America’s Mayor in … East Jordan?

Guest Commentary by Mitch MacKay of East Jordan


Not Rudy Giuliani, Russ Peck—East Jordan’s Mayor—Michigan of course.

Might as well consider Russ the duly elected Mayor by vote of the townsfolk.

He’s been there often enough to warrant it.

He’s rational, organized, a natural at the job.  He’s polite, kind, considerate, listens to everybody, and he somehow manages a respectable meeting through all uproars and disruptions.  I oughta know; I used to go to those meetings.

The Peck family has been here forever.

Jay is the coordinator of the EMT in town in the new headquarters graciously provided by the “ej” trust for civic projects.

So, keeping it in the family Russ seems just right for Mayor of America, uh, at least our God’s Little Acre of it.

As aforesaid, many have expressed an inclination of returning to the Charter of yesteryear when the Mayor was elected by actual election, namely citizen vote.

Dubbed “Mayberry” by a Boyne City resident born and raised there though having worked and lived elsewhere, Jim Andrews had a unique perspective of the town of East Jordan, retaining the house in which he was born for weekly return and forays to East Jordan for check-ins with the old savor of the area, Boyne long since having upgraded to gentrification, “Fudgeville” as he called it.

East Jordan, though hinting at some modernization, still has some of the old-time feel.  It’s true there are no longer any of the original businesses lining Main and Mill Streets, the Ferguson Boys don’t break out storefront windows as they once did and chronicled by Tom Breakey Senior in “East Jordan Remembers,” but the reminiscence is still available if you look and listen.

Another longtime resident told of coming up from down below, i.e. the lower counties and cities, in the late sixties or early seventies looking for a new home.

East Jordan had but one traffic light and that a blinker, so the family said, “This is it”.  And it was; they’re still here after 50+- years.

A lot of the current townsfolk migrated north to settle as did many townsfolk go south for work when times were rough.

Tom Breakey Sr. in fact came up from Pontiac, Michigan where I went to school in juvenile through teen years.

Tom once said in his widely-acknowledged wit that Pontiac wasn’t the well-known blackhole of the universe epithet but it was “about six miles up the road.”


There is the equally well-known “City Mouse Country Mouse” syndrome inherent to such places as East Jordan and other small towns and surrounding countryside but that doesn’t inhibit the friendships that develop or the natural sharing of responsibilities of small-town life.

Russ who used to be a bartender sees us all as equal, some a little more bleary-eyed and pugnacious than others.

Though some transplants as they’re called seem to fit in readily as if they were born here, others remain a little different because, well, things are different elsewhere.

City Hall meetings can be boring and even frustrating at times and now and then even a little raucous.

Once in my memory a County Sheriff deputy was asked to attend just to make sure no untoward actions took place.

By and large these meetings go more toward the boring side but you never know.

Reporters from the Petoskey News-Review once were mandated to attend just, I guess, for the action so as to get front page coverage firsthand.

Well, there is that old-time pioneer lumberjack image to bear and it never quite left despite the lumber era being historic.

There’s still lumbering in the area but not like old times.

That’s where Russ Peck comes in.  He’s the ideal moderator for small town meetings.

He’s calm, levelheaded, punctilious, thorough, and starts and stops things right on time.

He’s our guy.

America’s Mayor.

Oh, yeah, and East Jordan’s too.

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