The Storms of Lake Superior.

Have you even seen a storm on Lake Superior?

It is an awesome and fearsome spectacle.

Folk singer Gordon Lightfoot sang about one such storm in the song, The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy
With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and crew was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

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I think about these storms and Nature itself as I scan the headlines of the latest news.

If you ever experience a storm on Lake Superior, then you know that there are things, forces, that are beyond our control.

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I remember once in October of 1996 standing on the shore of Lake Superior just below Split Rock Lighthouse and watching 50 foot waves roll in and crash against the rocks.

The wind was so strong that I was barely able to stand up right and I knew that if I got too close to the shore I was risking my life.

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Yes, it is a fearful thing when the lake becomes angry.

Tee Pee Mexican Food

On the North East side of Phoenix, Arizona, there is a family run Mexican food restaurant called the Tee Pee that has been there since 1958.  I have eaten there hundreds of times: it is some of the best Mexican Food you will ever have.

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Interesting story about Tee Pee.

In 2004 president George W. Bush was visiting the phoenix area, speaking at Mesa Community College in the city of Mesa on the other side of the metro area.  When Bush had finished speaking, he impulsively turned to one of his staffers and asked, “When can a person get good authentic Mexican food around here in Phoenix?”

His staffer suggested Tee Pee Mexican Food on the other side of town.  She told the President that she had grown up in Phoenix and that her family had been coming to Tee Pee for generations for some of the best Mexican food in town.  Bush said, “Lets all go!” and without any pre-planning or adhering to a scheduled stop, the secret service went first ahead of Bush to secure the restaurant and the Tee Pee staff had only a 20 minute warning that the President of the United States was coming to sample their food.

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I once asked one of the owners about that story and he confirmed everything I had read in the newspaper.

“We had no idea he was coming,” he said. “The secret service shows up one evening and said that in less than 20 minutes the President of the United States is coming here for dinner.  We were shocked to say the least.  We had no idea he would be coming to Tee Pee that night.  So yes, it was a shock and we had to quickly scramble and get the restaurant ready to make a great welcome for the President.”

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President Bush that evening had the 2 cheese enchiladas with rice and beans plate when he was there and that became the “Presidential Special” on the menu at Tee Pee.

The restaurant even hung a plaque at the booth President Bush sat in and that became “The Presidential Booth.”  Honestly, every time I have eaten there since 2004 I have never seen that booth empty: it is always full because everyone wants to sit in the booth that President Bush sat in.

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If you are ever in Phoenix, do yourself a favor and take a trip to Tee Pee Mexican food.  You will be very glad that you did.

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Grapefruit Grove Road

It was a 104 degrees the other day in Glendale, and my thoughts drifted back to my Grandmother and her house on Grapefruit Grove Road.  Yes, there were wonderful times in this house.  I remember all those Christmases like yesterday.  The grapefruit tress in her backyard evoke the fondest memories, as do thoughts of my Grandmother and her famous Green Chile Burritos and coconut cream pies.

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Yet there was horror and tragedy there as well.

On a beautiful Arizona day, in 1959, with blue sky and sunshine, Willie, my Grandmother’s 4th husband (she was married a total of 6 times) went out onto the carport one morning, took a shotgun and blew out his heart and lungs all over my Grandma’s carport and wall.

Willie killed himself in front of all of us there.

I was a baby in 1959.

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I often reflect upon what effect that, as well as other family horror, may have had on me at that young age.  I was a year old, almost ready to start walking, when Willie killed himself in the house we were living in, in full view of everyone.

Do babies that age know or feel all the pain and horror all that the adults in the house felt?  Did my mother sob and wail as she changed my diapers? 

How was my Grandmother ever the same after her 4th husband kills himself in front of her?

I never really knew my Grandmother before, Willie committed suicide.

What was that Grandmother like?

Maybe we all died a little that day in 1959.

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