May 19, 2024

Jo-Anne Rosalyn Schneider’s Sparkling Life

Of all the facets that God and heritage cut into the diamond that was Jo-Anne Schneider’s stylish life, the one I always found memorably amusing was her quick, unreserved assessment of everything. I call them Joanyisms. Years ago, for example, I bought an old farmstead in the forest of northern Michigan, close to the Great Lake. It was a place to spend summers and eventually to establish a home in what I considered a glorious …

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Mercedes Lilienthal’s Epic Rally – Writer, Driver, Navigator, Wife

The Alcan 5000 is a peculiar sort of motorized competition undertaken in the dead of winter from Washington State to Anchorage, Alaska with stops through Canada’s northern territories and the Arctic Circle. If it’s not as familiar as the Iditarod, the classic Alaskan sled dog race, that’s because the Alcan 5000 does not measure speed even though it also crosses immense distances over some of the planet’s most rugged territory. Rather, the Alcan 5000, which …

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Ron Gianola’s Masterful Show at Dennos Museum

HONOR, MI — The one unmistakable element in Ron Gianola’s arresting “Passages” paintings is his command in brush, knife, and single pigment colors to produce abstract images endowed with energy and motion. The Passages collection, which Gianola started about a decade ago, has a readily available narrative expressed by freedom from constraint and realized through free form rhythm. The paintings are a visual declaration, much like Gianola’s other artistic expression as a jazz drummer. The …

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When You’re In Your 80s, Why Wait? Dodie Toman and Fred Snow Make A Commitment

Dodie Toman, who lives across the street from us, came to the house on a mission the other day. First, to gift us with a fresh-baked lemon meringue pie. And second, to explain her virtue as a practitioner of old-school dating principles. “You know when we told you about the first time I stayed over at his house,” she said. “Well, he was a perfect gentleman. And I was a proper Methodist lady.” As she …

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Haverford Reunion

Here’s a sweet story of friendship, family, and love. Every five years my close friends from Haverford College gather for our class of 1978 reunion. These are don’t-miss affairs for me, and for them. Memorial Day weekend marked our 45th reunion. I attended this year because those friendships produced entirely unanticipated virtues. In March, Gabrielle scheduled hip replacement surgery two weeks prior to the reunion. Our email train includes the fellas and their wives, all …

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Deer In The Garden

Water is not my beverage of choice. That is, until deer started eating my lilies. After I balked at online chemical repellents that cost as much as $199, Gabrielle reminded me that deer wouldn’t eat anything sprayed with urine. I began chugging water like it was a cold lager on a hot day. I now collect the non-toxic, organic, aromatic waste stream daily in wide-mouth kambucha jars. Every evening the contents are liberally poured onto …

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Keith Scott, Chicago Bluesman, On Tour

Before the country scrambled itself into an almost unrecognizable mess. Well before actually, there was a place on Chicago’s South Side called Theresa’s Lounge where every weekend the city’s best Blues were played in a deep song voice and a melancholy tone. Junior Wells and Buddy Guy were regulars. So was James Cotton. I was once at Theresa’s in 1982 with a friend when Cotton walked in off the street, took his spot on stage, …

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Brandon Rushton’s Examined World

“When the celestial passes close everybody will stop and want to be the comet.Maybe then the type of mattress won’t matter.”Brandon Rushton from What If There’s Something Out There BENZONIA — Brandon Rushton, who is 33 years old and a poet of national distinction, writes with the awareness and power of a young man determined to diagnose America’s endemic bafflement. His collection of essays and poetry, “The Air in the Air Behind It,” was published …

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Yvon Chouinard’s Gift to Northwest Michigan

Earlier this month, last week in fact, Yvon Chouinard announced he and his family are changing ownership and management oversight of their company to enable more investment in securing the global environment. It’s a novel and enlightened business strategy for Patagonia, executed by a man who’s led an adventurous life of real value to the world. I write this to note that Yvon brought his gifts to my home region in Northwest Michigan in 1999 …

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Moving In To Benzonia

It was chilly and sunny the April day earlier this month when the truck from Kentucky arrived in Michigan. It held all of Gabrielle’s belongings. Over the next several hours we carried them into the Benzonia house. Though we’ve been married nearly five years, this transport of furniture and appliances, books, clothing, and all manner of other goods formalized a momentous change in our lives. For the first time we’d be living together at a …

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