The Flip Side of the Tour Book

by Betty Jo Riggs / Sep 05, 2011 / 0 comments

The Flip Side of the Tour Book

It's Labor Day weekend, and the residents of our little haven on the shores of Lake Michigan are beginning to relax.  Oh, the fall season is upon us when all the organizations start up again and school begins and church choirs return to their lofts and September's calendar is already filled.  But we're relaxing, some of us for the first time since June.

We are so lucky to live in a tourist mecca.  We don't lament when it rains because we can hike, fish, hunt, suntan, barbeque some other day.  We feel sorry for the campers in our midst when their one week turns watery, and they're sitting in a leaky tent.  We're smug because we'll be here next week and, theoretically, we could take part in those leisure activities if only we weren't quite so busy being tour guides and running our private, free B and B's.

Don't misunderstand me.  We're glad, very glad, that our tourist friends come to visit.  We're happy to show them our favorite spots, suggest our favorite restaurants, relay the history of our town.  We never tire of experiencing the wonders of our region with others. We're thrilled when family wants to come because it's not only Family time but FUN to come to our shores.  And, we rejoice with our merchants when some out-of-town dollars are banked.

Not many UpNorth Michiganders spend summer any place but home.  We're convinced Michigan is the only place to be.  While others are sweltering, we're enjoying cool breezes from the Big Lake, sparkling waters, blue skies (mostly), green lawns, shady forests, rippling streams, sandy shores, and picturesque light houses.  We love to share with family, friends, and even strangers.  We're happy, but we're tired.

So this Labor Day weekend, we're relaxing, catching breaths, and looking forward to quieter times.  By Tuesday, the fleet of boats in the harbor will dwindle, the beach will be all but deserted, parking spaces will abound, the fridge will contain only leftovers, and I can sit for a spell and enjoy.  I offer this poem as I sprawl in my wicker chair, all alone on my front porch, and reflect on my summer.

The Season for Tourists (a pantoum)

After two months, 3 dinner parties, countless trips to the grocery, 21 breakfasts, beds for 13, 4 tours, 17 towels--but who's counting?

I love to see them come,
The aunts and cousins and sons and daughters.
It's vacation time, you see.
They unfold from the car and drag luggage to unpack.

The aunts and cousins and sons and daughters
Strew shorts and sneakers, sunscreen and salad dressing
They unfold from the car and drag luggage to unpack.
McDonald's cups spill sweetly on the carpet.

Strewing shorts and sneakers, sunscreen and salad dressing,
Guests saunter in and occupy every available chair,
Spill McDonald's cups sweetly on the carpet.
Mopping, laundering, catering, and shopping:  My Life.

Guests saunter in and occupy every available chair,
It's vacation time, you see.
Mopping, laundering, catering and shopping:  My life.
I love to see them come-----and-----go!

But have I mentioned how lovely our autumns are Up North?  Y'all come now, you hear!

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