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Fort Bend Herald
Sunday Slants —

Weather break is a great soul boost

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It was 100 degrees when I left and 76 degrees when I landed. It was also 100 degrees when I returned.

Some regard a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime as a ritual act of worship. For six of the last eight years, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Northwest Michigan, which has been a wonderful boost for my sol, soul and sole.

Sol means the sun in Spanish, but because of lower temperatures,there’s a lack of burning sun rays.

Soul means the spiritual passion of a human being, which undergoes a pleasurable bump with mild weather.

Sole has to do with the bottom of my feet, meaning I went barefoot without getting scorched.

For four days I was visiting longtime buddies Macy and Jimmy Chionsini, who call San Angelo home, but discovered Charlevoix, Mich., years ago on a long boat trip that started in Florida.

Macy and Jimmy have personalities people gravitate toward at nightly pit stops at marinas.

That happened during one stopover when they met Zita Anne and John Winn, who have a beautiful home and gigantic boathouse in Charlevoix. (For a real treat, go on the Internet to Winn boathouse on Round Lake.)

After meeting them on an island in Chesapeake Bay in 2011 and learning of their monthslong boating tour, the Winns invited Macy and Jimmy to stop off in Charlevoix for a visit if they were looking for a second home.

They did, and they did and the Chionsinis now have a great home and docks on Round Lake about four houses down from the Winns.

Charlevoix has a year-round population of 2,700 that jumps to 35,000 between May and the end of September.

Early May can still have nasty cold weather, and residents suggest if you’re leaving for home, you should plan to be gone by October.

I’ve seen photos of the cold season, and if you like below zero, snow and ice, you can build an igloo and spend a happy winter there.

At Round Lake in Charlevoix, you go under a drawbridge that opens briefly every 30 minutes and you’re in the great expanse of Lake Michigan.

Not only did Macy and Jimmy discover a boating paradise on the Northwest shores, but they’ve also become a destination spot for many of their family and Texas friends.

The Chionsinis are proud owners of a 55-foot Grand Banks Eastbay motor yacht, May Sea, which Jimmy maneuvers like a skilled surgeon, and Macy is a waste-no-move first mate, who can tie the boat’s lines faster than a calf roper.

The Winn family has been in the boating business for years and was kind enough to take us on a nice lake stroll around Lake Charlevoix on their 1936, 36-foot Stephens wooden masterpiece named the Zita Anne.

It’s a beautiful antique water craft whose artful workmanship is amazing. After riding through the clear waters, you feel like grabbing a soft cloth and wiping away your fingerprints.

To again prove “you can run, but you can’t hide,” several years ago we discovered that Judy and Roland Adamson of Fulshear also have a friend with a boat and condominium in Charlevoix.

We’ve never been there at the same time, but Roland and I enjoy friendly email competition where we take photos of our scrumptious seafood meals and send them to each other with a “wish you were here” note.

Jimmy and I have worked together and known each other 48 years. It’s one of those enduring bonds where we know all the quirks of each other but no hurdle ever gets in the way.

Big lakes, big boats, great food and chamber of commerce weather all are part of a successful vacation.

But in the bigger picture, the 3 Fs win out — faith, family and friendships.

Reach BH at bhartman@hartmannews.com.

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