Thursday, October 6, 2011

Back From The Precipice...

...but still on Hwy. 41, in fact if I ran 50 yards I'd be right in the middle of it. Yesterday was a driving day. We drove all the way from Copper Harbor to Marquette, 149 miles. We stopped in Calumet, just north of Hancock for "brunch" at a fair trade, sprouts-serving cafe where Durwood actually found something he could eat--an omelet with bacon and veggies. I had an herbed breakfast biscuit with a scrambled egg, cheese, tomatoes, and sprouts, and Fair Trade coffee of course. It was all yummy. They had wi-fi so I blogged from there. Then we headed out toward Marquette. We stopped in Baraga to see the Bishop Baraga shrine. It was very impressive. (I said a few Hail Marys for all you heathens.) He was a Catholic priest who ministered to the tribes up here in the late 1850s, snowshoeing about 700 miles in the winter, sleeping outdoors without a tent. (That alone earned him a shrine in my book.) His Ojibwa grammar book is still in use. We stopped at Henry Ford's model sawmill village in... in, oh carp I can't remember and we didn't take any pictures. Oh, well, he had bought up acres and acres of timber up here to make frames for Model Ts and Model As and then the Woodie wagons, and he set up this sawmill to be safe for public access. It was also an experiment in living a self-sustaining life but the soil's too acid and rocky and the growing season's too short, plus the local critters liked to eat all the veggies before they were fit for human consumption. Pesky critters. In Ishpeming we stopped at Da Yoopers Tourist Trap and Rock Knockers Shop. There were lots of crazy machines in the yard all around the place, big cool mineral rocks along the path, and cheesy, Made in Taiwan junk in the shop. I did take my bag o'rocks into the Rock Knockers Shop only to find that none of the rocks I picked up are agates, they're minerals (I think one's Bleu Cheese-ite) all right but none are agates. I bought one to put in my bag. (Don't call me on it if you hear me say I found it, okay?) We found our hotel (right along 41), checked in, and I sent Durwood off to scout a local place for supper. I don't know how he put up with all that driving all those years, I was starting to get car sick and I was tired of being in the car most of the day. I lobbied to stay in Marquette 2 nights and to have this afternoon off.

October 5--Louis Comfort Tiffany, Magnolias and Irises. Tally concentrated as hard as she could, wishing herself into the world in the stained glass window across from her
seat at the table. Around her Nana, Aunt Julia, Uncle Sid, Mama, and Zero argued. They thought they were hiding it by being polite to each other. Tally might be young but she wasn't stupid. She hadn't grown up in this volatile family for nothing. She might be only ten years old but she knew that words could hurt no matter how nicely they were said. She'd listened to supper conversations since she could remember and each one had eventually come down to Nana trying to tell everyone what to do "for your own good, Dear." No one, not even Tally when she was very small, was fooled into believing that Nana meant what she said. Tally heard Mama and the others cry at night or out in the garden. Maybe Tally could figure out how to take Mama along if she escaped into that magical world in the glowing valley in the stained glass.

There's nothing like a toxic family to make a kid run away. I wish you were here with me right now. I'm sitting at a patio table in the dapple sun wit
h the scent of pine filling the air. I'm ignoring the highway noise in favor of birdsong.

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