Some Christmas gift giving ideas

When this column runs, there will be less than 20 days left to buy Christmas presents for thems you love. Which means, I have plenty of time. If I start in about 19 days, I’ll be okay. (And, I’ll have plenty of cheap things to choose from.)
A couple of thoughts have crossed synapses inside my head. The southbound thought (Michigan’s economy) and the northbound thought (gift giving) which passed in the night, with nary a scrape, recently were routed onto the same track. They ran into each other (like many of my thoughts) and I said to myself, ‘Maybe I could help Michigan’s economy if I shop local and buy Michigan products for gifts??
So, I thought, what’s a Michigan product? And then a picture of a cherry appeared in a thought bubble above my head. Cherry products, hmm? Boring — cherry wine (blah), cherry butter, cherry pie. Despite this thought, I typed ‘cherry products? into the computer search engine anyway. I soon discovered the Cherry Pit Store, of Kingsley, Michigan. The Cherry Pit store sells, well, cherry pits and cherry pit pads.
I called The Cherry Pit Store and Chris Storms answered, ‘Hello.?
I stammered through my introduction and asked, ‘Is this The Cherry Pit Store??
‘Yes it is,? he politely answered.
‘Do you have pit pads and what are they good for??
‘You can heat them or use them as an ice pack as well,? Chris said. ‘Over the years people have tried rice, beans, corn … we stumbled onto cherry pits by accident.?
Chris and his wife Joy, operate a cherry pit processing plant — Kingsley is just south of Traverse City, Cherry Capital of the Universe and Beyond.
‘They work very good,? he continued. ‘They provide hot, moist heat. In 1993 my mother-in-law was having back issues. We made her a pit pad and she is still using it today . . . well, she uses the same pits. She wore out the cover.?
Well, Chris sold me, so I bought one and gave it to Dear Wife Jennie. She likes it, but not the name. ‘They should call them Cherry Southers, not Pit Pads.?
Go to to order. I ordered mine on Monday and it arrived to my hot little hands by Wednesday.
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When I think of unique Michigan stuff, I also think of red underwear. No, not the sultry, lacy, skimpy red undies seen in a Victoria’s Secrets catalog. Nope. I’m thinking of the long, cottony-good, rear-opening, warm, red-flannel kind. Those made Cedar Springs famous. Since about 1937, I think Cedar Springs is the Red-Flannel Underwear Capital of the Milkyway Galaxy.
I called Joy VanderMeer, Red-Flannel Underwear Queen of the Milkway, and asked her how business was.
‘Good,? she said. ‘We hand sew about 2,000 a year. The drop-seaters we make these days are a 60-40 blend of cotton and polyester. It makes them easier to wear.?
They make for infants up to XXL size. Joy said turn around time is three days. ‘Since Christmas is on Monday, you can order on Friday and with overnight delivery can have it in time to wrap and put under the tree.?
Go to to view the on-line catalog.
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Locally you can go to Great Lakes Mercantile, 8 S. Washington St., in Oxford for a wide-selection of Michigan stuff, too.
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Lake Orion historian Jim Ingraham has written a book on the town with lots of historic pictures, and that can be purchased at Ed’s Broadway Gifts, 2. S. Broadway St.
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For the beer lover in your life, you can subscribe to Addison Township resident Rex Halfpenny’s Michigan Beer Guide. A year subscription is under 20 bucks. Go to for more info.
Also, out Halfpenny’s way is the White Horse Forge. Bob Becker is a veterinarian and a blacksmith. Go to to see unique sundials, trivets, pot & pan racks, chandeliers, benches and more.
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Of course there’s chocolate gifts at The Chocolate Moose in Clarkston ( In Davisburg you can buy candles at the Candle Factory and salt-lamps at the Sweetgrass? place.
* * * Elaine Hewitt, in Rochester, professionally records personal histories — talk about a gift! Check out here website,
There are a lot of places to shop locally, drive up and down the street, stop and shop. You’ll support the local businesses that (gulp) support local schools and the community. Tell ’em Rush sent ya!

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