Saying so long after 50 years of serving in Pine City

Mary Flesher (center, holding drink) was surrounded by friends and well-wishers at a retirement party in her honor.

After 50 years working in Pine City, and 17 on the shores of Pokegama Lake, Mary Flesher is putting down her guest book for good.

The restaurant/bar on Pokegama is now called Vannelli’s Landing, but Mary has been working there when it was known as Mitchell’s Landing and Muffies as well. She also worked at places like the Red Shed, Red Dog Billy’s, the Alpine Inn, The Pines and the Copper Tree. She said she has enjoyed them all, but it’s clear that the spot at 13646 Muffies Lane holds a special place in her heart.

“I have some wonderful, wonderful friends that I have met here,” Mary said. “It is unbelievable.”

At a party in her honor at Vannelli’s  Landing it seemed like everyone was swinging by to wish her well, including two customers coming into the restaurant who stopped to hug Mary.

“I honestly don’t know how Vannelli’s is going to survive without you,” one said. “You are a big part of this place.”

“It is a big part of my life,” Mary said, smiling.

She said that Roger and Maria Vannelli have been working hard to make the business succeed.

“They do a great job,” she said. “They have done a lot of improvements. It is a big job. They do other things besides so they are very busy people.

“They are wonderful people, absolutely wonderful people – especially Maria,” Mary added. “She’s my friend.”

Retirement is bringing a whole new set of decisions to make for Mary, as she looks forward to the next chapter.

“It feels kind of good but I am trying to figure out what I am going to do with all my time,” she said. “I do a little bit of volunteering so I might have to do a little more of that [at] New Horizon’s Thrift Store. It is a great place.”

Overall, she said she felt happy and grateful to have been able to serve so many good folks in the community.

“I would just like to say thank you to all the people that I have met here,” Mary said. “I am going to miss everyone and I’ve enjoyed every minute. I will be back and visiting everyone.”

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