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Putting national politics aside

Today’s column was going to be on national politics.

To be specific, it was going to be about why we have to be saddled with only the two major parties nominating viable candidates for president, when, clearly, the majority of Americans don’t want a Joe Biden-Donald Trump rematch.

But watching that unfold has me exhausted, and I need a weeklong summer break from that two-ring circus and wondering why we can’t make it a three-ring circus, which would scare the bejeezus out of the Democrats and Republicans, which is exactly what it’s going to take if we expect any change to occur in Washington.

All that put aside temporarily, my mind is now free to roam, which, in my case, can be mentally challenging.

So what’s the first thing that pops in there? Summer in Northeast Michigan! Having lived in the East Lansing area for about 15 years in the 70s and 80s gave me plenty of time to explore all corners of the state, and, for the last 20 years, I had my heart set on retiring in the Alpena area.

For those who live here, I don’t have to go into all the reasons why, but, for those who don’t, it’s easier to just ask you to use this column as an invitation to visit Northeast Michigan and find out for yourself, as it will save a lot of ink and paper.

I am fairly positive you, too, will leave here with the desire to return often, if not permanently.

Having spent my childhood growing up on a lake, I settled on living out my remaining time on beautiful Hubbard Lake, and what a wonderful decision it was.

Like most Michigan lakes, it is crystal clear, deep, full of fish, and plenty big enough for all the popular water sports. Of course, that meant buying a boat, a cottage with lakefront, and all the paraphernalia necessary to keep the grandkids happy.

So I was all set, life was good, no more to do now except enjoy.

But it gets better.

I discovered White Pine National Golf Resort at the southern tip of Hubbard Lake. If ever there was a hidden gem in Michigan, that is it. It’s absolutely beautiful, always in impeccable condition thanks to owner Bruce Wolfrom, who built the course 31 years ago. If you are a golfer, White Pine is a must-visit location, too.

After my first two years of getting roots reestablished here, I was asked to join the Hubbard Lake Community Association board. It’s located in the old cinder-block fire truck garage, and, for the last 20 or so years, the board has been raising money to build a new community center and provide the much-needed space for the Alcona Library’s Hubbard Lake branch.

During the association’s fundraising events and accepting grants and donations, the question always comes up: “So, when, if ever, are you going to build this new place?”

Well, folks, that time has come.

If all permitting and inspections go well, they will break ground this fall, building it in two phases. First to open would be the new library, then phase two, the new community center. Congratulations are in order, not only to all those who served on the board for so many years, but to all the generous donors who stuck by our side.

It will be a fabulous addition to the entire Hubbard Lake community.

Another pleasant surprise followed my relocation.

Well, it wasn’t that much of a surprise, but it was pleasant.

Northeast Michigan is blessed with incredibly nice people. Maybe it’s our rural location and sense of community. Maybe it’s our collective love of the outdoors, and none more so than the love Hubbard Lakers have for the lake. I have asked many people why they settled in Hubbard Lake. A lot of them say they have been coming here for years, or that their grandparents owned a cottage on the lake, or they just wanted to get out of the city, as I did.

If you haven’t caught on yet, I, too, have become a Hubbard Lake lover. It and all of Northeast Michigan is an easy place to call home. It’s an easy place to occasionally put my addiction to politics aside and enjoy the God-given beauty He created for us.

And, this week, I am doing just that.

Next week, I will no doubt return to my old ways, pointing out our problems Washington won’t solve, because they are unlike Northeastern Michiganders, who know how to talk to each other, are willing to help each other, appreciate America and all she has to offer, and give me hope we can be a poster child for how to reunite our entire country.

As always, I am curious about what you think of and why you choose to call Northeast Michigan home. Share with me at Gregawtry@awtry.com.

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at gregawtry@awtry.com.

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