August 08, 2007 Observing an 89th birthday can be sweet when celebrating as I had the joy of experiencing this past weekend. Daughter Carol told me of her plan several weeks ago knowing my feeling that "the anticipation is half the realization" in preference to being surprised.
Oldest child Lee and Lynda, middle child Carol and Bob, youngest child Alan and Pauline would like to treat me to dinner and overnight at the Thomas Edison Inn. You know my love of Port Huron. Indeed the anticipation was joyous.
Sometimes when I go to Port Huron I see nary a freighter. This weekend we were treated to many during our Happy Hour in and on Carol and Bob's room and balcony, during dinner, on my balcony after dinner and during breakfast Sunday morning. Carol had chosen room 359 for me because of its great view of the river and spaciousness of the room. It was great enjoying all this with our children and listening to the banter between brothers and sister.
If you will promise not to tell, I will share a crazy thing I did. I told my kids that I didn't plan on sleeping much. I wanted to make a nest of two balcony chairs and watch the boats and freighters. Instead, they pulled a recliner chair as far as possible through the door. Carol grabbed the blanket off the bed and I was cuddled in. I was treated to more freighters. In between them my mind wandered back to childhood years when Grandpa and Grandma Miller lived only a block from Pinegrove Park nearby and Grandpa fished along the river's edge. Of camping at Lighthouse Park campground. I tried to imagine what it looked like when Michigan's oldest lighthouse, Fort Gratiot Light, was built in 1825. I have read that Port Huron was a village of only a few families in those days and Indians still lived around Lake Huron. It was constructed just north of Fort Gratiot, an outpost established in 1814 to protect the American border against British attack. It was destroyed by a violent storm in September, 1828. The lighthouse was rebuilt at a cost of $4,445, and the light put back in service in December 1829. Because of the Bluewater Bridge I could not see the beam from the lighthouse.
At 4 a.m. I decided to jump into bed as another freighter blinked at me while gathering up the blanket.
I hope your 89th birthday was or will be as happy as mine.
— Country Cousin
Gertie is an Almont native and historian. She has been writing a local column for us for over 30 years. You'll enjoy her friendly and colorful style of writing.