For twenty-plus years my mom and dad made the early spring departure from the warm sunny south to their home in southern Michigan to live as they had always lived in a small farming community. Having never strayed far from their deep roots in the Ohio farmland both know the rhythm of life on the farm by heart.
A year ago last June mom suffered the stoke that ended their retirement travels and living as Texas-Michigan snowbirds. Both mom and dad now live permanently here in Texas where two of my five siblings and I reside. We have always known that the day would come when one or both of my parents would need the help of close family to get by and live through the last of the golden years.
My dad has hunted in Michigan's upper peninsula (U.P.) for more then half a century and about seventeen years ago he purchased a small cabin ( truthfully it was half a cabin) in the woods north of Crystal Falls. From that point forward "Birchview" became our family vacation destination. Mom and dad expanded the cabin year after year so it could accommodate our growing family.
To be so far off the beaten path and still have indoor plumbing, a half bath, two sources of heat (gas and wood), a kitchen and dining area, two cozy living areas and a sleeping loft, this became our home away from home. Mom and dad would make the 600 mile drive north to the cabin about 4 times a year. First trip would be in May to open the cabin for the summer, then another trip in August or September and then maybe October but they were always there in mid-November for the deer season.
Brother David probably logged the most hunting time up at the cabin as he made sure dad and mom would have company for the deer season opener that always falls on the 15th of November. I made the season opener 6 times and each time I brought family and friends with me. So many good memories that would never have happened if mom and dad hadn't invested so much in that little cabin in the woods...
Being so far away from our home in Texas and knowing we simply cannot make that 1500 mile journey often enough, we have sold our cabin in the woods. It's true that life goes on and there will be other memories made but none so precious as those made in that special cabin in the woods of Michigan's U.P.
For the first time in many years there will be no Bill Tedrick (My dad) present in the cold north country around the Net river and "Birchview" our cabin in the woods. It is not all bad though judging from the weather conditions around the 15th of November in Crystal Falls. The average southerner has no idea what to do in sub zero "off the grid" snowed in conditions. If we had made it back in to our cabin before the storm we might not make it out for weeks....