When I think about the word magic, there is only one person, and one place that comes to mind. The place is Mackinac Island. The person is the girl I have been walking beside nearly fifty years.
On our third date, I asked a beautiful girl to go with me to Mackinac Island for a church-sponsored conference attended by hundreds of youth from across Michigan. We were already together for three months before the special time arrived. The magic of that Memorial Weekend in 1971 changed the course of our lives forever.
We spent the day enjoying the sights of the Island, visiting shops, eating fudge, and riding bikes. The weather was heaven-sent with a perfect temperature, clear blue sky, and bright sunshine.
We decided to carve our initials in a tree to attach our hearts to each other and to Mackinac Island forever. We went into one of the shops and bought this souvenir knife. We rode a short distance out of town, climbed some steps, and carved our initials in a tree. As I was cutting, the blade closed on the tip of my finger cutting it. The scar remains to this day. We were surprised to discover we both had scars on our index finger in the same spot.
That evening we enjoyed a formal banquet at The Grand Hotel. During dinner we stared at each other as if in a trance. I know how corny that sounds, but it’s true. The magic is real. One of my friends said, “Would you guys stop that?!”
Late into the night under a beautiful starry sky, we stood in the garden of The Grand, wanting the moment to last forever. We have never forgotten those magic days on Mackinac Island. The imprint of the Island on our hearts is indelible.
The weekend was over much too soon. As always, Mackinac Island was difficult to leave.
I told this lovely girl I was going to ask her to marry me before we had been dating for a month. She changed my life forever.
We have returned to Mackinac Island more times than I can count. I tried to find the tree that held our initials, but couldn’t. I’m sure our initials were high above what I could see.
The magic of Mackinac Island is real. It’s no wonder so many couples begin their engagement on Mackinac and return for their wedding celebration. Those same couples will return again and again, and eventually bring their children and grandchildren to experience the magic of Mackinac Island. Just like we do.