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Life as performance art

Life as performance art


By Fr. G. Corwin Stoppel

On Labor Day Sunday I happened across Dave Ihle and his Boy Scouts installing a new ramp in front of the American Legion Hall.

It was a miserable day in that heat and humidity to be laboring so on summer’s last weekend. Giving of themselves, going out of their way to do a good deed for the community — that’s why we appreciate what the Scouting movement teaches all of us.

While walking I thought of everyone else who works incredibly hard, not just for the money but to make a visitor’s stop in Saugatuck such a memorable experience.

For example, the Interurban drivers (and its unseen cadre of dispatchers) who shuttle people around, navigate through traffic on crowded streets in a town that forgot to build alleys for delivery trucks. I’ll bet they answer the same questions many times a day. Those who drive in the late evenings have extra challenges from riders who have had a bump too many at local watering holes.

Or the folks who own Star of Saugatuck and the Dune Rides. Every day they get their equipment ready, check to be sure all is safe and, no matter how tired, give sincere smiles, patiently answer questions and work to be sure their passengers have a wonderful experience.

I’m sure the people who serve ice cream go home with sore wrists; the wait staff with aching legs and backs. The storeowners don’t just ring up sales; they schedule employees, answer questions and give great service along with smiles even at day’s end.

That’s just the start of the list. Long days of hard work, sometimes made harder because of the challenges of dealing with people. Then there are bonus moments — people who express their appreciation.

Add to them all the volunteers at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, summer arts shows and more. Nor can we forget volunteers who collect money at the parking lots to help finance school projects that benefit so many people. The list could go well beyond that too.

It is true performance art,  and people around here star at it. You really outdid yourselves this year. You made Douglas and Saugatuck what it is: a destination spot where people had great times.

There are good restaurants, lounges and places to stay all across the country. We don’t have the nation’s monopoly on scenery. Buyers can probably find similar merchandise elsewhere or online.

But they came here. I think it’s because of what so many did to make sure so many others had a wonderful holiday.