825 degrees and any CDs you had left are now cute little saucers that probably only Martha Stewart could find a use for.
Actually, Andrea was pretty good. School shopping this year didn't include things like piercings or tattoos. She did get a pair of shoes that I, as the mom, figure will kill her feet within about 20 minutes but I sincerely doubt that she'll complain since she "had to have them."
So we're ready for the new school year and I am NOT setting foot within 32 miles of any large store for at least four months and if I play my cards right I can do any other shopping right here from my desk.
Those passengers on the 5:30 ferry from Charlevoix on Friday 8/27/04 saw a spectacular cloud formation. Everyone's response was "I have never seen anything like this!" It was approximately 7 pm as we approached St. James. The impression was that it was mountains or hills covered with snow. Then the formation turned dark and began moving south. The temperature dropped off at about that time also. The James R. Barker crossed our path just prior to the above, so we felt the trip was not an ordinary trip.