Thursday, August 09, 2007

... My Michigan Trip

This past week I was in Michigan for a family reunion. I wish I could bottle up the freshness of the summertime air and bring it home for everyone. Instead, I'll share a few highlights and photos.

After arriving in town my mom took me to the seminary she will be attending this fall. The building and grounds, which survived the Detroit Race Riots 40 years ago, were breathtakingly beautiful. It made me think of what Hogwarts Academy might be like with Pewabic tile floors, arched doorways, high ceilings, candle chandeliers... The chapel even rivaled Notre Dame. What an exciting place to be educated.

The next night my 85-year-old spunky -- never runs out of energy -- grandmother threw a dinner party. She had a few friends and family over for some fried chicken and served about 7 sides of vegetables. (I suppose you take advantage of the in season vegetables when you live in a farming community.) The evening was full of laughs as my Grandma loves to joke and spur you on. She especially loves it when we start chiding her. The first time I teased her about something she proudly announced that you could tell I was part of the family as I possessed our most prized family trait - being a smart *ss.

Saturday morning my mother and I went to Eastern Farmers Market. Since 1891 farmers, including my grandfather, have been gathering in downtown Detroit to display their fruits, vegetables, canned goods, meats, herbs & flowers. The market is the size of a few football fields and holds thousands of vendors. This level of competition generates beautiful produce at amazingly low prices. I was able to make a few purchases but left jealously wishing that we had this type of market back home.

The extended family gathered later in the day at a cousins home. The last reunion I attended was 2 years ago (I was in Africa last year) and at that time the youngest family member was getting ready to graduate high school. This year there were three little ones, altering the dynamics quite a bit. Though my grandmother was the oldest in attendance, she seemed to relate best with one of the youngest. I think they share the same energy level and attention span.

The last night I was in Michigan we were driving down Gratiot when I saw a few bands setting up on the side of the road. Gratiot is a 8 lane road running north and south through a few different cities down into Detroit. You may remember it from one of Kid Rocks songs when he speaks of cruising Gratiot. Well, next I started to see people setting up chairs facing the road. Wondering if there was a parade, I saw a sign explaining: "Gratiot Cruise, Aug 5th". More bands, radio stations, cars parked with the hoods up. In Michigan you don't need a parade to collect on the side of the road and gawk at cars, you just need a special cruise night. Low riding trucks all tricked out to classic mustangs with cherry bomb pipes...I suppose it is the motor city after all.


Billie said...

All the sites and sounds are so familiar. I bet you had alot of fun. Michigan is a great place to visit in the summer.

Jenn said...

Sounds so wonderful, thanks for making me feel like I was there. How fun!

Reid said...

I'd love to meet your sassy grandmother one day. If only to see what you're going to be like in your old age!

Catherine said...

oops that was me above - Reid had logged into my computer. Sneaky!

Jennifer said...

Michelle- I enjoyed your pictures. I'm so glad you have a spunky grandmother. I'm glad I got to see you this week-end.