#5 in a series… the best of the mary’zine that never made it to print…

The Marinette-Menominee Eagle-Herald

November 14, 2008   Peninsula: UP;  Stocks: DOWN;  Weather: IFFY

“Doin’s ‘Bout Town” [redacted for the interwebs]

by H. Society

Well, things have been a-hoppin’ at the home of Miss Mary M—,  North Shore Drive, Menominee, these past two weeks. Ordinarily a solitary homebody, a senior who shares her beautiful home with two charming felines, the divine Miss M— entertained a succession of guests from far-flung parts of the country.

The first guest was Miss Peggy D— of Grants Pass, Oregon. Miss D— is quite familiar with the Marinette-Menominee area, having visited our twin cities back in the 1970s when she and Miss M— were first … enjoying each other’s company. She often visits at this time of year, in time to celebrate the birthday of her hostess, who turned a whoppin’ 62 this year! ‘Bout time to apply for Social Security, eh? The two old friends spent lots of time relaxing, napping, reading, watching football, obsessing about the upcoming election (“Yes We Did!”), and, of course, eating. They mostly patronized three local establishments: Schloegel’s Bay View Restaurant in Menominee, Schussler’s Euro American Grill & Caterers (or “Supper Club,” to those of us in the know!) in Peshtigo, and the pride of Menominee’s First Street elite, The Landing [Ed. note: Ask for Cindy!]. Miss D— also distinguished herself by cooking two delicious meals for the pair, as well as doing several “man chores” around the M— home, which was much appreciated by our hostess with the mostess. On Miss M—’s birthday, they ventured down Green Bay way to Fratello’s Waterfront Restaurant, where they tasted the best of what Wisconsin has to offer (no offense, Schussler’s!). And the next day they joined local family members Mr. and Mrs. Michael (Kay) P— and their son J— for fine dining at, well, Schussler’s, which gets more ink in this paper than I do. Mrs. Barbara K— was ill and could not attend. Birthday gifts, at Miss M—’s suggestion, largely consisted of gift certificates for Amazon.com. Don’t be surprised if you see a sharp upsurge in brown delivery trucks in the neighborhood! Throw in a 50-mile drive north to Escanaba to dine at the lovely Stonehouse, and you have some idea of how desperate the locals are to get a decent meal.

After a day of rest and laundry, the parade of visitors continued, with Mrs. and Mrs. Terry and Jean B—-E— enlivening the scene. They hail from Massachusetts, ‘nuff said. (Hint: Note the double “Mrs.”!) They too enjoyed the hospitality of the local establishments. (By the way, Miss D— could be Mrs. D—-B— if Oregon were as progressive as Massachusetts and Connecticut—but let’s save the political rabblerousing for the editorial page!!) At the oft-afore-mentioned Schussler’s, the three friends were joined by Mrs. K—, beloved sister and teacher in the M— Area Public Schools. The evening was capped by a viewing of Mrs. K—’s large collection of handmade bracelets and earrings, of which the Mrs. B—-E—’s chose their favorites and insisted on paying.

When Miss M— and her guests were turned away from The Landing at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night (no reservation—what were they thinking??), she whipped up a delicious meal of penne pasta (a type of spaghetti shaped like a little tube), tomatoes, and sausage. The Mrs. B—-E—’s showered their hostess with well-earned praise.

All of Miss M—’s visitors had the benefit of a tour ‘bout town. Sights included the neighborhoods in which she grew up—Hwy. 35 near “The Cove,” an exclusive community of three wooded estates on the shore of Green Bay, where Miss M— trespassed daily as a young child to get to the public beach; and the formerly picturesquely named Bay de Noc Road (now 18th St.; feh) where the woods, pastures, sand hills, sand roads, and blackberry and raspberry bushes (and wild asparagus and rhubarb!) of yesteryear have been replaced by large, gaudy dwellings (with pillars yet), a manmade pond, paved pathways, and the extensive grounds of the K— (of K— Construction) family, who entertain their neighbors every Xmas with a display of religious sayings writ large in neon in the trees they have not yet hacked down—“Praise God in the Highest,” etc. etc. (imagine if, instead of “God,” they had hoisted electric praise to “Allah,” same deity, different name—Mon Dieu!)—plus the aforementioned First Street (where the other half of 1% lives); the much-traveled Hwy. 41 between State Farm Insurance and Pine Tree Mall; and, of course, John Henes Park, Menominee’s pride and joy and Miss M—’s earliest stomping grounds and personal Mecca hajj sacred site of possibility…. that expanse of cozy bay off Lake Michigan, with the world, vaguely perceived but beckoning, on the horizon, calling me, calling me, I mean, calling Miss M—, calling Miss M—.

Mrs. and Mrs. B—-E— also challenged Miss M— to put her massive brain to the test of finding a physical space containing books for sale. After much thought, and a largely fruitless trip to Wal-Mart, she remembered the grandly named Book World in Marinette (WI), which also specializes in magazines, cigars, and smoking accoutrements. Good books and time were had by all.

Last, but certainly not least, was the arrival of Miss Diane L—, from gay town, San Francisco, California, though Miss L— herself is not “one of those” (not that there’s anything wrong with it). Miss L— also toured the small circumference of Miss M—’s early life and ate in the same aforementioned three restaurants, because the alternatives were just too grim. Miss L—’s motto is “Be Prepared!”; hence she brought goodies from her hometown of Milwaukee—tortilla chips, salsa and bean dip, apple nutbread, stoneground wheat bread, granola, wine—as well as a hostess gift of a warm scarf bearing a close likeness of the Fabric of the Universe™ design created by Miss M— at the Center for Creative Exploration (ccesf.org) painting studio in San Francisco. The two old friends also visited Book World, which hasn’t seen that much business in months (just kidding, BW! Love ya!), and drove through “the grittier side of Marinette”: “tavern row,” Menekaunee shipyards, and an abandoned paper mill. They’re saving “Pollack Alley” for next time. An African American man was sighted, causing them to immediately lock their car doors. Just kidding, African Americans!

The two weeks, though packjam with social activities, just flew by, and before she knew it Miss M— was bidding her final guest adieu and returning to her beloved yet ultimately unknown and unknowable routine with her feline companions, B— and L—, two brothers rescued by Miss D— from the shores of our very own Green Bay three years ago! And so, we leave the homey meows-à-trois to their placid existence within the many walls of one of the most inappropriately large—but beautifully green—houses in the history of the U.P.

That’s “Doin’s ‘Bout Town” for this week! Toodle-ooo!

[Mary M—]

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