All That You Can’t Leave Behind

My parents did something over Labor Day weekend that they haven’t done in more than 40 years.

They stayed home.

Because they didn’t have anywhere to go.

You see, for just about as long as I can remember, most of our holidays and vacations were spent in Standish, Michigan, at my aunt’s lakefront house, that eventually became my mom and dad’s after my aunt passed away in 1991.  But the care and maintenance – and the expense – became too much for my parents to handle so they put it on the market.  There was little interest until mid-June when the real estate agent called to say she had a buyer.

I stood in my parents’ kitchen, dumbfounded, as they told me the news.  They had tried to sell the place for the better part of the last 10 years – it had been on and off the market all that time and there were never any serious inquiries, aside from the one person who wanted to rent it and not buy.  My folks said no to that deal.  But suddenly there was a buyer – the price was agreed upon and in a few weeks’ time it would no longer be ours.  And a chapter in my life would close.

The house in Standish, which no longer belongs to family.

The house in Standish, which no longer belongs to family.

In the late 1960’s, my aunts Frances, Bertha and Virginia, along with my uncles Steve and Frank – all of my mom’s siblings, with the exception of my Uncle Eddie, who visited several times – bought property on Beachwood Drive on Saginaw Bay.  They built cottages.  They planted gardens.  They bought boats.  I remember the first time my parents took my sister and me there – we stayed in my Aunt Frances’ cottage, which was not finished.  There was only particle board on the floor and it was not yet hooked up for electricity or water.  We sat around in the evening by candlelight.  My parents were worried that us kids would be afraid, but we thought it was cool!  We were a little disappointed when the cottage had electricity the next time we visited. Continue reading

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I Should Be in Traverse City

My vacation started precisely at 4:00 PM Friday, but it should have started 24 hours earlier.  On Friday morning, I was supposed to be in my car headed north to Traverse City, on my way to Red Wings‘ Training Camp, and Friday night I should have been relaxing in my hotel room, getting ready for the first day of camp.  But I’m not.  Not because I couldn’t afford it or didn’t get reservations.

I’m not in Traverse City because there is no hockey.

Back in 2004, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman locked out the players in order to get a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league.  The lockout lasted all season – an entire professional hockey league season was lost because the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.  In the end the players gave in, agreeing to a salary cap, a 24 percent reduction in salaries, and a whole bunch of other stuff, just to avoid having the lockout go into a second season and, ostensibly, to prevent a lockout from happening again in the future.

Yet here we are, eight years later, and we have another lockout.

Continue reading