Monday, June 04, 2012

Toe Stub Hazard

For literally decades, C. has attended a poetry open mike Wednesday evening at the Sacred Grounds Café on Hayes St. The Wednesday before last, I accompanied him and we sat together on a comfortable small couch against one wall. Evidently the sight of C. with a lady companion was extremely novel to some, as evidenced by the large African seated in front of us, who turned around at intervals to stare with open interest.

The following day, C. and I both had errands in Noe Valley, so we walked over there together along the grassy islands in the middle of Dolores St., which I’ve never done before. It was enchanting, like suddenly being in the country. Post errands, we had dinner at El Majahual.

The next day, the Friday before last, I was finally able to travel to Michigan, on a flight that ended up being delayed by seven and a half hours. I got to know the couple seated next to me in the airport quite well, if you want to know anything about their daughter, her fiancé, or their rental property in Oakland.

On the plane, a little Japanese-American boy seated in the row ahead stood up to face the rear of the plane and sang “Happy Birthday” to me in a tiny, sweet voice. As we were deplaning, I told his mother that her son had sung to me and that it was particularly appreciated because my birthday is coming up soon, and she explained it was his birthday that very day, his second, which is why he was all ready to go with the birthday song. I’m not sure I could have sung “Happy Birthday” to a stranger at age two.

The day after I arrived was for reading and resting, and on Sunday (not yesterday but the one before that), my mother and father and I drove to Grosse Ile, an island south of Detroit, to visit my Uncle Rick and his fiancée, Janet. Janet made us a beautiful vegan lunch, which we ate on the deck behind their new house, on an inland lagoon (not on what they call the “big water” of the Detroit River), and they also treated us to a tour of the island.

Several years ago, I read a riveting biography of Henry Ford, and thus learned something about Harry Bennett, a colorful character and right-hand man of Henry Ford’s at Ford Motor Company in the 1930s and 1940s. As we were motoring about Grosse Ile, Janet pointed out Harry Bennett’s pagoda and it further emerged that Janet’s father once worked for Harry Bennett!

When Janet’s father left Ford to use his GI benefits, Henry Ford gave him a number of wooden pallets, some of which he refurbished and sold back to Ford; others he used to start a business making packing and shipping containers. My uncle worked for Janet’s father decades ago, eventually buying the business, which he runs to this day. Which started with Henry Ford's pallets! Very exciting.

Last Tuesday, Amy and I had lunch at Seva in Ann Arbor and on Thursday, Mom and Dad and I went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn for the Titanic Exhibition. (My father said you could tell it was special by the fact that they called it an “exhibition” instead of an “exhibit.”) Afterward, we drove by two houses Mom lived in when she was a girl and in the late afternoon, I drove to Chelsea to see Amy and her darling boys, Chris and Mike. Amy made us a delectable vegan feast.

On Friday, it was back to Seva (a restaurant I love) for lunch and a nice chat with Ginny, who was wearing a lovely and striking chain around her neck that she had made herself. On Saturday, my parents and sister and I had an early birthday celebration for me. In lieu of cake, Dad obtained a loaf of walnut bread, which he garnished with blueberries, and he also roasted portabella mushrooms and steamed some asparagus.

Yesterday I flew home to San Francisco. In the Detroit airport, I was sitting across from a woman with her son, a very personable four year old. She asked him, “Do you want to get on the plane first or second” and the child said firmly, “If anyone gets on before me, I want to stub their toe.”
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