Those of you who are my age older may remember November 10, 1975. More likely, you may remember the song that was released shortly thereafter memorializing the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. As a preschooler, Liam developed a fascination with shipwrecks. For a while it was all Titanic all the time; but then Gordon Lightfoot got ahold of him and he became an Edmund Fitzgerald expert. He can tell you incredibly accurate details about the rogue wave that split the ship in two and dragged it to the bottom of Lake Superior. Creepy - but impressive nonetheless.
Today we visited the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point, Michigan. The Edmund Fitzgerald went down 15 miles off the coast of Whitefish Point ("some people say they'd have made Whitefish Bay if they'd put 15 more miles behind her") and the museum houses the most complete exhibit dedicated to the tragedy found anywhere. The exhibit includes the bell retrieved from the wreckage that lies 535 feet below the surface of Lake Superior (Superior, it's said, never gives up her dead when the gales of November come early....).
This museum is the reason we designed our route to go through the upper peninsula of Michigan. Because I don't know many people, let alone children, who count themselves as experts on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. And this museum lies at the edge of the earth - on the way to nothing - and it may be our one and only opportunity to indulge this very specific interest.
For Liam, the experience was profound. He was quiet and reverent (I know, you're all thinking "Quiet?!"). He was quiet and reverent........until he was done being quiet and reverent. And then he was whiny and annoying. I'm sure you've heard this conversation before:
" That's IT. From now on, we're gonna strap you into that car and we're just gonna DRIVE for hundreds and hundreds of miles without stopping! You'll be lucky if we let you out to pee! Why do you think we stopped here? Is it because I have such a tremendous interest in the Edmund Fitzgerald? Is it because Daddy just LUVS learning about the Edmund Fitzgerald? NO! This is for YOU! And if you don't get your act together there will be NOTHING for you on this trip! Do you hear me? We'll spend all of our time at art museums and antique stores and IN THE CAR! So I suggest you straighten up and fly right, buddy!"
Deep breath........ We righted the situation shortly thereafter by going down to the beach. We sat on a log and ate squeezy cheese out of a can (more on that later) and drank Bubble UP and collected some of the best rocks on the planet. This...... could end up being the high point of our entire trip. Aaaaaaaah.
Then we hopped a ferry to Mackinac Island. Had dinner. Hopped the ferry back. Check that box, baby!