ON MY MIND: Looking through new glasses

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

This week I met friends from Muskegon and Montrose for lunch at the Winter Inn. They meet there often as it is kind of a halfway spot for them. After they left, I thought our time together had been like putting on new glasses. To look at Greenville through the eyes of visitors is a new perspective and one we might all take a second to think about.

We had lunch in the garden at the Winter Inn. As we walked through the dining room and halls to leave, they went on and on about how lucky we are to have the Winter Inn in our town. I often think that myself, but it was extra special to hear their oohs and ahhs as they admired the stained glass windows, the lovely decor and fireplace. My friend, Dan, even said, “Moe, you’ve got to come in and see the art in the men’s restroom.” That was my first invitation ever to do that.

He checked for other men and found it empty. We then went into the men’s room and he showed me all the great motorcycle photos, etc. Dan is a seasoned motorcycle enthusiast and knew each cycle in every photo. No other people came in so I got out safely without anyone wondering about me. I gotta tell you, though. Those urinals looked like they’d be mighty hard to sit on.

We are lucky, indeed, to have the Winter Inn and sometimes we just take things like this for granted. Hats off to Becky who not only owns it but is always there working and always there being friendly, helpful, and beautiful!

Our group then walked up main street to Huch’s. On the way they oohed and ahhed about the wonderful shoe store we have and how lucky we are to have that. O’Connor Shoes is indeed wonderful and always surprises me with their superb variety of up-to-date shoes. They are another example of things we need to be grateful for in our small community.

After that I went with another friend to Clifford Lake Inn for dinner on the deck, a truly beautiful setting, super friendly staff, good food and live music on some days.

Although I don’t get there much, I hear the burgers and tacos are fabulous at Turk Lake Bar and the big deck gives a great spot to make merry.

For ages now, I have been hearing about the Smyrna bakery, officially called Otisco Bakery & Basics. My cousin in Grand Rapids has even driven up to it. Recently when our girls were visiting, we drove over there on a Saturday morning to check it out. Wow! What a yummy surprise. Breads and goodies baked daily by master baker Karlene Johnson who truly loves what she does. If you haven’t been there, treat yourself to a drive and visit. Each day different breads and goodies are offered. They also have a wonderful selection of wine and beer, basic food and several flavors of ice cream. That is, if you need a cone to help you get home. Oh, and be prepared. The next time you get in your car, it may just want to drive back there. I’m just saying!

Now, back to my original story. Why were we walking to Huch’s? For jewelry? No, silly, for chocolate!

The other day I ran into my friend, Polly, who used to own Baskets in the Belfry in Rockford. She also wrote a cooking column for the newspaper and has published a cookbook. She quit all of that to focus on her new love — making fine chocolates. I asked her how it was going and where she is selling her chocolates. “In all the cool tourist cities along the Lake Michigan coast, Grand Rapids, Rockford, Greenville.”

“Greenville?” I could feel my life getting brighter.

“Yes, at Huch’s Fine Jewelry.” Who’d a thunk! Jewelry and chocolate.

The next day I ran into Debbie Huch who told me she had been at a jewelry show in Chicago and one of the better stores there gave a presentation on how they were now selling fine chocolate along with their jewelry. So, Debbie checked out several suppliers for great chocolates and decided Miss Polly was the one.

Stop in soon and treat yourself. Most are individual pieces, but they have a few gift boxes. There’s a variety of truffles, salted caramels, sea foam, clusters, and on and on. Cheers to Debbie for her creativity! What is it Rachael Ray says? “Yummm – o.”

If you are going to any gatherings this summer and need to take a dish to pass, I just made a new “Naughty Bar” which everyone at our family reunion raved over. It is fast, made of brown sugar and other stuff you have on hand — perfect for those fun get-togethers. Email me if you’d like the recipe.

Wishing you a great end of summer. Enjoy the sun. I just read a quote by Will Rogers. “I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.” And here’s a fun comment by my friend, Jackie Ward, “Just because they make it in your size, doesn’t mean you should wear it.”

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

Leave a Comment