January 20, 2022

Day two of my  New Year’s weekend began about 12:45 AM in my rustic room at the Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs Michigan.  The bedspread was a quilt adorned with fish, ducks, bears,etc. and matching pillow cases.  The TV was an old tube type and was hanging on a big black metal wall mount on the side of the room.  

The telephone was an old push button phone.  Up till now everything looked like it was from the 80s till I walk into the bathroom to find all the porcelain in late 1950s style lavender.  A string of baseboard radiators lining the front of the room gave off moist heat and a free standing box air conditioner was built into the wall.

Everything was about a half century old but in like new condition!  I felt like I was actually in the time travel movie “Somewhere in Time” which was filmed just a few miles north of where I was by the way. The room was immaculate!  Your gay neighbor could not have gotten it any cleaner if his mother was about to visit.

I felt like my grandmother was going to walk into the room with cookies any minute.  It was so quaint and pristine you just had to feel comfortable.  I threw my clothes on the chair, slid under the quilt and was asleep in minutes.

It was the perfect end for the day until about 4 in the morning I wake up feeling chills.  Oh no! I can’t get sick the first night!  I get up to go to the bathroom and realize the chills were being caused by the ice cycles on my ears!  It was freezing in my room!  I look at the thermostat and see the temp is barely 60 degrees in the room but it is set on 70 degrees. 

What is going on?   Do they have some kind of override that turns the heat down in the middle of the night to save on the electric?  I mess with the meter again to no avail.  So I pick up the receiver of the wired telephone and push zero.  The phones rings but no one is answering. 

It is 4 in the morning and I am chillin in my Saturday morning cartoon nightwear.  (As kids my brothers and I would rise early on Saturday mornings and go downstairs to watch cartoons.  We never had PJs we just slept in our tidy whities which is how we watched Mighty Mouse and Sky King.)  I had graduated out of the whites to quite stylish (The guy on the package looked good anyway!) dark blue briefs from Target.  Guard your imagination girls this is the Hallmark Channel.

There is no place to go and I can’t get room service so I put on enough clothes to go ice fishing and crawl back under the bear quilt with a red stocking cap on my head.  I wake up about three hours later to find that the room had warmed up.  A quick call on the bat phone and Aunt Bea at the desk tells me “the boiler had gone out  in the middle of the night but Frank started it back up about 6 and all was well now, breakfast ends at 9:30.”

It is 9:15 so I throw on my snow boots and pull off enough clothes to walk and head across the snow covered courtyard to the Birchwood lodge to try out breakfast.

Walking in through the back door I feel like I just walked into the living room of The Ponderosa!  A roaring fireplace on a stone covered wall greeted me.  The blaze was surrounded by plate glass views of Lake Michigan peeking through snow covered but leafless limbs.  It was a quite large room with an old upright piano against one wall.  The walls and ceiling were wood.  I expected Pa, Hoss and Little Joe to ride up any moment!  

I walk up to the counter and Frank the owner asked if I would like breakfast.  “You bet” I nodded.  He leaves the room and comes back with a brown paper sack stocked with a hardboiled egg, orange juice, a blueberry muffin and prepackaged strawberry-banana yogurt.  I expected a big spread but the bag breakfast suited my appetite fine and the ambiance covered the difference. 

I sat peacefully at the table near The Christmas tree watching the fire as I peeled my egg.  I loitered some over coffee just because I liked being there.  We had a day planned so I reluctantly swung my scarf around my neck and stepped back into the snow.  It never crossed my mind to complain to Frank about the cold room.

(For those of you wanting to hear more about the blond bombshell you will have to wait for the next chapter and our tour of the lake and ski resorts.  TaTa for now. 

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