Last Friday I returned to my home-state of Michigan to attend my 20th high school reunion. I flew out of SW Florida as the hurricane was approaching Daytona Beach and watched news coverage from the airport. If you looked outside of its floor to ceiling windows you would have seen less wind and rain than a typical day during our rainy season, which is just wrapping up here.
Now I am back in Florida, back at my computer with cold Cuban coffee and listening to one of my favorite Detroit radio stations online, a station I was stunned to discover is still broadcasting (and as awesome as ever!). I listened to it while driving my made-in-Detroit rental car north on U.S. 23, fighting the familiar traffic that flees north on weekends, all while soaking in the beauty of a Michigan fall day with its grey clouds, blue sky, and bright sun peaking through to light up trees that were just starting to turn yellow and red.
So much filled me with joy this weekend. Seeing friends who knew before I could read or write. Friends who saw me exactly for who I was in the way that only five-year-olds can. We swapped stories. We mused about what ever happened to this person or that who moved away in elementary school never to be heard from again. We tried to remember the name of our elementary school secretary (she was very much called a secretary then), and then finally remembered. (It was Dorothy.)
The weekend closed with me sitting in a Detroit terminal eating a coney dog and Better Made chips, reading a copy of the Freep, the Detroit paper. I took a picture of these objects, that is how happy I was to have them in front of me. The only way to top it would have been to wash it all down with a Vernors pop. (And yes it is pop, not soda.)
There are other things I want to write about but can only do so in my journal. As I stood with a friend who has known me since I was five we nodded heads talking about how hard and complicated home can get when you are very much a grown adult. I thought about this as I stood in the local neighborhood market, staring at the back entrance where it used to house rental VHS cassettes, and then possibly DVDS, swapped now for shelves that sell craft beer. The butcher department still smelled of fish but strangers walked the small, neat aisles.
As I drove south to the Detroit airport for my return flight, I found myself glancing at the Michigan highway ditches, half-expecting to see egrets hunting for fish instead of the goldenrods that were in bloom. Now I am home. Florida-home. Discussing the hurricane that has passed. Eating leftover take-out Caribbean food. But I am listening to the Detroit radio station, now available online, still as awesome as ever. And it turns out that U.S. 23, the road that leads to home in mid-Michigan, also goes all the way south to Florida, too.