"Stand by the beautiful St. Mary’s River, which runs from our rapids—so very clear and free. You will feel it, find it and see it firsthand."

In this second book of praise to the special region where he grew up, Mike McCarthy once again amplifies the atmosphere of the town and surroundings of Sault (pronounced Soo) St. Marie through sounds and smells. In exploring sounds of his childhood, he includes frogs, which he and his pals swore they could identify as either Catholic or Protestant by their croaks. Every February there was a deafening race for souped-up snowmobiles. Serving at Mass as an altar boy involved the heady smell of incense, which at first overwhelmed the young teen. A less pleasant scent arose at the great Moose Lodge fire of 1961 with its billowing, deep-black smoke. Aromas in his grandmother’s kitchen as she baked apple pies on her woodstove provided another powerful childhood sense memory: “She always let me have the first piece.”

The author’s collection includes Irish songs and poems (a significant part of his cultural heritage) along with some narratives and poetic contributions from his two sisters. The latter portion of the book is given over to a multitude of photographs of people and places relevant to the book. As an economic developer and fund-raiser, McCarthy donates the proceeds of his books to the Soo Theatre Project. He notes that Sault Ste. Marie will celebrate its 350th anniversary next year and is proud that his writings can be part of this important commemoration. The book’s introduction is offered by the Mayor of the town.

McCarthy’s prose is engaging and amusing. His many short prose segments aptly detail the sensory cues of an exciting and varied youth. His reminiscences should strike a chord of recognition with those who grew up in his era as they recall similar experiences. They will also introduce outsiders to the naturally beautiful and culturally rich Soo region of Michigan.

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