Before we discovered my “famous” relative in a store in Houghton…

Yesterday, before we discovered my “famous” relative in Houghton, we visited Charlie in L’Anse.  He’s our garbage man.  Since Waste Management deserted our community, we’ve become friends with Charlie.  You pay him $2.00 per garbage bag.  He treks the bags down to Green Bay or someplace south.  In Skanee they host a “Breakfast with Charlie” once a month.  No kiddin’.  Your garbage man and breakfast.  Who would have thought they go together?

Then we drove to Houghton.  Stopped first on top of the  Magnuson Hotel.  Who knows if that is really its name?  The name is always changing.  We used to call it “The Thirsty Fish”.  Here you could buy a beer, or a glass of wine, or munch on a jar of pretzels.  You could look out over the Portage Canal and admire (a) the ice, (b) the ski hill across the canal or (c) the old copper mining buildings in Hancock.

You may enjoy our view, if you wish.  You may imagine what it was like to live in the Copper Country during the zenith of the copper mining industry.

You may peer down on the frozen ice and wonder if the snowmobilers are safe.  You may admire the way the flag blows in the wind.  You may remember summer days when you sat in this seventh story bar/restaurant and watched kayakers and boaters on the canal.

You’re obsessed with snapping photos today, aren’t you?  Usually you won’t bring the Canon Rebel inside restaurants and grocery stores and co-ops, but tonight you’re Daring.  You’ll snap almost 100 photos during your six-hour shopping trip.  You won’t care if people look startled when the flash goes off.  You’ll feel happy.

Watch out for those husbands, though!  They’ll grab the camera when you’re not looking and take YOUR picture.  Be very careful!

Of course, you’ll grab the camera back to take pictures of hotel windows in perfect symmetry.  Because you are amazed by patterns. 

And then you spot bicycles covered with snow.  “Pull over!” you exclaim.  The driver pulls over.  You photograph the bikes.  You wonder when the riders will re-claim them.  You wonder when winter will disappear. 

On to the Keweenaw Co-op!  Check our grocery list.  Almonds, organic greens, oregano, peppermint tea, jasmine tea, almond milk…  OK.  Check, check. 

How we love the Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock!  How lucky we are to have it…

On to Recycling.  Waste Management has a recycling center in Houghton, so we bring our recycling here.  Today we had boxes and boxes of old catalogs from the little school where I work.  “Barry, you wouldn’t mind dumping them in the bins while I take your picture, will you?”

Now, dinner.  Aren’t we hungry?  Yes, we’re hungry.  How about Joey’s Seafood?  What do you want?  I want the Baked Haddock with its delectable crust of crushed Ritz Crackers.  Yes, a side of vegetables almondine and wild rice and your delicious corn muffin.  Barry, do you want the fish tacos?  You do?  Excuse me.  I am going to take a picture of the people in the front of the restaurant and then look around innocently pretending it wasn’t MY flash that disturbed the diners.

Next stop:  Econofoods.  Food we couldn’t buy at the Keweenaw Co-op.  Aren’t we having fun taking pictures of vegetables and boxed goodies and assorted groceries?

Isn’t it amazing how an ordinary shopping day can be this much fun??

But wait–it’s about to get better.  We’re about to see our “famous” relative in a store in Houghton.  (I’m sorry, dear reader.  I have posted too many photos.  You shall have to wait until tomorrow to see her.  But it’s true.  We spotted her!  And we are very happy to have found her…Mom and Dad, just so you know…we found her!)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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34 Responses to Before we discovered my “famous” relative in a store in Houghton…

  1. Hmmmm…. now you’ve piqued my interest! Who could this famous relative be?? Are people actually RIDING those bikes right now, or are they parked there for the winter? Occasionally, I see someone riding their bike in the snow, and I always think they’re crazy!!

    • Kathy says:

      Well, Holly, my mother and father couldn’t figure out who this famous relative might be…so I think you guys shouldn’t even try to figure it out! And remember. I put the word “famous” in quotes. I am wondering if they are riding those bikes, too. One of the bikes looked like the tires were snowy and well-traveled. Most of the others looked well-parked.

  2. Barbara Rodgers says:

    It’s so much fun spending a day doing errands together – thanks for the peek into your errand day! That’s one nice thing about shopping in the winter – you don’t have to worry about the food spoiling while you make lots of other stops. Those veggies look so cheerful and colorful, a salad sounds good about now! Wondering about your famous relative…

    • Kathy says:

      Did you enjoy our errand day, Barbara? I had such fun showing all of you! You are right–in the winter you don’t even need to bring a cooler (unless it’s freezing and you’re worried about the vegeables turning to ice.) Don’t get too excited about the famous relative. She isn’t anybody we can quote–yet. lol! “Famous” is in quotes.

  3. barb says:

    I think I may have eaten there – at Joey’s Seafood. That same couple was flirting at the reception desk. Also, you should go to Breakfast with Charlie – that would make a great post!

    • Kathy says:

      I am sure that very same couple was there, Barb! And, you know, you’re not the first one to suggest a Breakfast with Charlie post…just might have to do that one of these days.

  4. Karma says:

    I love “slice of life” posts. Fun to see how folks “out in the woods” live. Never thought of doing my own post of this type. Not a lot of quirky interesting things to show here in suburbia I suppose!

    • Kathy says:

      Karen, I never thought of it before, either! I’ll bet you might find some fun quirky things even in suburbia…why don’t you give it a try? I’d love to see.

  5. Sybil says:

    I love the shot of hubby dumping the magazines and the effect of the movement of them as they flip into the bin.

    Karma — stuff happens in suburbia too. I’m pretty sure you have bikes, recycling, restaurants and grocery stores … it’s just a matter of putting it all out there in your own words and pictures.

    • Kathy says:

      I just got done typing those very words to Karma/Karen, too, Sybil. I’m suspecting that it might be interesting if we can see our experiences with a “beginner’s eye”. If we pretend our own garbage/grocery store/restaurant are the most interesting places we’ve ever seen. (I liked the way those magazines looked, too.)

      • Karma says:

        An interesting thought, Kathy! Here’s a question for you, since you and I came to owning our Rebels within months of each other, have you gotten over feeling odd in public places with your big camera? I went to lunch during my photo scavenger hunt at a local restaurant with a friend, and although I had toted Andre along, I ended up leaving him in the car, feeling like I’d be too conspicuous bringing him inside. And wouldn’t you know, I missed a couple of cool shots because of it.

        • Kathy says:

          No, I have not gotten over feeling odd in public places with my big camera. These pictures are the first time I said “to heck with this uncomfortable feeling! I’m going to do it anyway.” It must be something that we have to overcome. It’s funny. Even though more people looked at me and the camera, they did so in a friendly way. Although one lady nodded understandingly and said, “New camera, right?” I didn’t correct her.

  6. holessence says:

    Kathy – I love the photo of the produce section (under the bicycles), and the couple in the diner. They’re all great, but those two really grabbed my attention! I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again — YOU LIVE ON THE CUTTING EDGE!

  7. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – These pictures are wonderful! The second picture took me back so many years to when I was a kid visiting my great aunts in Hancock. I could feel myself standing there taking in the scene. They were “maiden ladies” years ahead of their time and would entertain us by reciting poetry or singing a song or sharing a tale. One of them wrote for the local paper and made us laugh with memories of her train on her dress getting caught in the bridge as it was lifting. (tho I’m still not sure how that could happen)

    I love your garbage guy and that you go to such lengths to recycle. Your world is truly a precious one and is an example to us all in its importance of people actually connecting. I long for that connection and thank you for bringing me into this rich and authentic experience. Have a fantastic trip!

    • Kathy says:

      I am trying to picture your maiden aunt with her dress getting caught in the bridge…that is the lift bridge, right? How funny! Sounds like they were fascinating ladies. You were lucky to spend time with them–and that you remember their tales from childhood.

      We do go to extensive lengths to recycle. I truly believe in wasting as little as possible. Isn’t it fun how an ordinary shopping trip can actually seem so extra-ordinary when we slow down to truly see its connections and small beauties?

  8. jeff vanderhorst says:

    Nice pics! we sometimes stop at the keweenaw co op after our requisite trek to the Michigan House cafe in Calumet for lunch. cool place. are you going to take in the Copperdog races? hope so , would love to see some shots of the dogs and mushers!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I was just thinking (while walking to the mailbox) how everybody has their requisite trek to their favorite places. We haven’t been to the Michigan House for years. Did you know that folks from Skanee owned it for a while? I am sorry I’m not going to the Copperdog races. 😦 Darn, it’s the second sled dog races I’ve missed this winter!

  9. Susan D says:

    Each picture is a story unto itself! How delightful! I had so much fun tagging along – thank you! JOOOOEEEY’s, too. Was a delight to see you today! P.S. I think I know who the “famous” relative is …

    • Kathy says:

      You know who it is! I am still beaming in delight at your magnificent memory & sleuthing skills. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the picture-stories, Ms. D.

  10. Val Erde says:

    Wow! In my current state of brain (tired) I don’t know what to say, other than, Wow! And… the pic of you is great and the pic of the food is great and the pic of the building windows is great and… and…

    • Kathy says:

      You must have been up late last night, Val. Hope you are feeling more lively and awake today. I was awake for a good hour or two in the middle of the night, but was able to sleep in to compensate. Thanks for enjoying the pics!

  11. Dawn says:

    I was thinking the same thing, that every photo was a story. I love taking pictures of ordinary things in a new and interesting way. Or sometimes just to share their ordinary beauty. Loved all the photos, though I did think the magazines falling was kind of cool. And the hotel windows. And of course the shot of the copper mine buildings across the Portage…because that one brought back memories. Loved the bikes too. Oh heck. Loved them all!

    But after all that I didn’t get to find out who the famous relative is??? NOT FAIR!! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Dawn, the extraordinary beauty of ordinary things… Glad you liked that “action” shot of the magazines falling into the recycling bin. And I am always so happy to show you pictures of the Houghton/Hancock/Keweenaw area! Sending you down Memory Lane. Sorry about the famous relative tease. ha ha! (I liked that headline so much…)

  12. P.j. grath says:

    You know I love your photographs, Kathy, so you won’t mind that my favorite today is the one Barry snapped catching you in the mirror. Looks like something from a children’s storybook.

    Love your garbage man story, too. We had a wonderful garbage man around here for years. Everyone loved Walt, the “garbologist.” He had that painted on the side of his truck, and he always had a wave and a smile for everyone. Here’s the proof of the pudding: When he died, the post office closed during his funeral so the postal employees could attend.

    Don’t you love life Up North?

    • Kathy says:

      He took two pictures of me in the mirror, Pamela. One came out looking a bit blurry so I doused it in sepia because it described the movement and magic or our errand-quest. Glad you liked the magic of it! Walt, the garbologist, sounds like a wonderful person! I am thinking that some highly enlightened human beings decide to reincarnate and collect our garbage. Just a theory, but it sounds like a good possibility.

  13. kiwidutch says:

    Since I delight in the Everyday, letting people see how I live and enjoying to see how others do the same, but differently… you know I LOVE this sort of post 🙂
    I’m delighted to see your recycling efforts, I love Charlie and want to hear about the breakfasts, the views out of your windows are so different to those out of mine.

    • Kathy says:

      kiwidutch, I am glad you liked this! The orindary can be so extraordinary (have just typed this at least three times…) Once I did a post about What We Ate Today. May attend a Charlie-breakfast one of these days… Thank you.

  14. john says:

    Between you and my two sons who made it to town through all the rain between here and L’Anse, I am turning glow in the dark green with envy. I want to be UP North (No Tracy, you may be pretty cute, but I am talking geographically, not about your office) I want some pastys and Roll from the Hilltop! I want to stop in at the co-op on my way to Eagle Harbor to watch the dog sleds come through. On the way back I want to have a beer at the Library and watch the ski lift. (I have to be at work at 8:00 AM … six hours from now, I better get to sleep!) God I am turning in to such a whiner!

    • Kathy says:

      John, your sons are in L’Anse? Wonderful! I hope they enjoy their Hilltop rolls. I am sorry you could not come with them… I am sorry you have to be at work. Sigh. Life is tough. (By the way, have you ordered off the Mexican part of the Library’s menu, yet? yummy!)

  15. Sounds like my kind of day… busy, but fun! I’m not brave enough to whip out my camera at the grocery store, and in restaurants I always dial up the ISO so I don’t draw attention with the flash.

    • Kathy says:

      Mrs. Click, I do not know how I got brave enough to flash away on Thursday. I never even thought to dial up the ISO. that would have worked, too. I remember how blase I was about taking pictures with Ms. Sony Cybershot. Snap, snap, snap. If courage is needed, we have to be strong! There are places to go, people to photograph! lol…I sound like a commercial.

  16. Colleen says:

    Hi Kathy, this is one of my favorite kinds of day!

    I’m reading a new book and this sentence has stayed with me…. and came to mind as I read your wonderful blog today.

    “I’m learning to slow down and look for the beauty in my days, for the mysteries and the blessings woven into everything, into the very words we speak”.

    Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That is a beautiful quote, Colleen. That sentence would be a wonderful blog in itself. Just to slow down and look for beauty in our days. It’s there. We simply have to open our eyes and mind and look with “beginner’s eyes”. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, too. Our sun is shining right now.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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