When people ask me what my hometown is, I always pause, thinking, "Well, technically, my first years were spent in Sodus, Michigan, but then I moved into Benton Harbor but I went to school in St. Joe, but maybe I should just say Southwestern Michigan, not far from Kalamazoo, because people might actually know where that is." By the time I settle on Benton Harbor, my head hurts.
So you can imagine my delight, when watching Kathy Griffin's Life on the D-List, a Bravo TV guilty pleasure, to find her sitting in a restaurant in Benton Harbor. She was doing a gig later that night at Lake Michigan College (or LMC, which was always confusing, since I went to Lake Michigan Catholic, also LMC). Now, I only remember going to LMC to research a term paper and to perform in several plays on their stage since my high school didn't have a theater (my stage career started with a Tri-Parish production of Godspell the summer before my freshman year and ended with my unforgettable performance in Don't Drink the Water, a role for which I channeled my inner Edith Bunker).
But those weren't the only memories Kathy's visit conjured up. When she sent her assistant to wait tables at Texas Corral, I sort of fell off the couch. I had a high school reunion last summer and I got to be the girl I never was in high school: life of the party, flirt, lush. I swear I was drunk for 72 hours. It was glorious. I felt free. (Of course, this only lasted until I got to the airport in South Bend, but it was nice taking a break from my serious, worried self). As a teenager, I was so focused on getting out of town and leaving this world behind that I opted out of nights spent TP-ing Mr. Carr's house or drinking at the beach or cruising the mall.
But not during that reunion weekend. During the pre-reunion festivities at Babe's Lounge, I drank, played pool, flirted with Rhonda Winters' brother, as well as with Bill King. Bill came from farm country as well, and back in fifth grade, he was my boyfriend for a hot second. But nothing ever came of it.
Until that reunion weekend. Before I left town, Bill and I went out by ourselves, chowing down at the Texas Corral, drinking margaritas, and catching up. With his baseball cap pulled low, he told me about his divorce, his job, his daughter, and I could see the life that I rejected. Honestly, it didn't look too shabby; it just wasn't mine. But I'm happy to visit a couple times a year, especially if it includes a trip to Texas Corral. That there is some good eatin'.