True Confession.  I started writing this blog post days ago, abandoning it several times.  It started with the vague idea that I describe the art of acquiring groceries, which to be fair is one of the most common questions asked while showing property.  As potential buyers gaze upon the lakes and forests, at some point lunchtime hits and they inevitably ask “Where do you get your groceries?”

This IS an intriguing question, and one that bears discussion, but the post ending up being a listing of grocery stores and their distances from my home (37 miles to the almighty Walmart, btw) but also how A) Especially in winter, I divert to my local girl status and end up doing much of my shopping at Karsyn’s Korner, formerly Thoma’s mini-mart owned by Kelly and Brenda (Thoma) Dyre.  Bottom line?  If they don’t have it, you don’t need it.  Oh, your recipe calls for shallots?  Use an onion.  B) And more importantly, not to brag but I am quite certain my trip for groceries is far more interesting than that of the nice folks who ask me such questions.  I have limited experience in the fair city, but I’d guess that with traffic, travelling seven miles can sometimes feel like 37, thus taking the same actual amount of time to get there.  As far as the scenery, from Point A to Point B on my last grocery run – in anticipation of my FAVORITE holiday, the one with all eating and no wrapping – I took in the following from my car and in this order:  A gaggle of about 15 wild turkeys crossing Lynx Lake Rd, ironic because they were on my list.  The icing over of wilderness ponds, and the beginning of it on several lakes along Hwy B.  A car.  Two bald Eagles circling high above the pines near Natural Lakes.  Another car.  An albino deer just before Boulder Junction, and then another car signaling to the car behind them that there was a deer ahead.  A buck and doe watching me from the bike trail.  The ice caps on Trout Lake picking up the few rays of sun along Hwy M.  Two more eagles.  A truck.

You get the idea.  Hunting for groceries can be a real hike, but like Mark says, it will be fun!  We’ll pack snacks and sing songs, and see some beauty along the way.

So I had that part down, but what about the gathering?  Grocery runs are only so interesting, no matter what you see.  And this is where I stalled.  Work, Chamber mtg, etc. (and another impending grocery run) equals an unfinished blog.  Fast forward and it’s Friday night, time to pick up my 17-year old daughter from the boarding school she attends for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Albeit her school is only about 37 miles away – curious that everything in my life is that distance.  But now it’s 7pm, pitch black and the wind is whipping and it’s snowing and sleeting sideways, leaving a fresh layer of ice over that idyllic County road I described before.  Nor will there be a single gas station, restaurant or bar between here and the Conserve School in Land o’ Lakes, and only a handful of summer cottages locked up tight for the winter.  Oh, and no cell service.  I lived to tell about it obviously, but it was an exhausting, white knuckle ride and to boot?  I also didn’t see a single other driver, which suddenly didn’t seem like something to brag about.  Apparently I’m of the few crazy enough to live here.

But after an hour plus of creeping my way along, finally there was the entrance to the school and my daughter flinging her laundry into the back of the car, bursting with stories to tell and new music she wanted me to hear.  Her energy buoyed us along on the trip back home, which seemed a lot less scary than before, in fact it was almost cozy coasting our way through the dark woods, our faces lit by the dash.  Before I knew it, we were home and she and her brother were wrestling like puppies in the living room.  Cousins and friends arrived, tennis shoes piled in the foyer once again, and a bonfire was started.  A houseful of my favorite teenagers on a Friday night?  This Momma’s heart was brimming over.

And then I had the end to my blog, the second half of the Hunt and Gather, the best part.  Our Economic Development Committee is working on signage for the various town offices and parks in Presque Isle, known in the biz as “way-finding”.  I believe it applies to more than direction.  More than how we get to where we are going (the library, groceries, work, a park, school) but also who we travel with and what we are going towards.  My Thanksgiving wish is that whatever road you take to make your way, it ends with you finding yourself gathered with the ones you love.  Have a blessed holiday from Almost an Island, where life is good.