June 17 • 01:05 AM

Port Huron offers a view to the river

October 15, 2008
First, a public apology to Great-Grandson Jager Land. In last week's column I told of Jager shaking hands with General Shoemaker and saying, "Thank you for saving us.'' My ears betrayed me and Jager said, "Thank you for serving us.''

This past week Mother Nature treated us with her gradual changing of summer's green to the glorious orange, yellow and crimson of fall. Saturday morning I left around 10:00 for Port Huron to pick up my family picture at Proper Framing that was taken by Kelly Stanley of "Shooting Stars of Almont'' at my birthday party. I was in awe of the beauty as I neared Port Huron. On the way home in the afternoon, the beauty seemed more intense. It could have been the slant of the sun and there was a better view of the many woods in the distance.

A trip to Port Huron is never complete without a visit to Pine Grove Park, the scene of many childhood memories. Grandpa and Grandma Miller lived only a block from there (now a parking lot for the hospital) and brother Roy and I always spent a week visit- ing them in the summer. At this hour of the morning the park was nearly empty. One picnic table held two women who were holding an animated conversation. I drove slowly past the empty spot that once held the swimming pool where Grandpa took Roy and me. He always sang a little ditty that contained the words, "hang your clothes on a hickory bush, but don't go near the water.'' I parked opposite the site that once held the pavilion where the Salvation Army held band concerts on the upper open-aired but roofed floor. Beneath we bought ice cream cones or a Black Bottom candy bar.

I hadn't been parked long, still reminiscing childhood memories when a freighter nosed its way from Lake Huron into St. Clair River. I walked the cement sidewalk and stairs down to the river's edge. Nothing that fancy 'way back when. We had to cross railroad tracks and scramble down a dirt bank to watch Grandpa fish. If there were steps, I don't remember them. I loved watching the freighter make its way under the bridge and then swing the stern around to make its way down the river. I would love to take a trip on a freighter, watch the captain negotiate the turn from the river to the lake or, vice versa...better yet, let me take a turn at the wheel. I get dubious glares when I make that statement. I have friends who have won two trips on a freighter...two! I told them that wasn't fair, they should have given me one of their trips. John Tregembo said he wasn't the least excited when they won the first trip but, was totally hooked on the trip. They were treated royally, ate at the captain's table, and then, won another trip. I have bought enough tickets to buy my way. John was a former lighthouse keeper at the Rock of Ages Lighthouse, situated on a piece of rock in Lake Superior.

All was quiet as I stood at the railing on the river. Only the whispering sound of the river water pushed aside by the bow of the freighter. Then the lap, lap of the small wake as it reached the cement wall. About that time the officer in charge of the Huron Lightship Museum hoisted and saluted the flag.

At one time I tried volunteering as greeter on the lightship but, crazy as it sounds, I got seasick...and I wasn't even on the water or could see water. I have never been seasick on the water. It was rather warm at my little station and the floor slanted...anyway, I had to take my dollies and go home. How disappointing.

The Huron Lightship salutes the freighters with its one long and two short whistles and they usually whistle back. I was lucky to see four freighters that day. Two saluted back, one stuck her nose in the air and ignored "Little Toot.''

I ended my visit with lunch at the silver Powers Diner. It has a '50s decor complete with that era's music. I sat outside on its terrace. That is when I saw my fourth freighter. The diner is at the south end of Military St., on the west side.

I never go to Port Huron without being in awe of the fact that we are so close to the river with its freighters and a short distance from Canada.

If you are able, do take that short trip and enjoy one of the great beauties of our Water Wonderland.

— Country Cousin

Castle Creek
06 - 17 - 19
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