In The Merry Month Of May June 11 2013

View from the ranks as Legion Color Guard led procession to the Island Cemetery Monday morning. 

Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Visitors and residents of Washington Island enjoyed a near-perfect Memorial Day Weekend, with fine weather Friday through Monday.  Nearly any outdoor activity could be enjoyed, except for swimming or laying on the beach, since just one month ago the ice was leaving our harbors and the lake water is too cold for swimming.

The traditional Memorial Day Program with ceremonies at the cemetery and School House Beach afterward, sponsored by the local Gislason-Richter American Legion Post 402, was held at Bethel Evangelical Free Church.  Student Americanism Essays were read, selected war poems were recited by men of the Post, and the community turnout and support was again gratifying.

Approach to Rock Island, Saturday, May 25.

With the holiday over, we returned immediately to cooler, wetter weather Tuesday morning.  This year, with the addition of the small passenger ferry Karfi to the Ferry Line Fleet, I am under instruction with Jeff Cornell, who practically trained as a toddler under his Grampa Jim Cornell years ago.  Although a small vessel, rather straightforward in many ways, nevertheless there are characteristics and idiosyncrasies in this ferry not found on the larger vessels in Detroit Harbor.

This change of scenery is a welcomed one for me, and propitious, too, as I am just completing a book under the title, Thordarson and Rock Island.  This is a coincidental convergence of my earlier goal of completing this local history book, with the recent and unplanned acquisition of the Karfi by the Ferry Line company.  I am now  allowed the pleasure of working a few days each week on the Rock Island run.

After reading intently and organizing letter and document materials that were Thordarson's, with a steady, concentrated writing effort since January 1st, it is now a pleasure to set course for the Thordarson's stone edifice, the Rock Island State Park Boathouse.  It is Thordarson's best known structure and a most convenient point on which to steer when departing Jackson Harbor.

Jeff is particular as to how his operation should be managed, following years of safe and reliable transportation. I'm slowly gaining the needed skills.  If Jeff is to get his day off each week, my improved abilities will give him that opportunity.

There are two contrasting photos shown here of the Karfi's recent operations.  One was taken Saturday on the noon trip to Rock Island.  The other was yesterday morning when we had cool temperatures and a light rain.   I'm amazed, given that weather, that we had any passengers for a day of hiking and exploring on Rock Island.  It shows the possibilities when sunnier, warmer days arrive.

-  Dick Purinton   (Note:  Thordarson and Rock Island is a reasonable 4-6 weeks away from printing.  Estimated pages:  435; 100+ images with maps; paperback.   Price:  $27 + tax + S + H)