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Stirrin’ Up Memories

Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he’s a good storyteller for a long time… so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts. Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen… whichever you prefer… and you are receiving a copy because you’re a current customer of Frasier’s Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We think you’ll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!


My parents had a big station wagon. Remember those… with the giant bench seats in the back?

But even though we had transportation, we didn’t really take family trips. My parents were always working in the business.

Then, one summer day, our parents surprised us with a trip to the North Shore area around Lake Superior and to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Now, there were nine of us kids. But at this time, it was just me, my brother, and two younger sisters. My other four sisters and other oldest brother had already moved out by then. We loaded up the station wagon and headed north.


I did not know what to expect.

Our first stop was a campsite on one of the Northwoods lakes. And the first thing I did was grab my fishing rod and headed to the lake.

There was a tree leaning out over the water. So I climbed out and leaned up against one of the limbs. I could see bass and bluegill everywhere.

I caught a mess of bluegill that day. But we didn’t eat fish that night.

Because when I got back, I found dad grillin’ up burgers.

He was out there at the campsite grill, seasoning the meat, chopping onions, toasting buns, and puttin’ together all the fixin’s.

As a growing boy, I had eaten my share of hamburgers… but the burgers dad made that day were the best I had ever eaten.

In fact, they’re the best burgers I’ve ever tasted in my life.

This one day vacation was off to a great start.


The fun continued as we made our way up north. We stopped for waterfalls and a copper mine in the U.P. We would visit little shops and buy knickknacks. We walked the shores and looked at stones.

It was a great trip. The only snag came when we tried to find somewhere to sleep. There were little motels all over the Northwoods. But everywhere we went, the No Vacancy sign was lit.

But dad kept at it until he finally found a room.

Mom had bought one of those jumbo boxes of Hostess Twinkies for the four of us. We sat in that motel room and devoured those Twinkies. That wasn’t typical. But that’s the kind of stuff you’re supposed to do on a road trip.

It was so much fun. We laughed a lot. And for some strange reason we didn’t fight or argue on that trip like we usually did back home.

Even though we were within driving distance from our home, we saw things that we’d never seen.


We were away from everything. Dad couldn’t make or take any calls to talk about work. This was before cell phones. The only other means of communication were pay phones, the phone in the motel room, and the phone at the front desk.

That was it. No emails, Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, nothing. Because there was no internet.

We didn’t miss it because it didn’t exist.

Some days I wish it could be like that again.

Do you know what it’s like to shut down?

These days, there’s always something stirrin’ your attention. But you can get away from the noise, venture out into nature, and be stirred.

Where do you go to get away?

Maybe it’s time for a road trip.

Take care, neighbor. Take good care.

P.S. – Did you know that if you boil coffee grounds in a pot and throw an egg shell in the pot when it’s done boiling, the coffee grounds just sink to the bottom? We call it Island Coffee. I suggest you visit an island and try it sometime.


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