Thursday, June 16, 2016

As His Hometown Gears Up for a Weekend Long Picnic in Hackley Park, Wilbo Takes a Look Around Town As the Season Turns Toward Summer.

Ellen is at work. All the picnic tables owned by the City of Muskegon have arrived to Hackley Park this morning, stacked up like green, fallen dominoes. Ellen and her team will soon distribute some tables around the park, block off the city streets, and place some tables in a cafe on the street. Then the restaurants of Muskegon will bring their mobile kitchens to Clay Street, and we'll all have a big sit down snack together. Call it the Taste of Muskegon. Ellen is one of those civic people who put it all together around here, reminding one of a den mother plus a Fortune 500 VP who just wanted a simpler life on the lakeshore. The bands are promising because who wants to eat in the park without music. Chris Cordle looks like a guy who could pull off a good Todd Rundgren tribute act.

Chris Cordle looks like a guy who could pull off a good Todd Rundgren tribute act. He can build his own guitar too. Clever Cordle is a Luth, maker of instruments from wood, short for Luthier. Ruxy Music brings the party to the people, meaning there will be dancing on the green. This irresistible funk philosopher is on speed dial at the Muskegon Museum of Art when an art opening calls for fresh. The Shagwells are studio musicians who banded together to pay tribute to the British Invasion, so that will go well with the Scotch Eggs from Hennessey's Irish Pub, often the sponsor of Shagwells shows. And that's not the only news that caught my eye as I drove to Farmers Market. It's simple sights mostly. Main fire station has the big garage doors up so the most interesting fire men in West Michigan can go about chores in the fresh air. One of the fireman sings, plays guitar.

One of the firemen sings, plays guitar. And he does it for love, not money. Seriously, if your fundraiser needs some light entertainment, call the fire station on the seven digit phone number. Not the three digit Nine One One. Ask for the singing fireman, who always says yes to a good cause. Another fireman can tell you the location of any Great Lakes ship within five hundred miles without consulting the radar on Boat Nerd Dot Com. That's because he's the Lake Michigan correspondent for Boat Nerd. Fire People who must wait in a constant state of readiness become such well educated people. How to keep a mind active while one waits for the big call? Take up a challenging hobby. From my perspective, the almost defunct smoke stack of the coal power plant on Lake Muskegon looks attached like a finial to the grand entrance of Hot Rod Harley.

From my perspective, the almost defunct smoke stack of the coal power plant on Lake Muskegon looks attached like a finial to the grand entrance of Hot Rod Harley. The grand entrance has great orange Harley shields and the smoke stack rises up right between them as if the architect had planned it. The power plant is burning down its last load of coal delivered by a laker, a delivery made last summer. There's really no good reason for a laker to enter Muskegon's channel anymore. It'll be pleasure ships, like the Lake Express and the good cruise ship Pearl Mist from now onward. Seriously, does Consumers Power really believe that the lake residents will allow that tower to be torn down? The lake residents haven't allowed the tower at the paper mill to fall yet and it has been years. Leave the tower.

Leave the tower. The landmark guides kayakers on the Muskegon River. Peregrine Falcons raise their young on the side. It's nice that Consumers Power had built a Peregrine Falcon house on the side of the tall Shoreline Inn. The power company hopes the Falcons will move and be happy. But really, do we want tourists watching as plummeting Falcons swat and catch pigeons on the way down from the tenth floor? Then the falcon has to pluck its kill clean on the lawn before the outdoor cafe of the Lake House Restaurant? Better to leave those falcons to their wild dinners out at the lagoons around the power plant tower. That brings us to Bob, the official booster for the county, runs the bus department and the tourist bureau, and numerous additional duties. Brings us cruise ships, bass tournaments and today, a new statue. Like all those Chicagoland peeps, he's an overachiever.

Like all those Chicagoland peeps, he's an overachiever. A fellow became obsessed with an old ship that worked the port of Muskegon back in the age of sail. A beautiful lost ship called the Lyman Davis. I had to look that up because I kept thinking Lyman Briggs, an early professor at Michigan State honored by a lecture hall. Plenty of men named Lyman around 1855. Fellow got together a team of friends and acquaintances to write checks, hired a sculptor and now we have a new sculpture on a roundabout near the Lake House. Now do we want falcons plucking kills on the new sculpture? Hardly. Booster Bob has a good summer going, with new "trick the eye" boulders in the trees of Hackley Park for Taste of Muskegon and a new Walldog style mural on the Holiday Inn honoring the making of springs in town, metal springs big and small.

Of course I'm driving over to see the new sculpture as soon as I finish my apple pie I bought from a woman at the Farmers Market. It's fine to know that good people remember the Lyman Davis with a good wind filling its sail. The age of wind shall never fail on the always breezy waters of Lake Muskegon. We even host ships that sail into our port looking like one of Columbus's barques. We even get a yearly visit from the museum ship from South Heaven, South Haven a heavenly port, named Friends Good Will. The local man who helps sails her plays Mandolin for tips Saturdays at the Farmers Market. Ah, but the Silversides Museum has hopes to build a tall ship to tie up next to the great submarine and the Coast Guard cruiser, the McClain. What if we could see the sails of the Davis fill with wind again?

The Lyman Davis was burnt off Toronto for the Entertainment of Onlookers?

The Lyman Davis caught the eye of an anonymous painter as it entered Muskegon's harbor in 1875. The painting is collected by the Muskegon Museum of Art.

The Smithsonian Institute Identifies the Painter as Christre Poularne

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