Finally Making Contacts in Northern Michigan: October 9, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009
A Decision to Drive to Alpena, MI

When Richard woke at 8 am he felt better, but not 100 per cent. He was due to get a flu jab, too, but the nurses who were giving the shots thought it was best that he didn't have one until he was feeling better. We drove down to the Days Inn to check out getting a bus up to Alpena. Unfortunately the bus didn’t go until close to 6 pm. Richard said he was ok to drive me to Alpena if we did it in the morning.

Rain was falling and it looked as if I just wasn't supposed to walk. I phoned up Toni Wright in Alpena and said I would be arriving at around 11 am rather than 6 pm. She would be in all day, so everything would be fine.

As the rain fell on a wet and dull Friday Richard drove me on up to Alpena, which was a little over 60 miles.

At Toni and Burt’s House

By 11 am we pulled into Toni Wright's driveway. I thanked Richard and we arranged for me to be dropped back at his house on Sunday morning, so that I could get back to Pinconning and start walking again.

I waved Richard goodbye.

Toni had some house work to do, so I kept myself busy writing on my BlackBerry.

At lunchtime Toni's husband Burt arrived and we all had potato soup and bread. Burt had been a high school teacher and principal, but had retired around 20 years ago. Burt and Toni were lively characters and walked regularly. Toni had been a hospice volunteer for more than 20 years and had helped many people in their own homes or nursing homes in the area. I would have put Burt and Toni in their late 60's or so...I decided there must be something in the Michigan water to keep people looking so young, as they were actually in their early 80's.

The Wright's home had carvings of ducks, some old clocks and furniture that Burt had made. As we ate lunch chickadees, slate sided junkos, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers and other birds flitted around in the trees behind their house. The leaves on the trees were red and yellow and the view of the woods was beautiful. The Wright's home had a wonderfully peaceful air to it. As rain still fell outside I was glad to be warm and dry.

Toni was a wonderful lady. She asked me if I had any laundry to do and I decided to wash most of the clothes I had. Before that was done though I went for a drive with Burt and Toni to visit the two hospice offices in town and to arrange an interview with the local TV station.

Visit to Hospice of the Sunrise Shore

We visited the Hospice of the Sunrise Shore and met up with Barbara Rigg and the receptionist Alicia. Barbara was in charge of fundraising.

I had sent a box of books to the Hospice of the Sunrise Shore and I took 12 of those books so that I could do a book signing for the Hospice of Michigan at their dinner in Rogers City on the Saturday. It was good to meet Barbara and Alicia. Although I had just met Barbara I could tell she was a wonderful person.

Whilst at the Hospice of the Sunrise Shore I talked to a lady called Cyndi Spens, who worked in Rogers City. Arrangements began to be made for my visit to Rogers City and Cheboygan and on up into St. Ignace. It was good to start meeting people in the northern part of Michigan. I gave Barbara a hug goodbye...although I'd only just met her and went on over to the Hospice of Michigan office, which was just across the road. At the Hospice of Michigan office I met a nurse called Janine, a lady called Anna and other staff members. I told them that hopefully I would start walking again on Sunday and reach Alpena by Wednesday of the following week. Janine and other staff members were due to be going to the Putting on the Ritz Dinner in Rogers City, so I would get to meet them there. I said my goodbyes and we drove off to the local TV station.

Everything is Working Out

There I made arrangements to have an interview with a young woman called Stephanie Parkinson.

It was good. I hadn't walked a mile that day, but I had made contacts all the way up to St. Ignace, visited two hospice offices and set up a television interview that would air in Alpena before I walked through the area. Everything was working out...albeit not quite as I'd planned.

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