These are interesting times we’re living in, aren’t they? The COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping across the globe, and it seems we’re all affected one way or another, whether it’s worrying over loved ones, not having a job to go to anymore, or watching those retirement accounts shrink to nothing (one silver lining of not having money is we don’t have to worry about that!).
But there are other worries. Since we are in the immunosuppressed category here on Bluff Road (Tim takes anti-rejection meds for a liver transplant and has other multiple health issues), we are pretty much hunkered down here for the duration. But we did make a trip to town a few days ago for provisions, and drove down Front Street in downtown Traverse City.
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It’s eerily quiet and empty. I’m not sure if all the stores are closed, but there certainly wasn’t much traffic. The State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay are closed on the governor’s orders. The restaurants are closed except for take-out orders. Things have screeched to a halt down there – which is a good thing, as the idea is for all of us to stay home and help to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a.k.a. the Corona Virus.
See the full list of Michigan closures here, along with OMP closures, cancellations and other options. Here are a few photos from our downtown excursion.
Life at Old Mission Gazette World Headquarters
Tim and I have worked from home for the past 30 years, so not much is different on that score. We get up, feed the birds, feed ourselves, stoke the woodstove, and walk across the room to our computers. But one thing that IS different is since I cover so many OMP meetings and gatherings for the Gazette, it’s odd to not have things to go to every day. I miss seeing my community face to face.
I’m not sure how our income will be affected, because the Gazette is a reader-supported newspaper. So if you guys have no income, we probably won’t either! (Thank you to those who’ve continued to support the Gazette these past few weeks – you can do that here if you’re called to do so).
Then again, we never know whether we’ll make the mortgage every month anyway, so nothing will change there either. Somehow, it always seems to work out one way or another. As I like to say, we’re not homeless or hungry. Not yet anyway.
The OMP Trails Are Waiting
One thing that always helps me get through troubling times – of which there never seems to be a shortage, even during non-pandemic times – is to get outside and soak up some fresh air and forest time. Fortunately, we have no shortage of beautiful trails on the Old Mission Peninsula, always waiting, always ready to console us when life gets heavy.
And we are so blessed and lucky to have those trails to turn to, whether times are joyful or hard. Even if you’re not able to walk for any distance, it’s always good to get outside and get some fresh air. Take a little walk around the house. Drive to the lighthouse and soak up the water vibes of West Bay. Drive to Haserot Beach and sit on Don Sargent’s bench or the Ostlund bench for a few minutes. I promise you’ll feel better for doing it. Here’s a photo of Old Mission Point from Haserot Beach a couple of days ago.
Here’s a photo from yesterday’s walk at the Lighthouse Trail. There’s a bit of snow on the trail, but parts of the trail have no snow, too. And where there IS snow, there’s space along the side to safely walk. It’s not particuarly slippery. Totally walkable. And perfect for social distancing.
One reason I love the Lighthouse Trail so much is because not only do you get that awesome forest karma, but you also get the calming waters of West Bay (even when they’re turbulent!). Here’s the beach at the second turnoff as you’re headed towards the lighthouse. There’s a trail from here to the lighthouse, and from here back into the woods on the other side of the road.
And, of course, our beautiful Mission Point Lighthouse.
Forming New Paths and Caring For Each Other
On the trail yesterday, I noticed one spot where there was a bit of brush on the trail. Hikers had instinctively formed a new path that went around the brush, into the woods, and back on the trail. Maybe that’s what we have to do right now. Form a new path until we get to the other side of this.
That might mean not getting everything we absolutely want at the grocery store. It might mean trying new recipes with things we have on hand. It might mean using up stuff that’s been in the pantry for a while. And of course, it means not going to the places we’re used to going.
Growing up in a fairly self-sufficent OMP farm family, I tend to have a fairly good supply of things on hand, so I guess some of this comes naturally to me. My dad would be proud that I still have apples stored in the basement from last fall’s harvest. (He was famous for his apple storage.)
It means thinking about what’s really necessary. What can we do without? How can we re-purpose things for different uses? Think back to our ancestral farm families. How would they handle things? What DID they do during times of crisis and pandemics? Now would be a good time to read some of those stories of yore, like Tim’s interview with Marty Reay. His dad, Chum, was a model of self-sufficiency.
One thing we can all do is check in on our friends and family and neighbors, and see if they need anything. Fortunately, a phone call is the best way to practice social distancing, and some folks, especially those who live alone, will be happy to hear a voice on the other end. Check in with your church and see if they have a support plan in place.
As for my church, Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church, Wendy Warren has offered to take calls for anyone needing groceries, etc., and will work with the church folks to make sure needs are met. Wendy’s number is (231) 590-2363. The church phone is also being monitored – that number is (231) 223-4393.
Order Take-Out If You’re Able
As we all know by now, Gov. Whitmer ordered the shut-down of Michigan hospitality businesses like restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries. The executive order, which took place on Monday, March 16, mandates a two-week shut-down on table service and bar service, and no more than five guests are allowed entry into any hospitality business for the next two weeks. But for many folks in our service-oriented Traverse City area, that means no jobs, no income, no tips, no nothing.
How can we help support our local restaurants and wineries during this time? Many are offering take-out service, and that’s true for most of our Old Mission Peninsula eateries, including Peninsula Grill and Bad Dog Deli. The Boathouse is currently closed, but re-working their menu to accommodate take-out orders. Old Mission Tavern has not yet opened up for the spring. See more details about our OMP take-out options here.
Most of the wineries are also offering take-out or curbside orders, and tickets for the annual Blossom Days, which was to take place on May 16, are postponed until further notice. They are not canceling the event at this time, but are instead postponing ticket sales and will assess the situation as the date draws closer.
Have faith, friends, and feel free to leave your own thoughts and tips in the comments section at the bottom of this story.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb