Up north in the piney woods of Michigan, between Grand Rapids and Traverse City, you'll find the town of Irons. The area is home to three things:

1) Blue ribbon trout, steelhead, and salmon fishing on the nearby Manistee and Pere Marquette rivers.

2) Miles and miles of snowmobiling trails on the million acre Huron-Manistee National Forest.

3) Where actor James Earl Jones grew up (born in Mississippi, Jones was raised by his maternal grandparents in nearby Dublin before graduating from the University of Michigan). Who would've imagined that Darth Vader spent his childhood amidst the forested tranquility of northwest Michigan?

Irons is a one-stoplight town, so small the stoplight blinks yellow. Aside from a realty office specializing in riverfront property and a grocery store that also sells kerosene and rifle ammo, the Oak Grove Tavern is one of two places in town to get a bite to eat. During the winter months, when the snow is deep and fresh, there are more snowmobiles than cars in the parking lot. Friday night we arrived just before the weekend rush of snowmobilers settled in to party. A DJ was spinning new country music songs. We asked him to play some Marty Robbins. He said Marty was too old for his taste. Private note to the owner of the Oak Grove: fire your DJ immediately. He has no business working at a roadside honky tonk.

The ceiling at the Oak Grove is covered in dollar bills, many so old they're black with soot from decades of cigarette smoke. It's probably the bar owner's retirement fund, although he may want to wash the bills at the laundromat before taking to the bank.

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