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Royal Oak Tales: Mothers Make the World Go Round

Mother's Day 2012 has come and gone, but there is no way on this green earth I'm going to miss the opportunity to give a holler to all the moms out there.

I've written past columns about all the mothers I knew growing up, who opened their kitchens and refrigerators to a host of their kids' friends—adding a plate to the dinner table in addition to their own six, eight, 10, 12 or more children.  

Here's to all the moms of families small and large, such as the Bells, Fitzpatricks, Calverleys, Brancheaus, McEntees, Moores, Ouellettes, Roys, Smolinskis, Richards, and Schmidts. I truly could go on and on saluting all the older, younger and in-between moms out there.

As the lovely Kathy points out, if men were required to have children, as soon as the word got out about the difficulties of nine months of pregnancy and the little matter of actually giving birth, there simply wouldn't be any more babies.

We celebrated Mother’s day with three generations of mothers, including our two daughters, Shannon and Moira (via Skype), Kathy and my mother Rita Boylan.

I asked my mom what her expectation was on Mother's Day.

"I'm almost 90 so there's not much use in buying me any more gifts. But God help the child that doesn't call me or send a card to their ever-loving mom!"

My observation is the gifts that bring tears to young, old, and-in-between moms is the handmade card or painting or a coupon promising one day of perfect behavior. I'm no mother, but I know my mom still has the wood box with badly painted butterfly that I made for her on Mother's Day when I was 10 years old in her top dresser drawer with other memories of her children.

Let me offer my day-after Mother's Day thank you to all moms with wisdom and grace under pressure. There is an expression that getting old is not for sissies. I'd add that motherhood is not for the faint of heart or the selfish. True motherhood, those mom's that place raising children above all else, are at the core of everything good in this old world of ours. Thanks moms!

A Different Vane: Wind Power has New Fans

In a different vein, your intrepid columnist took the road less traveled on this recent trip home from up north in Leelanau County this past week. I am typically not a back road guy. I like to get where I'm going in the least possible amount of time and yes, I know taking the time to smell the roses is a much less stressful way to live.

On this particular day, Kathy had mentioned that on recent solo trip up north, she was detoured off M-115 and found her mini-van on a back road smack dab in the middle of a battalion of colossal windmills.  If you drive on M-115 in the spring or winter, less than 10 miles east of Cadillac, on the north side of the road, you may have caught a glimpse of these immense wind turbines.  Kathy's detour had brought her up close and personal to dozens of these big fellas.  

"I felt like I was in some kind of a science fiction novel," Kathy said. "I'm driving on a dirt road detour in the middle of Michigan farm country and as I reached the top of the hill there were these giant white windmills as far as I could see. It was wild!"

So, on our drive home we guesstimated that McBain Road was the correct left turn and within minutes we had found the wind farm spread over miles and numerous farms. It is a remarkable sight.  

We found Sandy Pluger tending to some chores on her family dairy farm and she was kind enough to give us the history of the windmills. She told us that over a decade ago a wind energy company started talking to farmers about leasing space on the farms to put up windmills to harvest electricity. She said they had done extensive wind studies and that the farms were not only in the highest elevation in Missaukee County, but that the wind patterns were ideal for windmills. One by one, the windmills went up, dotting the landscape like giant missiles with propellers.

Mrs. Pluger told us that her recollection was there were 38 windmills. It was a fairly windy day, but we couldn't hear any noise coming from the whirring massive blades. Sandy said on a very windy day she could hear a whoosh, whoosh, but it was less noise than you would hear from a tractor in the fields.

It was a strangely impressive and eerie sight as we drove through the beautiful, elevated farmland through these giant sentries. I'd recommend the detour! If you’re interested, below is a link to a map that will get you there.

It's Monday: Let's go!

Click here for a map to the wind farms.

Chuck Schmidt May 14, 2012 at 02:50 PM
What a nice way to remember our mothers! Back in the old days, moms were home and one of the many tasks they performed was the welcoming committee when children came home from school or simply brought some friends by. That was usually followed by the suggestion of a little food. It was never any trouble and soon a plate of delicious goodies was presented to the group. Great memories of so many moms making sure we were well fed and stayed out of trouble. I fear the current generation will never experience the love and caring a simple "hello" and snack can provide. Happy mother's day to all of the mothers of my youth!
Jerry McEntee May 14, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Thanks GB and Chuck. Excellent way to remember Our Wonderful Mothers and many life long memories.
Gerry Boylan May 15, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Thanks, Chuck and Jerry...ah, our moms!
Ernie Mahar May 15, 2012 at 02:16 PM
About those windmills, how much did the leases bring to the farmers? How much energy is generated, and where does it go? Who does the periodic maintenance and can the locals tap into the resource? As for the mom's, enjoy them while you can, they are irreplacable.

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