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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


It was NOT a white Christmas in our area…in fact I think it was NOT a white Christmas in several states, not just Michigan. I need to do a search and find out when and why it became a “tradition” to have a white Christmas or if that is just due to Bing Crosby singing about it.

Dan and I haven’t had Christmas with any of our family since 1991. We moved up in 1992. This would have been the perfect year for us to make the trip downstate but our last guest did not cancel till about 10:30 on Christmas morning and we really didn’t feel like trying to get everything around (including Nick and Chewy) and making that 8 hour drive one way.

Some good friends of ours had already celebrated Christmas with their HUGE family the weekend before so invited us down for dinner yesterday. Chuck and Jackie always have a very large garden and Jackie’s motto is “If it doesn’t move, can it!” I think everything we had for dinner came from their garden except for the stuffed chicken, the home made rolls and the home made cranberry relish (which they DO go pick the berries and can the relish). And three kinds of pies!

Chuck and Jackie have kind of adopted us since we moved up here. They already have 4 grown (married) kids of their own and several grandchildren. They are a very giving family…all of them. So, their home is very “Christmasy”; lots of decorations and animated Santa’s and snowmen in every nook and cranny. The outside is full of various lights and decorations too.

Regardless of when you stop by, Jackie has just taken something out of the oven. They are always ready for company.

Their grandkids warmed right up to the suggestion of instead of the grandkids drawing names and exchanging presents, why doesn’t each family pick a family off from the Christmas tree at their church and buy a present for each member in that family. This is something they started 5 years ago and the grandkids are thrilled with doing it. So the spirit of giving IS in the whole family. The grandkid’s parents are involved with this because it does mean purchasing gifts for a whole family, not just one child. They have no idea who the family is and the receiving family has no idea who the “givers” are.

Chuck and Jackie sent us home with 12 quarts of a variety of canned things from their garden, as well as a quart of canned venison soup and some varieties of jams. They also sent us home with a BUNCH of Christmas cookies…the kind that are too darn complicated that I would NEVER even attempt to make! And there was a big grocery bag with home grown frozen strawberries, frozen packages antelope burger, frozen corn and a loaf of banana bread. These are the type of people that would give you the shirt off their back and never, ever expect anything back…which is good I guess because they are so self sufficient there isn’t much you can do for them!

We use to be able to reciprocate their good will by Dan going down with our front end loader and plowing them out (when we had snow), but Chuck has bought a plow for the front of his truck, so we can’t even do that anymore.

We are fortunate to have such people in our lives and their community and church is too. We hope that you are able to have such people in your lives as well.

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