Threads of connection

Post 41/2021 Saturday 9 October . . . Sometimes the threads that connect lives–past to present, in the moment, present to future–surface in unexpected ways. Here’s one: The day after I finished reading The Paris Library I read a column in The Newberry Times, titled “Just Bill,” Bill Diem wrote about his recent attendance at the annual gala in Paris of the American Library in Paris.

Bill Diem is a seasonal resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He wrote about the party but opened by noting that the board chair, Forrest Alogna, said libraries are the original think tanks. In Diem’s words, “In antiquity, collections of books attracted scholars who studied them and came up with new thoughts. The internet and the hand-held telephone computers that dominate urban life today are the result of basic research in the 1950s, he said. Those scientists had no reasons to think that their research might result in anything useful; they just wanted to understand.”

What’s happening in libraries today, Diem said, “is preparing social and scientific changes that would be obvious 70 years from now, and maybe not until then.”

Here I was in Curtis, Michigan, sitting next to our copy of The Paris Library, reading a column about the annual meeting in Paris of the American Library Board in a local newspaper, The Newberry News.

Good, happy, memorable threads to Paris, to the immigration of part of our forebears from France in the mid-19th century, to readings about WW 2, to visits to Paris, to a yen for a café au lait. Threads that draw us together through books.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The week produced other threads of connection. Our visit to the north was to see the splendor of fall colors as we revisited favorite places where we’ve been before.

In addition to oohing and awing at the multicolored trees and forests, I was thrilled to read the book, The Hidden Life of Trees (borrowed from the Curtis Library). Sure, I knew that trees get their water and nutrients from their roots, but I had never been so directly confronted with the idea that trees are like human families, living together, communicating with each other, supporting their offspring and sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling.

If you’ve read the book you may feel like I do: aha moments are just a page turn away. I’ll leave it at that. I must further mull over the inner workings of trees and forests.


Curtis is a village located in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, sandwiched between Little and Big Manistique Lakes. Our cabin was on the shore of the smaller lake, big by any other comparison.

The Curtis library, a gem.
A moth attached itself to our cottage door. I’m not sure whether the protruding tongue was a sign of hunger or some other message.

Grand Marais

Grand Marais is a village on Lake Superior. We spent a day in the village and surrounding area. The village has sidewalks, which Curtis lacks. Grand Marais has the air of a destination place, a spot to enjoy in its own right and a base from which to explore the area forests, dunes, rivers, falls, and lake.

For a fascinating account of this structure in Grand Marais, look up The :Pickle Barrel in Wikipedia.
Grand Marais harbor.
Our favorite restaurant in Grand Marais, West Bay Diner, served up a tasty bowl of seafood chowder and a real Cornish-like pasty. We also got the latest book by owner Ellen Airgood, Tin Mine Road (August 2021).
Coffee served from a 1966 VW bus topped off an afternoon wander around town and the Lake Superior beach.


A visit to the Ben Franklin store in Manistique gave me the “thread connection” notion. Seldom have I seen such a large number of bolts of cloth, thread, and other sewing supplies as were on offer at Ben Franklin. Marty got a Sudoku book.

We went to Manistique, an hour’s drive from Curtis, to get Covid-19 tests needed for our entry into Canada to visit family after two years. We subsequently filled out the online ArriveCAN document and crossed the border at Sault Ste Marie, with an overnight stay in Sudbury before heading to southwestern Ontario.

Words of wisdom

Vivid images remain with us, in photos, books, and the wide-ranging precautions required for travel–as in staying at home. To enter a restaurant in Ontario you need to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination. Thank goodness, how else would we have had a nice noon meal in Thessalon and a butter tart for the road?

Thread on.


4 thoughts on “Threads of connection

  1. What a beautiful time of year to see the sights. Aunt Vera comes to mind. She would always remark at the beauty of Gods art work when seeing all the autumn colours bursting forth.


  2. Small world between The Paris Library and The Newberry Times! Good to know Canada requires proof of vaccination and the wearing of masks to enter a restaurant. Did you see the giant nickel in Sudbury? Enjoy your family time that is long overdue!


    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower. —Maxine Shonk, OP



    1. No nickel sighting this time, Monty. We were too fixed on finding our way to the hotel. Family time has been fantastic!


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