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Draplin Design Co., North America


Opened the eyes at 8:30, sharp. 5 hours of shut-eye. Pretty good, considering the cramped quarters and general disarray of the rig. Completed that last stretch of highway 2 and made it across that big bridge with no incident.

048. “Lake Michigan, cold and gray.”
049. “That big bridge.”
050. “A worker might’ve been poured into these.”

Spoiled by Portland‚€™s constant summer sun, it took a little ‚€œgetting used to‚€ of the day‚€™s torrential downpour. Funny how three months of dry days and make something as familiar as pouring rain feel so odd.

Past Pellston, the Harbor Springs, then Petoskey, then Charlevoix. That‚€™s ‚€œSchar-luh-voy,‚€ in case you were wondering. We said it a a different way: ‚€œSchar-luh-vox.‚€ Veered off towards Ellsworth, then into my hometown of Central Lake, Michigan.

Some things never change. Central Lake illustrates this. Bachmann‚€™s general store still backs up it‚€™s claim of ‚€œIf we don‚€™t have it, you don‚€™t need it.‚€ The IGA grocery store was hopping on this Saturday morning. That store used to seem so big to me. Quite the contrary. I walked down towards the post office and over the Young‚€™s party store. Well, it‚€™s not ‚€œYoung‚€™s‚€ anymore. Used to be. It‚€™s something else now.

This shot is the candy counter we used to peer up as critters. I remember red hot dollars and candy bars for a quarter and how far we could make a couple bucks go with sweet treats.

051. “Bachmann’s General Store, Central Lake, Mich.”

Back up to main street then down past the ‚€œCalico Caf√©‚€ (something else these days, too‚€¶) and over to the Mortensen Funeral Home where I caught up with Holly for a bit. Holly is Ronnie‚€™s wife, my best pal from growing up. We both lived on Brooks street. He lived on the corner of Brooks and Main. I lived up towards the high school on Brooks. That was our block, man. Lots of good times on that street: Jumping our bikes, snowball fights and my first ride on a skateboard in the summer of ‚€˜86; completely eating shit and skinning my elbows.

052. “Holly Mortsensen.”
053. “The house I grew up in.”
054. “Our old shed out back.”

Holly and Ron have three critters who are growing up so fast. What a great family.

Got back on the road and headed outa town thinking about the following list of things:

01. Hiking out into the deep snow to cut and drag out our yearly Christmas tree.
02. Riding 4-wheelers all over the countryside with Ronnie.
03. Summers on Torch Lake, enjoying the clearest waters ever.
04. Witnessing Vince Bloom‚€™s little brother eat shit on Vince Bloom‚€™s older brother‚€™s 3-wheeler. Prob‚€™ly still a secret to this day.
05. Hiding from the cops somewhere behind Bachmann‚€™s.
06. Heckling ‚€œhooters‚€ who would hang out downtown on Friday and Saturday nights. “Hooters” = Hessians, or, Heshers in contemporary slang.
07. Summer baseball out towards the Ellsworth turnout.
08. Learning to waterski on Intermediate Lake.
09. See Roger Barnes pummel the shit out of some jock who called him and his sister Lulu out, and then, feeling sick to my stomach at the sight of fat lips and bloodied teeth. Brutal.
10. Those big maple trees out in front of my old house, which were recently cut down. Pretty sad, pretty sad.

Out of Central lake and down through Traverse City, navigating the thick summer traffic, and out into country to mom and dad‚€™s compound out in the woods.

It‚€™s always good to be home.

Unloaded he gear, then regrouped for a bit. Traverse City got its first ball team. The “Beach Bums” from the A Leagues. Cool enough. Ballgames are always fun.

055. “The man of the house: Jim Draplin.”
056. “Traverse City Beach Bums vs. Chilocothe Paints.”
057. “Mom and dad.”
058. “The mascot “Sunburn” was grabbing everyone.”

After the ballgame I went to Tad Lautner’s beach Tiki village for some refreshments and catching up with old pals. Good stuff. Good times were had. Saw lots of old pals from my old days.

059. “Chad Smith.”
060. “Matt Miner.”
061. “Cal Steinorth.”
062. “Duncan White teaching me the ropes at the card table.”

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