Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Emma's first visit to the Clawson Cottage
We've been traveling again this past weekend, this time to the Clawson family Cottage near Traverse City, Michigan. I've been going to the Cottage almost every year since I was Emma's age, and now we've started taking Emma there too. It's a fantastic place - 100 acres of secluded land on one of the few largely undeveloped lakes in the lower peninsula of Michigan. It's the kind of place you can go and just feel completely surrounded by nature.

And yet there are also all kinds of fun things to do there too. Besides hiking in the woods around the cottage, going for boat rides on the lake, or just laying in the hammock reading, we also take trips out to Lake Michigan to go swimming, or to the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes to go climbing or just to see the scenic view 450 feet over Lake Michigan from the top of the Dunes. We took Emma there this past weekend.

We also took her swimming at our favorite beach, the Platte River, right where it empties into Lake Michigan. The great thing about that beach is that you can swim in the lake, which is freezing cold, but then run back across the sandbar into the river which by comparison will then feel like bath water. Floating down the river, carried only by the current, is another fun thing to do at the Platte. After the beach we stopped by the ice cream shop in Empire, MI before heading back to the Cottage for dinner.

Our main reason for being up there in Northern Michican was to attend the Sternfels Family Reunion on Saturday in Gladwin, MI. That would be my dad's mom's side of the family. But of course, since we were up in that region anyway, we had to take advantage of the opportunity to stay at the Cottage for a few nights. I know grandma and grandpa Clawson were definitely pleased to get to spend the time with Emma.

On the way home we also stopped briefly at Center Lake Bible Camp where I spent my teenage years as a camp staff kid. It was fun to see all the improvements and changes that had been made in the past 10 years since I had lived there, and it was especially good to see some old friends like Jeff and Judy Thorn (the Maintenance Director and Horse Ranch Manager respectively) as well as Duane Whitley, the Camp Director and my old youth pastor. After our stop at CLBC, we continued on towards Chicago, stopping for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Cafe Gulistan, in the southwest corner of Michigan. It's a Middle Eastern restaurant owned by a Kurdish refugee, Ibrahim Parlak. The food is outstanding. You may have heard of Ibrahim on CNN or Nightline, as last summer the Department of Homeland Security arrested him and threatened to deport him to Turkey, for no reason other than the fact that he spoken out for Kurdish rights against Turkey back in the 1980's - the very reason that he had been allowed to come to America as a political refugee in the first place! But now, under our new post-9/11 security state and the Patriot Act, America was trying to rescind it's welcome and label this upstanding citizen and father a terrorist. You can read all about his friends' and neighbors' fight to free Ibrahim here.

posted by Mike Clawson at 10:44 PM | Permalink |


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