Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Places to go

Is there a special place where you want to go? A place that is special because you have been there and want to go back? Or is it a place you have heard of, or read about, and want to see for yourself? There is a special place I want to go. I want to go to Hulbert, Michigan. Do not worry if you have never heard of Hulbert, Michigan, as it is a crossroad village in the Upper Peninsular. I have been there once, and want to go back.

It was back in the summer of 1984, when my father told me we were going on a trip. We had never done anything like this before, and would never do anything like this again. This was the year when my sister had died suddenly, and four years before my mother had died. It was also at this time my father began to feel the effects of the emphysema that would finally kill him twelve years later. There was a reason for the trip, but he was not likely to talk about that.

So a few days after the Heritage Festival we got in the car and headed north. We were at the Straits of Mackinac by early evening and settled into a motel. The next morning we visited Mackinac Island, and that afternoon toured the canal at the Sault Sainte Marie. I was slowly coming to realize that we were following the rout taken by my mother and father had taken on their honeymoon. This was confirmed the next day when we drove to Hulbert.

My parents had spent two nights of there honeymoon at Hulbert, bank in the 1940’s. Back then, the only way to see the Tahquamenon Falls was by ferry, and that was an all day journey. For years after, when they spoke of Hulbert they would talk of the man who ran the hotel, and owned the general store, the saloon and the post office. Then they would add that about all there was to Hulbert was the hotel, the general store, the saloon and the post office.

In silence we rode and pull in to park in front of the hotel in Hulbert. Looking around we saw there was the hotel, the general store and the post office and not much more. We entered the hotel and were greeted by a woman who seemed to be the manager. She told us the man who had owned the hotel years before had died ten years before and his wife was in a nursing home.

We stepped out of the hotel and my father stopped to stand and look around. I thought of suggesting we take a photo of the village but something inside me made me keep quit. I will never know what my father was thinking about as he stood there; he was not the kind of man to express himself that way. I wonder if he was remembering the time he spent there with my mother. Then, without a word, we got in the car and drove off.

I plan to go back to Hulbert someday, perhaps even stay at the hotel where my parents had spent time on their honeymoon. I want to go back, because it holds a special memory for me.

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