Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 15, 2010

A Sign Or A Coincidence?

Our Farm Bureau agent Tracy, her kids and a big black cylinder in the sky: A sign of things to come, a coincidence, or something else?

On the third of July we watched the Naubinway Independence Day parade with a mix of pride and emotion: the theme was “Salute Our Troops” and as we applauded the various interpretations of red, white and blue I thought about our nephew Kevin who is serving in the Army in Afghanistan, as well as several of my college chums who have loved ones in the military.

Zeak and Deb were a hit with their H2O

And then there was that nagging question: Why did I think it was a good idea to bring Tucker the Wonder Dog to the parade? He was so hyper…

But it was a beautiful day and fun to recognize some of the folks from our UP hometown as they paraded past, including the man who built Blue Skies, Zeak DeWyse, the greatest builder in the north and all around nice guy (you gotta love a company whose motto is “Quality, Dependability and Fun”).

He and his wife Debbie were handing out much-appreciated bottles of cold water.

And we cheered our Farm Bureau insurance agent, the ever-pleasant Tracy Germain of nearby Engadine, as she and her kids rolled by in their bright white truck decked out with signs, flags and banners.

Little did I know that four days later I’d be on the phone with Tracy explaining that—back in the 313—our garage was ablaze.

A week ago Wednesday TJ, Paige and I were at Blue Skies, 350 miles from the scene, when the DTE Energy transformer on a pole at the back of the yarden blew, causing a fire.

Graham had called in somewhat of a panic. He was at work when our neighbor heard the transformer behind our house make the all-too familiar popping sound we’d come to associate with hot summer days; I’ve called DTE Energy on multiple occasions over the years to report the problem.

This time, however, a wire broke and torched two huge trees, our garage and our neighbor’s garage. Plus the wooden fence. And lots of other stuff.

The area behind our garage with plywood covering the back of the structure, and the torched utility pole that holds the transformer

The Farm Bureau folks have been great, with multiple visits from adjusters, an investigator, two women who inventoried the contents, and another guy with a clip board.

As I reviewed the photos I took of the 4th of July parade I noticed that the one of Tracy and her darling kids (at top) includes—as big as day—a transformer! That black cylinder on the power pole appears as if it’s planted right there in the bed of the insurance company truck.

Was the intrusion of that transformer into the photo of our insurance agent a sign of things that would transpire in the coming days? Or was it a mere coincidence?

I suppose some would say it’s simply a poorly composed photo.

If there is indeed a message in all of this it is: Review your insurance policies today!



  1. Nothing like a small town parade on the 4th of July. Wish we could have been there. What a great theme too! I did make it to the early (7:30 a.m.) parade in downtown Plymouth. Pretty nice until Santa rolled down the street in his convertible. I wanted to yell out, “Why are you here? You have nothing to do with July 4th.” But, I kept my mouth shut. I believe the the transformer in the picture was coincidental but….it does make you wonder!

    • Santa? Well, he was dressed in red and white—did he have blue eyes?

  2. Yikes! I’m sorry you have to deal with the aftermath of a fire. But I’m a big believer in Signs. And the fire could have been worse. Thank goodness it wasn’t your house!


    • Absolutely could have been worse. So thankful our neighbor was home and acted quickly.

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