The past week, I’ve been spending time with my mom near Charlevoix, Michigan, in a small cabin on a lake loaded with loons.
The lake, not the cottages.
Sure, the large aquatic birds with a “whoop-whoop” yodel have their notoriety.
But it’s the fudgies, FIPS, fanny packers, and their offspring that give summer cottage their quirky memories.
Take for instance, the pack of feral children that move like a pack of hyenas from one cottage to the next.
You can spot them coming by their scent of Deep Woods Off and howls of “Who wants to play Kick the Can?”
While the males shoot arrows at Faygo bottles filled with water, the females employ creativity making something more than s’mores.
We paper-mached a man using Bisquick, to be the target.
Mini water bottles filled with blood (made out of canned beets and ketchup), were stuffed into his pants.
His oversized butt is courtesy of the weekend edition of Detroit free press
There’s a loony legend of Muffin Man to trump worn out ghost stories told at campfires.
Muffin Man’s been hanging in the hills of the Charlevoix area since 1981. He’s the child of Betty Crocker and Pillsbury Dough Boy.
The scariest thing is this: Muffin Man eats small children who leave their wet swim suits on the bathroom floor.
With parental permission and guidance, Muffin man was tied to the dumpster where kids shot arrows at him until he broke into two…severing the muffin top from the bottom.
Now all that’s left of muffin man is a memory.
As for other loons?
To be continued.
Yeah, most American things are made in China today, including the All American Girl Doll. But American heroes will always be made in America.
And over Independence Day weekend, my favorite WWII hero died.
My Uncle Charles.
He was the favorite Uncle of all of my nieces and nephews.
Uncle Charles had a player piano, every game Milton Bradley created plus a barber chair that spun around like ride at the carnival.
If that wasn’t enough, he had real live ponies he’d saddle up to ride.
As a kid, my Uncle Charles made my mother do his paper route, paying her a penny on the dime.
She’s still a bit tiffed about that.
But when WWII rolled around, Uncle Charles joined the Air Force and became a B-17 Tail-gunner, part of Squadron 413, the 96th Bombing Unit.
He would talk about eating Hershey’s bars on the plane, flying at 20,000 feet where they would freeze instantly in the below zero air.
No chocolaty mess there.
But then Uncle Charles plane got shot down during a mission over Germany. He had to bail out as the plane nosedived down.
When he jumped, he had two things: a small bible his older sister gave him stuffed in his pocket and,a faulty parachute.
First, his parachute wouldn’t open. After a few punches, it bloomed into a jet-puffed marshmallow. To avoid landing in telephone lines, Uncle Charles steered into a tree where he hurt his back.
Local German farmers gathered around the tree waving pitchforks at Uncle Charles. They locked him in a small chicken coop until German soldiers came.
Uncle Charles became a POW at Stalag 7A outside of Munich.
He told us how he had to eat grass soup and rock hard bread, fantasizing about those frozen Hershey’s Bars.
He was released by Patton two months later.
These WWII experiences made Uncle Charles passionate about his faith.
So over the years between pony rides, spins on the barber chair and playing Racko!, Uncle Charles would hand out mini bibles out to everyone, from waitresses in a five-star restaurant to strangers on the street.
He’d even make sure hotel rooms had one on the stack of yellow pages.
But all that changed on July 1st . Uncle Charles was one of the twelve hundred WWII vets who died that day. His life was honored with a 21 gun salute on July 5th. You can read his obit here.
So if you see a vet, shake his hand for my Uncle Charles.
Or better yet, slip him The Great American Chocolate Bar.