Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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The tiny Upper Peninsula town of Grand Marais, Michigan, recently won the Reader's Digest "We Hear You America" contest. In the linked article, there is a picture of my husband's brother, looking like a typical "Yooper." If you read the article, you will understand just how momentous this occasion is:  Grand Marais has a year-round population of only 300 people. And most of the momentum in their contest win was generated by ONE person, Janie Dowe.

Grand Marais is our 'home away from home.' It was our honeymoon destination. It has been our vacation destination for the almost 28 years that MSK and I have been married. Every 4th of July, we gather together with our growing extended family. We have property there, family there, history there. I have watched their struggles with the erosion that has inexorably filled in their beautiful harbor - one of very, very few "harbors of refuge" on the southern shore of mighty Lake Superior. My kids have grown watching the bay shrink, wondering when, or IF, anyone would stop it.

From the early fur-trading days, to the logging boom, to the mining boom, to today's present tourism, Grand Marais has invented and re-invented itself in numerous ways. Unlike so many other U.P. towns that were built around a purpose, Grand Marais has survived, mostly because of that beautiful - and necessary - harbor. Today, there is year-round reason to visit... fishing; hunting; boating; snowmobiling; cross-country hiking and skiing... and the town supports and encourages it all. Without the harbor, however, the town will lose one of its mainstays, the marina, along with the public beach where kids play by the hundreds over the course of the summer.

Now, Grand Marais has the opportunity to get noticed on a national scale. The plight of the town and the harbor will get nationwide coverage as a result of this monumental win. It's not so much the monetary prize that's going to be the clincher in this fight, it's the national attention that will be garnered. FINALLY, Grand Marais will get the attention of the legislators that they've lobbied for over 50 years. FINALLY, their story - one of rampant inefficiency and abandonment by the Corps of Engineers - will come to the fore. FINALLY, we may see justice and salvation for the tiny town that COULD AND DID.

Okay, so I'm waxing poetic over what is essentially a backwater in the overall scheme of the nation. Still, it's these pockets of rugged (and, believe me, to survive the winter up there, you GOTTA be 'rugged') individuals, stubbornly committed to their survival as a community, that hearken back to the days of the Mountain Men, the loggers, the miners, the hard-working, everyday heroes that built this nation. That spirit persists, and is renewed in each generation, no matter how far they may roam, to this day.

Yeah, YOOPERS ROCK, and so does Grand Marais!!!!!!
PS - Sorry that there's no cut, but I wanted to be really 'in-your-face' about this whole thing... it's THAT big a deal to me.

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