Delilah Dewylde will be performing in the Dogwood Center’s Black Box on Saturday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. Whether boppin’ to a rockabilly classic or performing one of her great originals, Delilah puts on a show that is not to be missed! The band is rounded out by the fantastic Lee Harvey on guitar, and the solid rhythm of Johnny HiWatt on the snare drum. This hot combo will have your toes tapping and your face smiling!
Delilah DeWylde got her start in 2004. Just like rockabilly originators Johnny Cash, Bill Haley and Carl Perkins, this Michigander cut her teeth on steel-guitar driven country in the style popularized by Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Webb Pierce. But the draw of the big beat was irresistible, and over time the band’s approach has become sharper and tighter. Not self-consciously retro, Delilah remains committed to hand-crafted American music that stands at the crossroads of creativity and craftsmanship, liberally drawing from honky-tonk country, rockabilly and surf music.
Bandleader Delilah DeWylde (upright bass/lead vocals) is veteran of the West Michigan music scene and an alumna of rockabilly institution DangerVille. Her out-sized stage presence is the centerpiece of the show — one minute singing sweetly, the next slapping her bass into submission.
Next to the sound and fury of Miss Delilah stands cool character Lee Harvey on electric guitar. His serious demeanor on-stage reveals his reverence for the precision and technique of the “original” guitar gods—the likes of Paul Burlison, Billy Byrd, Cliff Gallup, Grady Martin, Dick Dale, Luther Perkins, Scotty Moore and Don Rich.
Taking their task seriously, the trio plies its trade the old-fashioned way – live and in person, logging more than 120 gigs a year throughout the Midwest and beyond.
This performance is sponsored by the Dogwood Center Board of Directors.
Tickets are $15.00 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
By N3 Entertainment Team
Whether familiar with Elmer Elevator’s adventures or not your chance to shake off a little February funk with some family fun is arriving Sunday afternoon at 3pm when My Father’s Dragon the Newbery Honor book comes to life on the Dogwood Center stage.
The show is recommended for ages 4 and up so if you’ve young ‘uns about who could use a little time out of the house this is a show that will fit the bill for being both entertaining and engaging.
Tickets are $15.00 for adults, $5 for children 18 and under and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
Looking to protect yourself? It’s all about preparedness these days and learning a few strategies to keep yourself safe. In that vein the Newaygo Police Department will be hosting a Self-Defense class for women on Wednesday February 28th in the council chambers of Newaygo City Hall.
Ages are 14 and up and provided free to those who live or work in the city.
contact Officer Dornbos @ 231-652-1655 ext. 242 to signup, and for any questions
It is indeed the Lenten season. Back when we lived in our Metro neighbor to the south you could barely fall down without hitting a fish fry during the pre-Easter Fridays.The west side alone served up a veritable ocean’s worth a week
Hereabouts there are two we are aware of. The Knights of Columbus serve it up at at St. Bart’s which is always a community event where folks rouse from their mid-winter cocooning to greet neighbors and eat fish. All Saints in Fremont also brings out the masses (people) for some collective communing (social) and culinary consumption.
Both are 5-7pm. On Fridays of course.
The goal of The Compassion Home is to provide compassionate, loving support to the terminally ill in a peaceful, comfortable home setting while caring for the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of our guests and their families.
This is a great grass roots undertaking that has gotten a lot of traction in a short period of time.
The first facility is set to open in White Cloud next month and this weekend you have a chance to take part in their Open House from 1-4pm Saturday and Sunday. At 930 East Newell.
You can speak to Board Members, Staff and Volunteers to learn more about this wonderful addition to our human services community. Refreshments will be provided for visitors at St Joseph’s Catholic Church Community Hall located only a few steps away from CH.
Got a kid going to college? For any financial aid they need to have their FAFSA completed by March 1st. See our article “Financial Aid Deadline Looms’ in the Living Well section.
Denying the extent of our local opioid problem is no longer an option. We are being besieged by this issue and no one knows this more than local law enforcement.
Two choices here. Sit back and bemoan the tragedies associated with this huge problem or take a stab at being part of the solution.
Last month Families Against Narcotics (FAN)debuted in our area with their kickoff meeting that was well attended and produced some valuable info for folks.N3 was there and came away duly impressed at the number of people who came to share their experiences or just learn from others.
The monthly meetings continue on Wednesday February 28th at the NCRESA building in Fremont. The speaker will be Joel Abendroth of the Michigan State Police who will be discussing current drug trends, enforcement efforts, and what parents and families should be looking for.
Need more info? Go to their facebook page.
The Fremont Area District Library is welcoming Mitch Kachun who will present “African Americans and the Great Migration” on Tuesday February 27th at 7pm in the library’s community room.The professor of African American History at Western Michigan University, will discuss some of the important themes and historical contexts of this year’s Great Michigan Read; X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz, which covers the early life of Malcolm X in Michigan, Boston, and Harlem between the 1920s and 1940s.
On Thursday March 1st at 7pm. Michigan Storyteller, Lois Sprengnether Keel, will present World War I: “Hello Girl” at the Newaygo Area District Library.
World War I was won not only on the battlefield, but also at the phone switchboard. Hear how bilingual operators helped General Pershing “Over There”.
And for sports enthusiasts it doesn’t get any better than the tournament action played out on our local high school courts.
Monday District play begins at Fremont for the girls teams with the hosts taking on Belding at 6pm and Newaygo tangling with Tri County at 730. The winners move on to Wednesday's games when Sparta and Grant join in the fun.
If you’re a fan of the White Cloud team you will need to drive a bit further as they will be taking to the court in Scottville home of Mason County Central. The Indians will face the Pirates of Hart Monday with a 7pm tip off time.
The NCCA-Artsplace Statewide Photography Competition is an annual event with the goal of exhibiting and acknowledging some of the finest photographers in Michigan while encouraging greater growth and achievement in the photographic community. With an entry deadline of April 19, photographers across the state are shooting and printing their favorite subjects for their entries in this year’s competition.
Michigan photographers, 18 years or older, are encouraged to take part in this juried competition. All photographic processes are accepted and each photographer may submit up to two pieces of work for the entry fee of $30. Members of NCCA-Artsplace may submit two pieces for a reduced entry fee of $25. All entries must be framed and ready to display.
Selected works submitted to the competition will be exhibited in the NCCA-Artsplace Ray and Phyllis Jansma Exhibition Gallery May 3 through June 2. An exhibit reception and award announcement will be held on Saturday, May 5. Photographers awarded first, second or third place will be provided a cash prize. Honorable mention pieces will also be selected. The juror for 2018 is Paul Petersen, professional photographer from Grand Marais.
Competition guidelines and entry forms are available at NCCA – Artsplace, 13 East Main Street, downtown Fremont or by calling 231.924.4022. The guidelines and forms may also be printed from www.ncca-artsplace.org.
Straight from its premiere performance in Philadelphia, "My Father’s Dragon" comes to the Dogwood Center on Sunday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. Presented by Enchantment Theatre, the theatrical performance brings to life in vibrant color Ruth Stiles Gannett’s beloved stories about talking animals, flying dragons and the loveable, clever boy named Elmer who courageously rescues a captive baby dragon. "My Father’s Dragon" features over 30 puppets that seem to have popped right off the pages of Ruth Chrisman Gannett’s beautiful book illustrations.
The beloved Newbery Honor book comes to life in this charming tale about compassion, courage and friendship. Join Elmer as he sets off on a daring adventure to rescue a baby dragon who’s being held captive by the ferocious animals of Wild Island. With pluck and ingenuity Elmer makes his way to the Island, outwits the wild animals and saves Boris, the dragon. Using puppets, masks, magical scenic effects and original music, Enchantment Theatre Company brings Elmer’s marvelous quest to the stage, with an adventure that reminds us all that we are never too young to make a difference. The performance is suggested for ages 4 years old and up.
Enchantment Theatre is a leading professional theatre company for young audiences, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of imagination. The company serves over 120,000 children and their families every year both on and offstage across the United States and Canada.
Tickets are $15.00 for adults, $5 for children 18 and under and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
By Ken DeLaat
Two shows in three days.
The Dogwood Center outdid itself last week with a pair of preeminent performances one on the sumptuous Main Stage and two days later in the cozy club-like atmosphere of the Black Box.
Thursday brought Dublin Irish Dance a talented troupe who delivered a creative and compelling story through dance and song entitled “Stepping Out”. The dancing was nothing short of phenomenal. It was as if a féile had broken out in Fremont as the skills of the steppers proved to be provide a festive atmosphere.
The accompaniment of instrumental play and well-placed songsmanship worked to weave the classic ‘boy gets girl, boy loses girl and boy gets girl back’ narrative into the show but the real story played out on stage was the tale of immigration. Of leaving your homeland and starting over in a new world.
The dances deftly displayed how the Celtic culture immigrated with its people to become part of the ever evolving experiment known as America.
A refreshing retelling of a time honored tale that the audience embraced wholeheartedly.
Two days later the 12th annual exhibition of instrument ingenuity known to many as simple ‘The Luthiers” filled the Black Box with a celebration of these artisans of sound.
Isaac Smith who first performed at the concert as a pre-teen opened the show with the talented Ms. Katie Springer a North Carolina native he met at a festival a few years back. They’ve been playing together ever since and tonight they tore it up using the extraordinary violins created by Elon Howe. Their version of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” nearly started a revival with the sweetness and clarity it was performed with.
Keith Caldwell’s instruments were next on stage and played by Keith along with the trio of Gene Calkins Jack Schipper and Jerry Roberts. Their selections brought smiles of recognition from the crowd as they wandered past some country classics and spun a bit of gospel in as well. They were also joined by the aforementioned Smith/Springer duo for one of their numbers
Don Benson took the stage next and was joined by fellow Luthier (and granddaughter) Cyanne Schuitema. Ukeleles were on the docket for this set and the highlight was a version of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” that saw Megan Wirts and Raven Wirts join the pair for a powerful presentation. Raven and Cyanne closed with a nicely played version of “Build Me Up Buttercup” a selection that brought a bit of surprise since the song made its debut the year I graduated from high school and the singers have yet to begin their secondary careers.
Chester Winoweicki is always a personal favorite. He possesses an intriguing stage presence as he intros his songs with a little historical backdrop as an appetizer and projects an obvious affection for the tunes when he serves them up.
His specialty of repurposed instruments is easily forgotten given the richness of sound they produce and his version of Tiptoe Through The Tulips included a little reminder of how Tiny Tim, a.k.a. Herbert Buckingham Khaury (as Chester opined “No wonder he called himself Tiny Tim”) took the early 20th century song to the top of the charts.
We were then introduced to Jim Spalink who was joined on stage by two of his hand crafted harps. These visions of beauty became radiant when he took to the strings for an all too short set of tunes. His performance was a magical musical journey and betrayed both his virtuosity and versatility on this seemingly enchanted instrument.
The evening was brought to a close by the inimitable Ralston Bowles whose candor and wit has charmed audiences in West Michigan and beyond for decades. Playing a guitar from the workshop of Bryan Galloup his musical stories and improvisational style provided a fitting final chapter to the latest Luthiers Concert.
“Valentine's Day is the poet's holiday.”-Ted Kooser
Ok, a couple of days ago we spun off a few ideas for your Valentine’s Day Dilemma. You know, what to give, where to go, what to do,etc.
Because we are huge believers in the power of romance to rekindle a relationship. Life is pretty busy for most folks these days it seems and while some might complain about Valentine’s Day being nothing more than a Hallmark promoted way to get people to spend money (a stance particularly embraced by those we might term...uh… ‘thrifty’) having a day that celebrates love certainly isn’t the worst idea in the world.
We at N3WH continue our quest to offer many options to our readers in order to provide a vast variety of VDay victuals and events available here in our corner of the universe.
Newaygo Brewing Co.
An atmosphere of conviviality exists at NewBrewCo. lending itself to the kind of pleasant conversation often aligned with good food and good drink. It’s a kick-back kind of place where you can relax while pondering the latest creations on tap and deciding on which of their preeminent pizzas will grace the table.
A date night dream, the brewery provides a setting conducive to communication, a key factor in any relationship whether it be in the infancy stage or one involving veterans in the ongoing quest for connection.
On V-Day they are hitting it out of the park with “A Newaygo Valentine’s Day”
Your evening starts with their wonderful breadstick appetizer followed by a 3 topping pizza. This also includes a pair of beverages with a choice from their epic brews, wistful wines or scintillating ciders.
Well any romantic dinner requires a dessert to top it off and NBCo, does it right.
Need we say more?
As Stephanie Plum asserts in the Janet Evanovich offering “Eleven on Top”
“Don't get me wrong. I like sex ...a lot. But it's never going to replace cake.”
The Harrington Inn
Need a little getaway? A respite from the routine?
Ah, but time restraints are not going to allow for a spontaneous sojourn to Sanibel or a timely trip to Tucson, are they?
Well, the folks at Harrington Inn are offering up an opportunity for a close to home mini-vaycay with their Romance Package including a night’s stay inna Jacuzzi State Room, a box of chocolates, a bottle of sparkling cider, and a gift card to Lakes 23 Restaurant.
A second offering is the Pizza and a Movie Package with a gift certificate to Spanky’s Pizza, two tickets to the Fremont Cinema and a one night stay in a Deluxe King Room.
Looking for something a bit different to do? Caught up with midweek madness next Wednesday and wanting to get a head start on celebrating the day?
Our friends at Camp Newaygo are hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner this Saturday (Feb. 10).You can deduce the details by visiting
The White Cloud Food Emporium is putting together Wine and Roses Gift Boxes.
6 long stem beauties, 6 chocolate covered strawberries, 3 chocolate covered pretzels, 3 cake pops and a bottle of wine or sparkling grape juice handsomely presented in a gift box with a card.
But move quickly, these must be reserved and time's a wastin’ before the orders are forced to close.
As we said time is winding down so hop to it friendly readers. There’s romance to be had, relationships to celebrate and affordable local opportunities to tell that special person you care by offering up the best of gifts.
“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.” -Oscar Wilde
By Charles Chandler
See this award winner, but know before you go, that it is R rated, an accurate rating given its profanity, graphic violence and general disrespect for age, gender, race and religion.
The seven academy award nominations that Three Billboards Outside of Ebbin, Missouri has received are well earned and more would not have been a stretch. This is a big strong adult movie with dark humor, over the top drama where seething anger and frustration often explode in raw emotional outburst and unprovoked violence.
The story line is straight forward. Angela Hays the out of control teenage daughter of Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) was found raped and burned by the side of the road. Months have passed without a clue suspect or conviction in this terrible murder case. Mildred totally obsessed with her loss and consumed with anger comes up with an idea to refocus the Ebbing Police Department and Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) attention on the case. She does this by renting three derelict billboards near the location where her daughter was murdered. Then on each of the three billboards is displayed one of these statements “Raped While Dying”; “And Still No Arrests?”; “How Come, Chief Willoughby?”
Soon Police Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), the sadistic, angry mama’s boy sees the billboards, gets his shirt in a wad and take exception to what his simple mind perceives as an insult to the beloved Chief Willoughby. The tension between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement that has been simmering now goes to boil over. The (choose your stereotype here) townsfolk of Ebbing are draw in and soon Mildred gets a visit from Chief Willoughby and the local priest both ratcheting up the pressure on her to take the billboards down. Both their approaches are surprising and Chief Willoughby’s personal revelation should have moved Mildred to relent.
Her rebuttal to Willoughby and the Priest is why I go to movies; Mildred is unrepentant and demonstrates her bed rock commitment to see justice or revenge for the death of her daughter regardless of the consequences to herself, the town or anyone else.
Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”) has produced a courageous movie here and has done a couple of other things surprisingly well. In this movie he has captured the Southern small town character of Ebbing and the seemingly unexplainable behaviors of the Hayes. Before you see this movie and to better understand this dysfunctional Hayes family, their love hate relationships and disrespectful behavior to each other, I suggest you read the current best seller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” By J. D. Vance. It is an insider’s guided tour through the crazy world of dysfunctional families.
All of the supporting cast turn in great believable performances. My favorites were Police Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) and his evil alcoholic mother, two crazy people that you will love to hate. An excellent performance was delivered by Mildred’s ex husband, an alleged wife beating cop played by John Hawkes. He and his 19 year old bubblehead girlfriend are just too perfect as a couple.
I think the performance of Mildred Hayes in Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri by actress Frances McDormand takes this movie beyond what the British Director Martin McDonagh had ever envisioned. I think this is the performance of her career surpassing that of Marge Gunderson in Fargo. Surly she will take home the Oscar for Best Actress.
“On Valentine’s Day, we are reminded what our relationships could be like the other 364.” -Steve Maraboli
The staff at N3 World Headquarters and Bird Seed Buffet have always been an empathetic bunch. We’re aware of how busy everyone is these days, except for Tuesday nights at 9 when “This Is Us” arrives. Reason being it’s one of those shows people talk about and rehash and its more fun to be a part of it then it is to be sending out spoiler alert warnings to everyone you might encounter the next day.
But we digress.
Valentine’s Day is but a moment away my friends and while this may not send even the slightest of a shiver to those well prepared gifters who seem to possess endless ideas that always seem to work out?
It can be troubling for folks who want to have a few options laid before them before selecting what gift to give, activity to attend, event to consider, fun thing to arrange etc
Well we are here for you friendly readers. The N3WH staff are in the midst of exploring a wealth of options all available within our area.
This downtown Newaygo enclave of edibles is a regular stop for foodies in the Near North and beyond. GG has a few ideas that appeal to those looking to put a different twist on their V-Day celebration.
How about “Lovers Let’s Cook!
We’re talking romance here right? And preparing meals together can be a most intimate kind of experience. Without going too ‘Cosmo” here there are many studies that show couples who cook together tend to be closer in other ways as well so while culinary collaboration might not be what is traditionally thought of as foreplay…….
The class is from 6-9pm on the Big Day and while it begins with the two of you developing and/or expanding your cookery skills the evening is consummated when a 4 course meal with wine pairing is enjoyed. With a menu of Sizzling Scallops, Smoked Duck Breast Salad, Steak au Poivre, Hasselback Potatoes, Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes, do we really need to say more?
The class is first come first served basis and given the popularity of the GG cooking classes they have added a Friday class for those who might eschew mid week celebrations.
Looking for a gift with a bit of a ‘Wow’ factor? Got a guy who is hard to buy for but loves to eat?
Yes, a bountiful basket designed specifically for him by you. You can create a gastronomical gift he will truly enjoy with cheeses, salami, olives, wine, cookies, pastries, rosemary cashews, grilling gadgets, gift certificate, and so much more.
And if your giftee is of the female persuasion?
How about a ‘Just for Her’ gift basket with everything to sweeten her day: wine, homemade candy, chocolate covered strawberries, cheese & crackers, gift certificate, etc.
The staff at GG are remarkable at helping you find just the right combination that will make you a V-Day hero.
We love Sui Generis, the fabulously funky and fun furniture facility that graces the corner of Downtown Newaygo. Since their days up the street the Coopers have been bringing unique products large and small to their customers who have rewarded them by spreading the word on this Near North gem.
For V-Day they are offering products that will bring a smile to your special someone.
No they do not involve gunpowder. These beauties explode in a nice hot tub to create a spa like atmosphere without leaving home. Bonus for those who like Michigan Made products. These are unquestionably a bipeninsular breed.
A classic line for Simpsons fans but hey, who doesn’t love donuts?
Well, when its February and cold and no one wants to venture out to find a few of these delectables for that weekend morning when kicking back and settling in is prime part of the day’s scheduling?
Yes, with one of these and some of SG’s gourmet donut mixes a treasure of tastiness awaits as the two of you discover the pleasure to be had from collaborating on cruller creation.
And of course you cannot go wrong with gift cards your sweetie can put it towards that new sofa or area rug that she (or he) really wants.
Hit The Road Joe
If you have ever taken part in the wonderful and whimsical evening feasts Chef T. has produced at this Croton area cafe it’s likely you are already on the reservation list for one of their V-Day dinners. If not, here’s a chance to really impress your companion while enjoying the dynamic dining experience Chef T. and her staff provide.
Great atmosphere, remarkable food, and impeccable service. Just the ticket for your V-Day date.
Oh and the menu?
Cream of Mushroom (made with a variety of mushrooms)
Composed salad of wild rice, beets, and mixed greens
Herb crusted Prime Rib served with a mixed potato, parsnip mash and sautéed green beans
Dessert will be something chocolaty and wonderful!!!
Anyone else find themselves a bit hungry right now?
Two dinners, this Saturday the 10th and the Day itself.
Call (231)652-6020 or stop in at HTJ 7261 Elm St. to make reservations.
Look for more ideas in the coming days because we at N3WH wish to see all of our readers embracing the day that celebrates romance.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land”
I find it difficult to explain to a non-runner what the appeal of running is all about. There are a lot of questions that fly my way in regards to the topic of long distance running.
You do this for FUN?
What time did you say you went out for your run? ...On a Saturday MORNING?
The temperature was how many degrees below zero and you’re telling me it wasn’t that bad?
I’m sorry….you said you RAN 8 miles? I don’t even like driving my car 8 miles.
Why? Why would you do that to yourself?
I could go on. But I am going to be completely, 100% honest. Running is what has gotten me through many hard times in life.
It’s a healthy addiction that just keeps providing me with more life lessons than I could have possibly imagined.
So last fall when my friend Lindsey Brockway asked me if I would be interested in running with her a few days a week to get back into shape, I happily obliged.
I was just coming off a fractured leg. It was an unfortunate incident that involved me falling after I came down on a walnut shell while running (I know, I know...it doesn’t help my argument much, but stick with me). And Lindsey had just been cleared by her doctor to start running again after beating breast cancer. So we were both at square one (though without a doubt she already had Superwoman status after kicking the crap out of cancer).
We were two women who not only wanted to run, but needed the sport of running to help us find our health again.
Our pace was slow those first few times back out. In fact, I was wincing in pain as I’m not sure I gave my ankle quite enough time to heal. But running next to me was someone who had undergone two surgeries and rid her body of cancer. Ain’t no way I was going to ask for a break with a sore ankle.
A few weeks in we decided that we needed a goal race. Something to give us to look forward to and to shape our training pattern. We checked out local races and decided on the Frostbite 5/10K in Fremont. It was close, we were choosing the 5K, and if one of us got injured or just wasn’t ready, then the entry fee wasn’t so crazy that we would be out too much money (pride was another story altogether).
Each day that passed we would share our running successes with each other, even if we weren’t physically running together. I felt encouraged and lifted up. And I knew that I had a partner in the process.
Because while running is appealing in more ways than I can count, I can’t say it is easy. Which is also another appeal. If it was easy, it wouldn’t be as valuable in so many aspects.
Mid-January we were running in sub zero temperatures. We had face masks, three layers, hats, and even ordered the warmest running gloves we could find. Our fingers needed to stay on our bodies rather than succumbing to frostbite.
Onward we trudged, YakTrax and all.
The end of January we enjoyed spring-like days. And laughed knowing they wouldn’t last through until race day on the first Saturday in February. But we were laughing while running! As in, this was enjoyable and we were able to converse (a little) while running! Our bodies were picking up the pace.
Today was race day.
We had a goal.
Of course it was near zero (though above zero, and for that we were thankful). It was snowing sideways. I guess no one signs up for a race entitled Frostbite 5K actually thinking it will be warm.
The crowd was full of friendly faces with community members from Fremont, Newaygo, White Cloud and surrounding areas, too.
The starting gun went off and I had a smile on my face the whole time. Ok, fine, the one big hill may have erased it for the time it took to haul myself up to the top. But I was still smiling on the inside even then. We were running. In a race that we trained for weeks to run. My body felt strong and capable and my mind was content.
We crossed the finish line under our goal time. And through erratic breaths, we both smiled.
Life has a funny way of throwing obstacles at us. Sometimes the obstacles are as small as walnut shells or cancer cells.
Today we proved to ourselves that the obstacles didn’t win.
And yes, next week when we are out running at 8 am on a Saturday morning in the sub-zero temperatures for miles, my answer to the questions of those who aren’t quite sure about the sport of running will be “I do this because I love it.”
A Gentleman in Moscow Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
Being that you’re reading a book review, I’m going to make the assumption that you’re an avid reader. Someone who is looking for the next good title to add to your list, perhaps. Or maybe an occasional reader who enjoys knowing what is out there. Either way, I am also going to assume that you know what it’s like when you find a book you love.
You can’t stop reading. You want to continue even if it is late in the night when you should be sleeping. Or it’s early in the morning and you have a list of things to do a mile long, but instead you want to read.
I have experienced this with a great book many times. Hours of lost sleep; all worth it to get to the satisfyingly perfect ending of a great book.
And then there is A Gentleman in Moscow.
I stopped reading so I wouldn’t finish it. Multiple times. I actually forced myself to place the bookmark between the magnificent pages and close the book so that I wouldn’t finish too quickly and lose the magic.
Never have I ever even considered stopping myself to be able to enjoy a story for longer.
Amor Towles wrote a true masterpiece. His words flowed with such ease through my mind. The story was entertaining and intriguing. The characters developed with such skill I am convinced they were real.
The tale begins in 1922 in Russia. The main character, 30 year-old Alexander Ilyich Rostov was sentenced to banishment inside the Metropol, the hotel where he had been residing, for his aristocratic status that aligned with the newly forbidden political views of a recently revolutionized Russia.
Rostov’s new living quarters consists of a room in the attic, though he is allowed to roam and live as he wishes within the confines of the hotel walls. Set foot outside the doors and he will be shot dead by the Kremlin.
It is within this confining of his circumstances that his life changes in an instant. But not in a single way that anyone, including Rostov himself, could have anticipated. He befriends workers and guests of the hotel and also becomes a part of the staff.
Russia outside the hotel undergoes massive political changes while Rostov undergoes massive self-discovery and growth. Rostov’s charming personality, thoughtful disposition and willingness to make the most of his unusual circumstances all come together to create a tale that is spell-bounding.
If you read one book in 2018, choose this one.
But save it for a time when you can savor each and every word of brilliant storytelling Towles has to offer. You won’t be sorry.
**If you're anywhere near Newaygo, stop in to Flying Bear Books to pick up your copy today!**
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- Eric Qualman