Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lost in the Woods

While I'm remembering the trip Ellen and I took to Northern Michigan, I have to laugh about the differences between us. It's one of the great joys in my life, as well as a wonder, that we got to be such great friends. I often thought we'd end up killing each other before our teen years ended, but sibling rivalry can end, and maturity is possible before senility.

Mentally I've traveled back to that rental car we drove through the woods. Our reason for being in the area was a big family reunion. We had left our own families behind, and flown into the Twin Cities and rented a car, figuring we'd see a lot more and have more fun if we did some driving together. This was the scene of many childhood memories and we would capture all we could. We got lost.

We were looking for Kitchy-Ti-Kippy, a clear bottom lake we'd loved as children. We missed a turn, and if we could have turned around, we would have been fine but the road we tried to turn around on was too narrow. It appeared to loop around back to the main road, so we decided to follow it. It got more and more narrow as it wound around, with the trees closing in on the car until branches nearly scratched the paint.

Ellen, as driver, was hunched over the steering wheel, trying to make us smaller. She wasn't happy, but I won't go into details on that. Meanwhile, I was riding shotgun with my trusty Canon on my lap, window down and leaning out the window trying to take as many photos as I could while she crept along. Suddenly we came to a big enough clearing for me to ask her to let me get out for a minute for some better photos. There have been other times in my life when people have looked at me as though I had lost my mind. I tend to ignore those looks.

As I stepped from the car, I heard two distinct sounds. The power locks engaged and my power window quickly rolled up. That got my attention, and so I stayed in front of the car — not that I really thought she'd just leave me there. After I took my photos, I went back to the car and stood there. She looked around carefully, then unlocked my door. What was going on? "Obviously, if you're stupid enough to get eaten by a bear, I'm not going to join in!"

Did she think the locked doors would have stopped a bear? Well, I'll admit that any bear, having eaten me, would probably no longer have had much of an appetite.

We did eventually find that lake, and took photos, which proved to our mom that it was there. She had sworn we made it up. She had no memory of it. And we all survived our trip — even the rental car.

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