Clare County Review & Marion Press

Pat’s Bits and Pieces-Good times/bad news all on the same weekend

A trip to Gun Lake, complete with leisurely pontoon rides, the annual Maurer Reunion, and two of my family members being hospitalized made for a wonderful beginning and a scary ending to our weekend visiting Jack’s family.
Every year on the first Saturday in August, the Maurer Clan and assorted Weavers and Beldings gather at the pond on Jack’s Grandpa’s old farm in Allegan for a picnic. Of course, the grandparents and parents are all gone now except for one Aunt in her late 90s and unable to attend the annual gathering.
So, it is mostly cousins and they (us included) are now the oldsters in the family. Jack’s oldest cousin is now 80 and we’ve lost two of that family of five siblings to cancer and one of Jack’s brothers is gone now as well.
Still, it was nice and we enjoyed seeing most of them again and we all had a lovely picnic lunch before heading back to Brent (Jacks brother) and Cathy’s place on Gun Lake, where they (as retirees) live when they aren’t at their place in Florida…
Living on the lake certainly has its’ perks. And although they sure have had more than their share of problems, it just seems a little more relaxed than our current lifestyle. I mean who wouldn’t want to take a nap on the pontoon on a hot afternoon…?
Beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the water, pontoon rides around the lake and just relaxing make for a great time – and I even won one of our many dice games this time (Jack won one too!). We really look forward to getting together with them regularly every summer and take turns visiting each other.
Unfortunately, our weekend down there had a down side this time, when we found out that our sister-in-law and Roscommon camper neighbor Marlene was in the hospital with COVID and several other problems that had her kids – and us – very anxious for her. Now she seems to be recovering but is still hospitalized after getting some heart stints and some other things that have gone wrong taken care of.
Shortly after a talk with her, we learned my brother Jim (the only sibling I have left now) is also back in the hospital, where a planned surgery was scheduled, completed and he was released and sent home briefly before an unplanned problem, possibly a mini stroke, sent him right back in again the very next day. Naturally my feisty brother is NOT happy with that situation…
Since Jim lives in Stevensville, down by Benton Harbor/St Joe area, and Marlene in Ocala, Florida, all we can do now is wait for phone calls from their kids to tell us what’s going on. Hopefully we will be able to drive down and see Jim this weekend, if he can have visitors and if he feels up to it.
Meanwhile we wait for more news on the family grapevine, just hoping it will be “good news.”
It certainly has been a strange summer for this part of the family. With my respective family members getting older (Marlene in her 80s and Jim at 90), I guess we have to expect some things to happen, but I know I’m always surprised and I’m never ready for the scary stuff. Besides being family, they are both close friends of ours and I would like to keep them around for a few more years….ten or 20 at least.
A note: Thanks is due to Virginia Dalton, who stopped by the office one day last week and left me a letter and a recipe for Low Fat Cheese Cake that sounds just wonderful. She even sent one of the ingredients for it, a package of sugar free lemon Jello! She read my “Munch, munch, munch” column and declared herself my “munchie angel to the rescue” with a recipe that is “sooo good.”
I can’t wait to try it Virginia, and thanks again for your thoughtfulness.
Virginia and her long-lost boyfriend were the subjects of a love story, in an article of mine in 2015. She met her first boyfriend in 1963, but he was in the Air force and was ordered to go overseas on a mission. The years went by until Virginia and Darrel finally found each other again 63 years later. He moved up to Farwell to be with her in the fall of 2015. She said, “Just after Christmas, he died here in my home – and in my arms, a victim of Agent Orange.”

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