Life in a Northern Town

The Leeward Side

Although you wouldn't know it by looking out the window today, Saturday was a taste of summer in April. I haven't been to Madeline since last fall and a picnic on the beach sounded like a brilliant plan. We stopped at the IGA, grabbed chips, cheese, crackers and a trashy magazine (People magazine is a prerequisite for a Mary Dougherty beach day) and boarded the ferry. The wind was picking up and the ride was a little rough. Big Bay Town Park was on the leeward side of the island and I knew we were headed towards a stellar afternoon.

Charlie asked me how old he was the first time he went to Madeline Island. When I said, three weeks old, he had an incredulous look on his face. It wasn't as crazy as it sounds, it wasn't my first rodeo and Charlie was an easygoing baby. The Madeline Island 4th of July parade is a not to be missed event for the Dougherty's. A little thing like a newborn baby was not going to stop us from going to the parade and watching fireworks from the boat!

George was the only dog invited. Actually, he invited himself. He was running around the house with his Chuck-it and a terribly earnest expression on his face. He ran outside before anyone could catch him and hopped in the car. Fortunately, the Cavaliers don't share George's enthusiasm for the beach. I gave them a few treats and left them at home without too much guilt.

The kids wanted to check out the waves and I wanted to visit the LaPointe Indian cemetery. We had an hour to kill before our return ferry trip, just enough time to make everyone happy. The waves were impressive, the wind was howling and the cemetery was beautiful in its decay. Our afternoon felt like visiting an old friend, Madeline holds so many memories for all of us. Recounting our shared past experiences and planning our future visits to the pool, Grandpa Tony's or the Pub gives me a sense of place and immense gratitude for all we have been given.