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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!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Some memories last longer than other memories. As I stated before, fortunately the major part of the camping population provide good memories and a few laughs along the way.

But here is another memory that has fused to our brain.

We sell campfire wood. We’ve sold campfire wood for $3.00 since we’ve been here (16 years this September 3rd!) It use to be on the honor system. Dan would fill up the slots with the allotted amount of wood for $3.00 and we trusted our guests to put their money in the tube by the fire wood area. We would find slips of paper the next morning that simply stated IOU, or other times we would come up short of what there should have been in the money tube. One time we even found a $50 bill…but it was Monopoly play money. But we still tried to trust people to do the right thing.

One night, we had already emptied the money tube for the day and we were sitting on the deck enjoying the evening. There was still wood in the “bin”. A father and son came up to the wood bin. The dad handed the boy the money and told him to put it in the tube. The dad started off carrying the wood back to the campsite. The boy looked at his dad as the dad was walking away then the kid put the money in HIS pocket. We saw this happen.

Dan and I puzzled for about 10 minutes whether to tell the dad about this or not. It wasn’t the $3.00 we were concerned about, but we knew if it was OUR kid WE would want to know about it. So, we went back to their campsite and as politely as we could we explained to the dad what had happened, and that having kids of our own who were all grown up, we know how things can go, and that we were not there to embarrass anyone, etc. The dad turned to the little boy and said “Is this true?” The kid looked at the ground and didn’t answer. The dad said “Give me that money!” The boy walked over and handed the money to his dad, still not looking up at any one. The dad THREW the money at us and said in a big booming voice, “There’s your #*$%ING $3.00!” We didn’t know what to say so we didn’t say anything; we had already covered that ground when we told him about it.

Dan and I went back to the office still in amazement and feeling some what embarrassed over the whole event. About 20 minutes later, the dad came into the office and demanded a refund because they were packed up and leaving!

My question is WHAT DID the child learn from all of this?? And I’m sure the man didn’t give us rave reviews when any one asked how their trip was. He most likely told everyone we were money hungry skin flints. Maybe Dan and I were wrong in feeling the parent should know. This was YEARS ago but it is one of those memories that sticks with me.

But on the other hand we’ve got so many wonderful memories of camping friends we have made over the years; people who come back and stay every summer or maybe twice a summer or snowmobilers who come back every year. They have sent us Christmas cards and sympathy cards (when we had to have our two “pet kids” put to sleep this year). They bring bounty from their garden or sometimes homemade blueberry jelly from berries that they picked in our park. They have become an important part of our lives as being campground owners. Or there are others that are just passing through and maybe only staying one night or two, but you strike up a conversation with them and get to know them a bit.

And there are things that happen that you just have to shake your head at and wonder "What was that person thinking?" That's a story for another day!

So, yes the rewards definitely out weigh some of the snags!


  1. Gayleen4:32 PM

    I would have been a lot more up in that guys face! The kid didn't learn a thing. What an example that dad set for his son.

  2. Gary Hookway (Wannabe Yooper)11:54 PM

    Sad to say but, I think the honor system of our country as a whole is sliding down the tubes(no pun intended)even when people are caught red handed they seem to have the unmitigated gall to deflect and/or deny their guilt. As for conscienceness of the people, so goes that of the country. In my opinion this started back in the early 60's with the start of "rights" superceding responsibilities. Sorry for being long winded, I too think you were right to tell the parent.

  3. Gayleen, believe me, Dan wanted so badly to be "up in his face", but ya do a lot of tongue biting at times.

    Gary, I'm glad you posted your comments. Even though this happened years ago, it still bothers me as to did we do right or not. I'm pleased to know that others feel the same way. I too think that a lot of this began way back when. Dan (who is a Vet) thinks it began when we did away with the draft. Apparently, a lot of young men who were trying to avoid short stays in jail use to enlist and came out better for it in the end. But there are two sides to that coin too...and I don't want to get anyone "started", so I'll let it go at that.

  4. My family & I drove by your place the other day on our way to Pictured Rocks for a quick vacation (we live over in Paradise) and I told my hubby this story. He could not believe it! Integrity. Where has it gone?

  5. Theresa, it isn't just integrity that is missing (at least my opinion). I think all kids should be raised on a 1000 acre farm; one that has dairy cows, beef cattle, a huge garden, lots of crops AND LOTS OF THINGS TO TEACH RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY.

    Did you take the scenic drive? If so, is the detour still in place??


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