When gales of November come early

I woke up this morning, saw snow on the ground and noted that the temperature was in the lower 30s. Dressed appropriately for walking: turtleneck, polartech vest, outer shell of crappy old ski jacket (no, I didn’t go to REI this weekend); holey old cotton spandex leggings (the ones the kids hate); Chaco sandals with polartech socks. I took my walk. Everything was all right. The usual walkers/runners/dog-walkers. No encounters of the skunk kind. No ice anywhere. Nothing slippery. No big deal. A little snow dusting the grass leaves. So what? It’s November and this is Michigan. I got home and turned on NPR and they were babbling about black ice and closed freeways in the Daytwa area. Hello? It is *that* slippery? They didn’t say anything about Planet Ann Arbor area freeways but Daytwa is close enough to home that I opted to take the slow route to work via the “back” roads today. Probably unnecessary but why tempt fate?

It wasn’t until after I had arrived at work that I remembered that today is a holiday! Today? Y’all are thinking, “You are a crazy old bag. Tomorrow is the holiday. November 11th. Veteran’s Day.” And you are right and no one knows that better than me, since I am married to one o’ them thar slackers over at the EPA. Mad scientists all of them. (Just kidding, Big Brother. [insert cheesy grin here]). But he does work there and he gets to have tomorrow off and go gallivanting around while I slave away. Nevertheless, I will go to my grave remembering the date that the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, 17 miles from the relative safety of Whitefish Bay. November 10, 1975.

I’m not sure the Fitz was one of The Engineer’s favorite boats but he was there listening to his multi-band radio the night it sank. Listening to the Arthur Anderson calling over and over for the Fitz to answer. Silence. And yet, the Fitz is certainly not the only freighter ever to sink in the Great Lakes. There were many and The Engineer was frequently the first to point that out. But this was a big one and it happened in our lifetime. Not too many miles away from Fin Family Moominbeach.

The photos? No, the Mackinac Bridge has not been bombed by a terrorist. These photos are from 1957 or thereabouts, when it was still being built. I scanned them from slides taken by Grandroobly, who was flying with his friend Sandy Sanderson in Sandy’s airplane. The fuzzily handsome guy in the third pic is none other than Grandberry, aka Donald McKenzie Finlayson, aka my grandfather. Purchaser (with friends) of Fin Family Moominbeach. He was born in 1888, before there were airplanes. But his son (Grandroobly, my dad) flew them. I remember flying with my dad with my grandaddy in the plane with us. Sigh.

I am outta words now. And here I didn’t think I *had* any words today. Naaaawww. Anyway, these pics are not that great but if you click and click again, they will enlarge to their full size.

Edmund Fitzgerald and other lost Great Lakes sailors, rest in peace,
Kayak Woman

3 Responses to “When gales of November come early”

  1. Margaret Says:

    My husband loves that song about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I have tomorrow off too, as an official “teacher slacker.” Wow–your temps are way colder than ours. I felt a little chilly today and it was about 60. Be safe on the ice–I HATE the ice.

  2. Pooh Says:

    Thanks for the picture of Grandberry, as well as the construction shots of the bridge! Someday you should post the reason you called him Grandberry in the post. Those G4s and G5s need to hear the story too.

  3. Jay Says:

    Very cool pictures. I recognized Granddad and then wondered if I was right. That was before I saw what the pictures were from.