Betsy’s “goodbye” to Boyne as published in The Citizen, September 1996

Fall colors

Acorns scattered on the ground and cool, misty Northern Michigan air welcomed me to fall one recent morning while I hiked at Avalanche Preserve.

I knew that soon squirrels and other creatures would be hurrying to store food for winter, and people would be preparing for the season in their traditional ways. Not me – I would be doing something else.

Instead of packing summer clothes away and locating jackets, boots and snow equipment, I would be stowing clothes and supplies for work and school in a motor home.

The process of preparing for a long journey has begun, and our family will soon start a long trip around the United States, learning, working and getting acquainted with our country as we travel.

We will keep in touch. A growing list of addresses, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses will go with us. A web page will be built so students and friends can contact us or follow our journey.

There are many people and things I will think about and miss during the months we are gone. I’m beginning to realize just how much we will all miss our friends, and I already miss writing for The Citizen.

Over the last 10 months, people of Boyne City, Boyne Falls and East Jordan have opened windows to their lives for me so I could write about them, and I have loved it.

I thank all of you who have patiently shared your time and information with me. I have worked with scores of kind, dedicated people in our cities, schools and communities.

My co-workers at the Citizen have no idea how much they have helped me learn about myself and my writing or how they have constantly reminded me that a sense of humor is not only valuable, but necessary.

Our friends at FMB Northwestern Bank and all over Boyne have helped make starting the trip easier. Margie Smith baked us cookies, and thanks to Dawn Peterson at Studio One, we will travel with clean, healthy hair. Trudy Hausler supplied an angel of the highway to protect us along our way.

These and many others are the kinds of people and deeds we will miss.

We appreciate the words of advice, support and encouragement so many of you have given. This trip is a major life decision, and it is as frightening as it is exciting.

A wise friend told me he sometimes thinks traveling is an escape from reality. I agree it can be. On the other hand, traveling can be about discovering or creating new realities. And, of course, there’s no escaping what lies around the next bend when you reach it.

While I make preparations for the next few months on the road, and wonder whether there are more nuts in my head than there are acorns in the woods, I keep thinking about the word “goodbye.”

I didn’t want to use it because I think it’s so final, but during the time I was trying to find an alternative word, I received a card from a friend. It said, “Goodbye is a shortened version of God be with you.”

So, I want to say thank you, I wish you peace, and goodbye.