Monday, August 25, 2008

The Floating Bone

The weather turned from unseasonably pleasant to unbearably hot and oppressively muggy. It was time for our long awaited family camping trip! We went to Port Crescent State Park, at the tip of Michigan's thumb, the same as last year except this time Larry, Becky and Hal, and my mother joined came too.

We struggled to put up our tent, and then Becky and Hal's next to it, as storm clouds gathered over the lake. Winds started whipping up and the sky blackened as the kids and Grandma scrambled into Honey the Camper and we put things away and battened down and zippered up into the tents. The winds screamed and howled and rushed horizontal while thunder rumbled and roared. The walls of the tent were flapping madly and it felt like we were going to take off into the air. Then the rain came pounding down, heavy, soaking, sheets of water, like 100 hoses pointed at us on "jet." The rain fly was starting to gather big pools of water and we ran around the tent smacking it to empty them. By then the water was coming in through the zippers, and I was dashing around rearranging our things to the center, when I heard Becky shrieking from the tent next to us. I zipped back a corner of the window enough to see that their tent had entirely collapsed in one corner, and was lurching and heaving into a crazy contortion. Then Hal came running out, and managed to straighten the tent pole as the rain blasted and soaked him to the skin. Thunder roared above him and flashes of light lit the sky. Ok, some of those flashes of light were from my camera:

The storm eventually passed over, and left us, our stuff and the entire campground soaked and muddy. Hal rigged up a tarp by stringing ropes across the trees, and we huddled underneath to have a soggy little birthday party and talk about what a storm that was.

It was the kind of storm that you don't get too often. The kind you will always remember. The kind of storm that would turn over a ship, causing the many wrecks that now lie on the bottom of Lake Huron in this area. Or the kind of storm that shakes them loose.

After a night of no sleep for me in the dampness listening to the rain dripping off the trees and the traffic rushing behind our campsite, the next day came along much nicer and eventually sunny. We rented canoes and paddled along the Pinnebog River to an isolated stretch of beach, full of interesting rocks, driftwood and seagulls. The adults relaxed while the kids played in the water. Cale was sitting in the surf enjoying the splash of the waves when something floated and bumped into his arm.
He grabbed it and pulled it up out of the water. He expected it to be driftwood but quickly identified it as a BONE.

It was black and smooth from being in the water. It looks like it might be a part of a knee.

We all marveled over this incredible find, and tucked it in with the beach towels before we made our way back to the camp. When we got there we found that many of the other campers had packed up and left, leaving the campground emptier and more peaceful. I noticed that several of those primo lakefront campsites were now empty, and I hopped onto my bike and rode over to the camp office to inquire within. It turns out that for a mere $5 per site you can switch over to a better spot. I would have bribed someone to leave for more than that! I was ecstatic when the rest of our party agreed to move. Since they are related to me they know that they would rather hear me congratulate myself over this good decision than bemoan the unfortunate features of our original location for yet another night.

That evening we sat around the campfire, situated so enchantingly alongside of the lake, and watched a distant boat make its way across the water. I joked that it was the ghost ship of Peter Shook, the lighthouse keeper who had been drowned at sea, coming to look for his lost leg bone. From that many bone theories emerged. If you think about it, what could be a logical story for a bone that large to be floating around in the Saginaw Bay? Mark looked up a picture of a human femur on his Iphone, it matched.

I hope that Cale's parents follow up on finding out what kind of bone that really is. Becky said she will work her many contacts to find someone who will know. If I find out more, I will post it here. Meanwhile, where do YOU think it came from?


Aunt Kathy said...

I loved your tales and pictures! I once attended a radiology lecture. We guessed at slide after slide, but the speaker tricked us as the end. The slide was of a monkey, and no nurse in the room noticed the tail bone! Your bone is probably that of a wolf that someone found, and flung into the water.

Cora said...

Gorgeous photos. I love dramatic storms. But would probably prefer to stay under a sturdy roof.

Anonymous said...

This blog was a scream!!!It was a dark and stormy night....Hal should go on the Survivor show after he is through with quiz shows. But maybe Becky threatened him to go outside of their collapsing tent... you missed the description of everyone taking part of the tent and parading it to the new campsite. That was more evident on the photos that you sent e-mail. As far as my guess about the bone... it was garbage from the Renaissance Festival in Holly, MI... as vendors sell roasted turkey drumsticks. Glad that you had a good time. I kept telling your mom that her kids wanted a vacation from her, but she followed you anyway. Aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

OK, there wasn't a lot to go on but here is what I can deduce from reading into the clues you left in your blog. Murderers always like to return to the scene of the crime and judging from the fact that you were at the same location last year, the trend seems to fit. However, Larry, Becky, Hal, & Dorothy were not involved but May Beth and Mark were. It also looks like you would have turned to bribery, perhaps even more to get one of those “primo” campsites. The talk of “tucking it in with your beach towels” and “drowning of the lighthouse keeper” does seem to suggest the mode of death - asphyxiation. The fact that the bone had smooth edges and was darkened also seems to fit the time scale. I can only guess that the reason you chose to publicize this incident in your blog and not turn it over to the authorities is based on your distorted socialistic ideologies.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Milo (commonly known as our giant dog) is very interested in "the bone." He gives it his hungry look. Could this indicate that it is animal and not the remains of the one legged Pirate of Pinnebog?
Mary Beth

Anonymous said...

My family has a cottage just east of the Port Cresant. Last summer (2007) I was walking to the Pinnebog and found some bones that were connected by some sort of sinew. I was at the eastern edge of the park. The bones were still white, no teeth marks or damage. I brought them back to the cottage and showed them to a neighbor who is in the medical profession. I had already figured that the bone was a humerus, attached to the clavical and a small broken piece of the scapula. At first he thought they were from an animal but later conceded that it was quite possibly human. I was going to call the state police but everyone thought I was nuts. So, I left them in the garage and my husband threw them out when he cleaned over 4th of July. Unfortunately, there are many deaths in that small bay because many people do not pay attention to weather condidtions. When I was a teenager (a long time ago) an entire body washed up in that same area, just east of the park. I never did find out if there were any unaccounted for bodies.