The Suitcase Lady


July 9, 2013, 10:32 pm

Souvenir shops near our house feature T-shirts with pictures of “Lighthouses of the Great Lakes” emblazoned on the front. Unfortunately, my husband’s lighthouse is not represented.

Our lighthouse story starts at a garage sale in Milwaukee where our son spotted a  long catamaran and boat trailer. The price was an amazing bargain, and he became a boat owner on the spot.

The yard sale boat proved seaworthy, and one summer Sunday our son and a friend decided to sail 70 miles up the Lake Michigan shore to our house. He gave us an estimated time of arrival to which we prudently added a few hours.

The E.T.A. came and went and the daylight was leaving as well. We were worried: Lake Michigan has more shipwrecks than any of the other Great Lakes. To make matters worse, the night was moonless and the winds were rising.

My husband quickly began going through the house collecting every extension cord he could find.

“What are you doing?” I asked.manitowoc

“Building a lighthouse,” was his sensible reply.

He managed to plug together 150 feet of cords, the distance from our house to the edge of the 70 foot bluff that drops down to the shore. Then he hauled out our highest ladder and brightest trouble lights. He had created a lighthouse in fifteen minutes.

We did not have to wait long for the lighthouse to do its job. From the pitch black darkness below we heard the sounds of laughter and the scraping of a boat being hauled ashore. The mariners were safely into port.

I believe there are some seafaring genes in my husband’s side of the family.

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