Today, attempting to embark on our roadtrip from Michigan to the Manitoulin Island, we encounter a series of unfortunate events, culminating in a giant traffic stoppage due to an accident on the I-75 southbound. It doesn't take us long to come to terms with the fact that we will not get to Tobermory to catch the last ferry to the island. In the meantime, as we sit on the highway in the sweltering sun, the gas tank is dwindling, no highway exit in sight. Trapped, we pull over to sit out the traffic jam on the side of the road with the car off. It's more than an hour into the jam-up and we all get quiet and feeling dejected, wondering how many hours of this are ahead of us.
Within 15 minutes, we're approached by no less than six different cars, offering gas, snacks and water. One lady shares what she'd heard on the traffic report. At one point, we see an older woman walking unsteadily on the side of the road with a wad of tissue in her hand, obviously seeking an gentler route into the ditch where she can relieve herself. A woman who had minutes ago insisted we accept bottles of cold water from her cooler, gets out of her car to help the woman down the side of the ditch and behind some bushes on the other side. She then stands there with her skirt spread to protect the woman's privacy. After ten minutes or so she helps the woman back up to the road and sends her back to her car with a bottle of water and a hug. I've always know Americans are kind people. Today they proved it again.
Everyone's moods are heightened significantly, and our resolve to drive around to the island the long way, back north the other way through Michigan, through Sault Ste Marie toward Espanola and bridge access to the island, doesn't seem so bad. We arrive at the cottage at 1:45 am, after more than 13 hours, bloody tired, but happy to be here.
When I was a kid, the highlight of every summer was getting together with my Michigan cousins. Now we're all middle-aged and we're as happy to see one another as we ever were. Big smiles all night long. Feeling thankful for my family, and events like weddings that bring us together.