This may become one of the most interesting THANKSGIVING and Christmas holiday seasons to date.



(Musings of a Homemaker – Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper)

“Get that thing out of here and don’t you ever bring a snake into the house again!” 

Turning from  the kitchen sink just as my young son proudly showed me the snake he had captured in a jar;

I shouted.

It was the fall of  1964.  I had three young boys under the age of seven and dirty laundry in the laundry room. Now I was being confronted with a snake in a jar.

Reality was here to stay.

Our countryside is beautiful.

The joy of living in this wonderful place never changes for me.

Snow covered fields have not yet arrived.

Even so, the pleasant anticipation of the coming winter is a given during this precious season of Thanksgiving in northern Michigan.

There will be no time for me to fix turkey and pumpkin pie this year.

With my three boys to keep an eye on, laundry to do, and dishes always in the sink, where would I find the time?

As is often the case,

Mother and Dad will rescue me.

They will calm our appetites with an invitation to a bountiful table at their peaceful home.

The annual Thanksgiving family gathering fills us with good food and pleasant memories of being together.

My greeting card list has not reached the length it will be in the future.

I’m trusting that some of our friends, who send cards to fill our mailbox, will understand when they don’t find a card from us in their mailbox.

Each year it warms our hearts to reach out to friends and family with a greeting card.

Little boys in need of attention at unexpected times, will assure the notes will be short.  The printed verse on the card will express our feelings.

Mother always had her Christmas greeting cards prepared to send

the day after Thanksgiving.

I’m sure she remembered to prepare them even though pressing family matters used her time too.

I can assure you, there were no snakes in jars at the home of my parents. Little girls are not so prone to bring such creatures into the kitchen to show them to Mom.

 Mother was ever faithful with her early holiday greeting. She enjoyed the notoriety of being the first greeting to be received by family and friends in far off places.

A portion of Thanksgiving day was spent composing her handwritten notes; expressing love and best wishes for the coming season.

Time will tell if Mother’s traditions fall to me as the years go by.

* * *

New Memories


This may become one of the most interesting Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons to date.

Married sixty-two years in 2017, my husband, at the age of eighty-seven, passed on to his next life in the month of February.

Two of our little boys are now grown men. Our middle son died four years ago.

The experiences of all our lives have taken a very different turn.

The joy of grandchildren and the arrival of two great-granddaughters,

Willow and Eva,

 has filled my heart to overflowing.

At the age of eighty-three, 

it may be a bit too much for me to entertain the entire extended family here at the farm for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Looking at it in a different way, it will become a memory in the making for the younger folks.

Someone else will step in to host the pleasant family occasions.

There is a large electric cooker in the cupboard.

 Recipes for pumpkin pie,

handed down from generations past,

 lie inside the recipe box which once belonged to my Grandmother.

Four packages of pumpkin filling waits patiently in the freezer, prepared last year by my husband from real pumpkins.

 Canning and freezing foods for the winter, from the garden which he so faithfully tended, was always part of his helpful preparation for the winter ahead.

I’ve been thinking about putting up the Christmas tree; should I or shouldn’t I?
 How could I fail to do that?
 This precious season is all about memories, families and the welcoming of the Christ Child.

The years bring changes, but love remains.

It really is the season for living and loving.


Photographs By Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck


But the best of all things that my two eyes can see,

Is the sight of “Old Glory” as she waves in the breeze.

By Thelma Whitchurch Tuck
My Sister
8th Grade – 1944
1930 – 2019
I believe in the things I can see with my eyes..
The geese and the ducks high up in the skies.
The doe with her fawn going deep in the wood,

The old mother hen as she cares for her brood.
The fisherman quietly holding the line,
The icicles hanging from oak tree and pine.
My home, as it stands on the top of a hill
Meaning warmth and contentment,
giving my heart a thrill.
But the best of all things that my two eyes can see,
Is the sight of “Old Glory” as she waves in the breeze.
I believe in the things I can hear with my ears…
The toll of a bell, the crowd with its cheers.
The song of a bird, the hum of a bee,
The low moaning wind as it blows through the trees.
The cry of a baby, the notes of a song,
The toot of a horn as the cars go along.
The croak of a frog, the rain on the roof,
Lowing cows in the pasture, a horse on the hoof.
These are the sounds that my ears bring to me
In this wonderful country, the land of the free.
I believe in the things I can smell with my nose.
A field filled with violets, a wild summer rose.

The aroma of coffee, a pie or a cake,
The smell of fish frying, fresh from the lake.
The burning of leaves, ground wet from rain,
Freshly turned earth, the smoke from a train.
The smell of the woods with its cedar and pine trees,
Newly mown hay, a soft gentle lake breeze.
Fruit blossoms in springtime, a field full of clover,
Smoke from a campfire, when the day’s fun is over.
To give up the pleasures we get from these things
Is something we hope our life never will bring.
I believe in the things I can feel with my hands,
The great rolling ocean, the small grains of sand.
The warmth of the fire, the cold of the snow,
The snow or the rain as the wintry winds blow.
The satin smooth skin of a child at its play
The fur of a puppy, the sun’s warming rays.

The feel of the earth as the garden is planted,
The vegetables harvested just as we planned it.
These are the things in this life we are living
That teach us receiving is equal to giving.
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck


How we live out our purpose,
and with whom we travel,
is our choice.

 Our Son

October 31, 1959 – October 11, 2013 
He was employed as an “over the road” truck driver.
In three week stints,
his purpose was to cover thousands of miles,
delivering freight
to various locations throughout the country.
He chose to have his wife and their little dog travel with him.
The goal was to arrive safely at his destination.
The journey enabled him to experience the miles between.
Our journey is the same.
We have our point of origin (birth)
And our destination (death).
The paths we travel along the miles between,
define our purpose in life.
How we live out our purpose,
and with whom we travel,
is our choice.
When we choose to travel with Jesus,
the Holy Spirit is our constant companion.
Every experience, every encounter, every trial is bearable
because He is with us.   
We grow in our faith
as the miles accumulate.
God says to us….
“I am with you always,
even unto the end of time.”
My Prayer:  Thank you Lord,
for being Tim’s traveling companion as he traveled along the road of his life,
on his way back to You.

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck


Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

Summer begins.
The school year ends. 
Sheltered and familiar halls of learning
will be left behind.
 It’s time to venture into an unknown future.
For some, the promised journey is exciting.
Others are hesitant to take the next step
into an unfamiliar and very large world.
Emotions are deep. 
All paths lead to life.
Many  have traveled
along this road; hopefully long, sometimes narrow.
It’s always a winding avenue. 

Complete with side trips,

choices may lead to
 higher education, 
or family.

One decision will lead

 to service of country.

 All will hopefully lead to success.

 Each traveler uses their personal key 
to open the door to the future.
Ahead lie many unexpected opportunities. 
While one may lead to exciting outcomes, 
another may lead to a detour or temporary failure.

The insight needed

 to understand complicated directions
can help to find 
individual happiness.

 Life’s journey 
 takes us
 through trial and error.
Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

 Friendships of high-school and college days

 are never forgotten. 
Names may slip from mind,
  faces may fade,
 but memories of the times spent with friends and comrades 
will remain for  years.
It matters not
which path is chosen.
 There will always be
 fond recollections 
 of the time of graduation.

Let The Journey Begin…

One step 
and then another.
(Musings of a Homemaker  By Mary Anne Tuck – Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper – 1964)

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck


I wouldn’t even be telling you this
 if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook 
from women 
who had observed the same event
 that I experienced…….

“You need to change your ways!”
I’ve heard that statement many times. 
Like the words to an old song, 
they keep going ’round in my mind. Perhaps I should call these memorable incidents,  “Nylons Security”.
One of my life changing events was in early spring, as I recall.
 A few years before,
my husband and I 
had decided to raise sheep…it happened like this…sort of..

One day, I suggested we should get a lamb.. 
After all, we have this little farm.

Our grandkids lived next door, 
it would be fun.

 It wasn’t long 
before my husband came home
he’d found a lamb.
 In fact, he’d found two, a male and a female. 

They were orphans.
They needed people to love and care for them.

That would be us.

I don’t remember the exact time frame
as events began to unfold, but
it wasn’t long after their arrival,
I casually suggested we should start 
a flock,
“we already have “Bo” and “Betsy” and the grandkids love them.”
We also had this big old barn 
with nothing in it but nothing.

It was then we began our search for mature ewes.
 We would use them to build our flock.

 We had “Bo”, but
 he wasn’t what you’d call a breeder yet,
He would be, though, in a year or so
when he was no longer “a lamb.” (You get the idea.)
 The plan to become shepherds 
was quickly put into action.
We were proud and excited about our new endeavor.

 My husband had been in the retail hardware business for several years.
 I owned and operated a Hallmark shop. 
This would be fun.
A little something extra to give us a new hobby.
One day a gentleman came to call
 who was interested in our lambing operation.
Of course, I was more than happy
 to show him
  our nearly 100 year old barn,
 where our new flock of sheep resided.
Now, this is the point where I veer away from the sheep situation
 and explain some of my personal habits to you.

 I wouldn’t even be telling you this
 if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook 
from women 
who had found themselves involved in the same situation
  I experienced
on my journey to the barn one day.
Without getting too personal,
 I’m going to reveal my lifetime habit
of getting ready for bed at night. 

Included in my habit,
would be the removing of my jeans and underwear
 in one swift motion. 
Unfortunately this has, on occasion, 
caused a slight “public” embarrassment.
(How could that be? I should explain.. since I would be
getting ready for bed “at night, at home.”)
How could that possibly affect my actions in the daytime? Hmm…
Back to the fine gentleman 
who had come to look at our flock.
We were walking toward the barn
 when he turned around, 
looked quickly back in the direction of the driveway, and said…
 “Oh! You’ve dropped your hanky.” 

Intuitively, as I turned, I knew what I was about to see.

 The clump of white lying in the driveway 
was instantly recognizable to me. 
It was definitely not my hanky. 
It was my underwear, 
which had been clinging,
 (with the help of static electricity from the dryer, )
to the inside of my jeans. 

The undergarment had chosen that moment 

to release itself from the fabric of my jeans,
 and to embrace the ground 
in the driveway.
“I’ll get it”, he said,
 turning around and taking a step
 toward the object. 
“No”, I said, 
“I’ll get it”.  
We were immediately in competition
 to find out who would get to “the hanky“… first .

 I outran him by seconds,
 scooped up ‘the hanky’ 
and shoved ‘it’ 
into my jacket pocket.

 Bless his heart.
 He seemed totally unaware ,
of the rapid beating of my heart,
 which was not caused
 from the exertion of running
 to the area of the driveway
 in question.
You might think 
the experience would have been a lesson
 forever etched in my mind. It was definitely time to review and perhaps renew, my habits.
 However, that was not to be.

One quiet morning in summer 
I had personally opened my Hallmark Shop at nine a.m.
 so my employees wouldn’t have to come in
 until later.

 A pleasant fellow was the first to stop by.
 He stood just inside the front door,
where we visited for twenty minutes or so.

 As he turned to leave, he said, 
“You may want to check the leg of your slacks
 near your shoe”.  

With that, he went upon his way.

Looking down at my shoe,
  in full view,
 was a visible display of one of my nylons, 
which was making its way
 past the static electricity in my slacks
 to heaven knows where.
Can you imagine
  what the nice fellow must have been thinking 
as we stood there and talked?
 He apparently had decided 
he would tell me 
just as he went out the door,
 without looking back.
 He must have suspected the expression he would surely see on my face. 
I don’t know if men are prone to giggling. 
But I’ll bet this fellow was giggling as he made his way to the car.

At this moment,
 it’s important for me to tell you
  I’ve never had either of these experiences again.

 I really have changed my habits;
 about certain things.

My friends and family would tell you that it is rare for me to change my mind, I still have some habit changing to do.

For Christmas that year, 
 my family gave
 me a bottle of fabric softener 
and a pair of nylons
with lace edged suspenders sewn on them.

One of the changes I have yet to make
 is not to share with anyone 
the embarrassing things 
that happen to me.

I need to change my ways!

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck


Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.

(Here’s a clue for the insurance company, it wasn’t me.)

I’ve always bragged about my driving record.
As with many, I started driving at the age of 16.
Granted, I’ve never traveled much cross-country
or in a foreign land, (such as Canada).
Still, no person of the law enforcement
has ever flagged me down on the highway.
I’ve always been quite proud of that.
 Oh yes, there was that time in New Hampshire.
Returning to the campground where our fifth-wheel awaited;
my husband was tired so I was driving. 
It was almost midnight.
You may wonder why the time would be of importance.
There were no cars to be seen on the road through town…(Manchester, New Hampshire.)
Trying to navigate the unfamiliar left hand turn at a cross section,
I didn’t see the traffic light.
It was blinking red, apparently.
However, the red flashing light of the police car
in the rear-view mirror caught my attention.
The traffic officer appeared at my window.
Why he was cruising this deserted road at mid-night,
I’ll never know.
“I didn’t see the light, officer”, I said.
“I was searching for the turn and guess I was preoccupied”.
He was very nice and quietly said,
“You’ll need to be more careful in the future”.
There was no ticket…whew!
Now let me think.
The only time I received a traffic ticket
was in 2013
I was traveling a nearby local highway,
apparently at the speed of 74 mph
in a
55 mph zone.

A township officer, who was hiding in a nearby forest,
must have believed she had a live one,
and followed me persistently
until I pulled to the side of the road.

Informing me she had clocked me at 74 mph in a 55 mph zone,
she said “Don’t you have a cruise control?”
“Yes officer” I said, “but it doesn’t work”.
“I’ll have to write you a ticket”, she said.
Standing by the car she began to fill out the citation.

“I have not had a ticket since I started to drive at the age of 16,”
I said, smiling quietly.” I suppose I will have to quit telling my friends
I’m a “virgin driver”.
(I was quite sure she’d noticed my birth year of 1935
on the driver’s license.)
An understanding smile crossed her face; I’ve never figured out what it was that she was “understanding”…maybe it was something I said.
“I’ll just write the ticket for 60 mph.”
“But be careful you don’t get another within the next three years
or your insurance will increase.” 
Thanking her profusely, I drove on my merry way,
silently cherishing my sense of humor
which was inherited from my Mother.
* * *
Last Monday I drove a few miles down the road to our local McDonalds to buy myself a Big Mac and an order of fries. Just as I left home, my son said “Pick me up a large strawberry shake”.
 I did.
As I recall,
the Big Mac and fries
have never been seen again…but that’s another story.
As is my usual routine, I drove through the Wal-Mart parking lot in order to re-enter the main road at the stop light. It’s much safer.

The light turned green and I moved forward.

 In the flash of a moment, I found myself on the far side of the road; about the same time that I felt something hit my left arm rather harshly. (It turned out to be the air-bag.)
A nice gentleman came over to the car
and asked me if I was all right.
“Yes, I’m fine”, I said.
(Later was when I found the scrapes and bruises and aches,
but I digress.)

A glance toward the dashboard on the passenger side revealed my glasses, which I had been wearing, sitting there. Now, that’s interesting. Wonder how they got over there.

My son came to give me a ride home
and the wrecker took my car away. (I think I gave someone my home phone number to call and that’s how my son knew where to find me; sitting in the middle of the highway in a somewhat crumbled car.)

A few days later the insurance adjuster called to inform me
the car was totaled. (Well duh…that wasn’t hard to see.)

I now have a new car,
a new appreciation for driver side airbags,
an understanding of the need for seat belts
and some other things I haven’t thought of yet.

The Other Car-The One That Ran The Red Light
 I can remember that.
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

Continue reading “GUESS WHO RAN THE RED LIGHT”


The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.


A letter To Don..from Bill….

Note: To be opened the last morning you are at sea on going home to the USA.

16 February 1953

Dear Don,
When I came overseas many moons ago, I was sent with a letter from my Mother.  In it she stated how on long voyages years ago, people were sent with ship messages. There was then an age of letter writing which seems to have passed, except for the ghosts that may rove the skeleton of some long lost ship.  There was then wind in the sails and the creak of the boards of the ship at night.  There could be heard the rustle of silk in women’s dresses.
Men and women were probably doing just as we do today if given the opportunity.  That is, jumping from bunk to bunk.
 Right now, right at this living moment, I am writing this on the usual, sunless, dull, German day in the office of the captain.
In time, all our importance melts away, and yet as a part of history we remain an important factor in time.  The way you live, the love you have for life, the love you have for others and the understanding of them, the love you have for a woman and your unborn children are of great importance.
Whether you are ever known as an individual, it is the way you are which makes the “To Be” of a better world.  Now you are nearing home to the land that I love so deeply.  I would want to claim that land in a deeper way than you can in your youth.
Someday you will know what I mean.  Someday you will know that the earth in a bog swamp when you are out duck hunting is the cleanest mud in the world.
 Don’t ever forget that part of your life which you spent in a foreign land.  There were circumstances you did not like. They have helped to keep that mud as clean as it is. Sometimes Don, I hope you are looking at that lost land where you like to lose yourself.

You’ll find the air just a bit sharp.  You will like the smell that time of year.
Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring, just breathe deeper because you are alive.
 God is in Nature and you are close to it and to Him.  In college it would be called Pantheism. I’d rather call it the awareness of Don knowing Don.  You can call it whatever.  It doesn’t matter what you call it just so you remember that when it happens and it will.
 The sea where you read this is deep.  Your feet will soon touch shore. Right now you are pipeline and lost.
Soon the inevitable pattern will establish itself.  You will be a civilian with all the responsibilities of one.  To drive safely, to love right, to build a home, and to vote are small and important things.  To be aware when you’re on a hunting trip
that you are the greatest being God ever made is important too.
That’s about all I have to say, Don.
This is my shipboard letter to you with the exception of one thing.
The more you grow the more you will become aware of this.
The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.
Your friend….


April 22, 1930-February 24, 2017

* * *

My husband, Don, passed away in 2017.
In going through his special drawer for saving things important to him,
 I found this letter. 
I didn’t know his friend “Meade”.
 I don’t need to know him. He was a special man.
Although we shared 62 years of marriage, 
I didn’t know Don as a soldier, when he was newly discharged from the service.
 He would have celebrated his 87th birthday in April of 2017.
 His great respect for God, family and nature never ceased.
I hope you enjoyed this special letter
from “Meade”….
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck



The View From My Porch Swing


Through the years I’ve watched our trees that never seem to change.

Across the road,

where once our sons and neighbor children came to play

on fields of meadow grass,

there now grow trees and underbrush

so high

no pathways show.

Even now,

those boys and girls seem ever young.

My thoughts are filled with

visions of them playing there.

Hidden there midst oak and pine,

in memory,

there lies an open meadow.
Joyful youth played games

on long, 
hot summer  days

in full pursuit of life.

Those days and sights and sounds of living

never left my inner soul.
 Returning to this quiet place,
 from the porch swing

I relive those treasured days

of years gone by.

Gently swinging,

deep in thought,

memories return.
 I recall each day with love.

The day begins at summer’s dawn

and ends
 with muffled, evening sounds.

Nothing troubles,

thoughts abound, peace is found.


Now sixty-one years have passed

and memories remain.

Our porch is now a deck.
 The swing remains a “porch swing.” 
“Deck swing” somehow cannot recall 
those precious times

of years gone by.

Three sons have grown to men.  When first we came to our “farm”, our oldest son was three, our middle son was six months, and the youngest was to be born three years later.

 A grandson and granddaughter have added to the enjoyment 

of this peaceful homestead.

The barn is now one hundred-three years old.

The house is eighty-four.
 In addition to our three boys and two grandchildren,
 this homestead

has entertained many animals and pets and gardens. (Or did they entertain us?)Adding to our contentment, we now have four great-granddaughters to introduce to our peaceful farm.

The neighbor kids have grown. 
They now have children and grandchildren of their own.

Our middle son passed away

seven years ago.
Even so, our cherished memories will never change.


The porch swing now provides a peaceful place
 to remember

all the times of joy and sadness.

 We were sitting on the porch swing 
when the news of my Father’s death

came to us.

 We gathered here as a family
 to enjoy the wedding receptions of our sons,
 and to celebrate
 their high-school graduations.

We’ve entertained our friends at church picnics

And celebrated birthday parties.
 Friends of our grown children 
have come to share an occasional Sunday afternoon

Our memories are many….

from our porch swing.



Photography By Mary Anne Tuck