Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the Night Before; Can't Be Without Snow

A little snow at Christmas helps set the season. When we lived in southern California, we would get up on Christmas morning, head for church, and be driving in short sleeves, sunny skies and palm trees instead of spruce and maples.
Truth be told, there are times when I wish we were still out there with the warm weather and sunny, vitamin D rich skies.
This weeks column is about a local man, Jay Stielstra. Jay is a sportsman; a bird hunter and fly angler still sling the flies on the long rod.
He's also a fine musician and song writer, having written over 150 songs. He's written poetry and five plays.
His work is all about Michigan and the outdoors. The "Manistee River Waltz" is a song about experiences along the Manistee and the many places fly anglers are familiar with.
One place I have never heard of was the Mecum bar. "Where is that at, Jay," asked him over the phone.
He chuckled then said, "there is no Mecum bar. You won't find it. But there is a Mecum Road along the Manistee River. We used to hide beer under a tree there and would say to others fishing, we'll meet you at the Mecum Bar."
Another song I just learned about is called "The Christmas Tree Ship." It's a song about the wreck of the Rouse Simmons, a 205-ton, three-masted schooner that disappeared on Lake Michigan in November, 1912.
A Wisconsin diver had discovered the grave of one of the most famous "Christmas tree ships" and its skipper, "Captain Santa,"captain Herman E. Schuenemann.
The ship gets it's name from hauling Christmas trees to Chicago and selling them dockside. Because trees were becoming popular and Chicago had a scarcity, several ships hauled trees to that port each year before Christmas.
For more information about Stielstra and his songs visit

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