Sense And Sensitivity

President Obama and Mrs. Obama have received some criticism lately for their expensive tastes.  The President has been chided about how many rounds of golf he has played and how many vacations he has taken.  Mrs. Obama has been compared to Marie Antoinette as a result of her current lavish vacation in Spain.  These choices by the President and the First Lady, some argue, suggest that they are out of touch with the difficult circumstances of many Americans.

I don’t begrudge the President and the First Lady a vacation, or vacations.  As I have noted before, I don’t think Americans want a President and First Lady who so scrimp and save that it reflects badly on the country.  Nobody should expect the First Family to eat macaroni and cheese off paper plates every night or stay at an EconoLodge and take a holiday at a water park.

Still, I would encourage the President and Mrs. Obama to use some judgment and common sense.  Millions of people are off work, thousands of homes are going into foreclosure every month, and more than 40 million Americans now are using food stamps. Under such circumstances, a vacation to a posh Spanish resort where rooms cost thousands of dollars and the American taxpayer is footing part of the bill reflects a serious lack of sensitivity and is bound to become a lightning rod for criticism.  Would a slightly less expensive vacation to a nice resort in America have been such a horrible sacrifice?

Laying Around On Old Hen Island

We just got back from an all-too-short visit to the Canadian waters of Lake Erie.

The Quinnebog Fishing Club dock and main hall

On Friday Richard, Russell and I drove up to Sandusky to the Griffing Air Terminal, where we met Chris and Danny and Al and Joe.  We all boarded a nine-seater plane and took one of the shortest international flights anywhere in the world.  Our 12-minute flight took us over Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay, and the rest of the Bass Islands.  We landed on Pelee Island, which is part of Canada.  From Pelee we took a boat and headed due west to Old Hen Island and the Quinnebog Fishing Club for its annual father-son get-together.

Friday's sunset on Old Hen Island

The Quinnebog Fishing Club is a corporation that was formed in the late 1800s by a group of Ohioans from the Sandusky area.  By charter, it can have no more than 25 members.  Somehow the corporation acquired Old Hen Island, which is a rocky, tree-covered five-acre dab of land that rises from Lake Erie between North Bass Island and the Canadian mainland.  The island has been the site of the Club ever since.

There isn’t much on Old Hen Island.  About half of it is covered by trees and strewn with rock.  The first structure you see as you approach the island is the green and white, turreted main building at the dock.  It stores fishing and boating supplies on the ground floor and features a dining hall on the second floor and staff residential quarters on the third floor.  There is a spartan bunk house with rooms equipped with cots for use by members and their guests.  Finally, there is an excellent bar with a fine screened-in porch, card tables, and a pool table.

The porch and bar

Admittedly, we spent most of our time in the bar, playing lots of cribbage and drinking Labatt’s beer.  Between the constant card games, however, we did do a bit of (unsuccessful) fishing, ate lots of very good food, threw horseshoes, watched sunsets, explored the tiny island, sat on the porch in total darkness after the generator was turned off for the night, and visited with friends old and new.  I can’t imagine a better place to unwind and spend a father-son weekend.

Thanks to the members of the Quinnebog Fishing Club for hosting the Webner and Hartnett men and putting up with us!