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A Shared Experience Became the Last!

Updated: Feb 28

The Craziness of Covid!



While August of 2021 would be a pretty uplifting time in our family, September would cause everything to come crashing down. COVID, or more specifically, the delta variant, was still the talk of the daily news. There were various hot spots in the United States, and it seemed to hit the less-vaccinated states the hardest. The promise of a typical summer was anything but!

A picture of a deep fryer cooking up fish.

Spectacular Whitefish Fish Fry! (media by Jeff Clos)


As had become a family tradition, our family would attend my wife’s family reunion in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s a pretty unique situation as the relatively large family travels from all facets of the country to stay at the limited amount of motel rooms, cabins, or park their RV’s at the centralized campsite. We passed on this experience in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic but felt more secure this year as we had been vaccinated, and the festivities are outdoors. I always have to arrive early Friday to partake in the annual fish fry; the team of cooks is frantically cutting up potatoes to complete the fish and chips portion of the evening’s available smorgasbord. We are constantly on the offensive to keep my son from overindulging. To be fair, I am just as bad!

Gazing up at a majestic Sequoia tree.

Michigan Champion Giant Sequoia (media by Jeff Clos)


After a lovely weekend with the family, we leave our kids with my wife’s parents and head back home. We part with plans to meet up with them in Manistee several days later to do an excursion and relieve them of their grandparent duty. It’s a nice break from parenting, and the kids get to spend some quality time with the grandparents. My mother-in-law had wanted to see the Giant Sequoias in Manistee, and it was news to me to hear such trees existed in Michigan. Seven of these trees, carried in a coffee can, were brought to Michigan in 1949. Three are still thriving as of today. The Michigan Champion Sequoia tree is a youngling at 72 years of age in the grand scheme of things.



Lake Bluff Farms took over the Audubon ran establishment several years ago and has done an outstanding job bringing the house up to today’s standards. We spent some time with the owners who plan on turning the place into a Bed and Breakfast. As luck would have it, they were preparing for a wedding to be administered the next day. We met the bride and her team, who were prepping the facility for this special occasion. Just behind the house, they also have a Champion Sycamore Maple. Adorned with an excellent sign and towering in all of its glory, it is somewhat satisfying seeing something this tall in Michigan.

Large Sycamore Maple tree with the sun shining through it.

Michigan Champion Sycamore Maple (media by Jeff Clos)


What we will never forget from this trip is the pleasant experience we shared with my wife’s parents. My wife’s mother always stated, “Life’s experiences are best when they are shared with others.” I know I will never forget this simple phrase in the future. As I had mentioned in a previous post, not more than a month passed, and this vibrant, strong woman was taken from us in a “breakthrough” case of COVID. I look at the picture of this tree (above) and can’t help but think of her.

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