Thursday, December 20, 2007

Michigan, Where the beer is cold and the people are warm

Ah, finally, the holidays are here (in a good way).

After 14 hours of travel (that included a three-hour layover in Vegas that netted me $150 on video poker), I arrived in Michigan late last night, exhausted and cranky.

Today is another story. I woke up refreshed and, after taking mom to work, I drove her car, complete with “Mrs. Eck” personalized plates (my stepdad’s last name is Eckelbarger and he goes by “Eck” for short), over to St. Joe so I could hunker down at a coffee shop and work.

I did some online research at Caffe Tosi for a spell, my dad came by for a visit, and even though I have three different deadlines to hit by Friday, I was really enjoying myself. I took a break and stopped by the bookstore where I’m signing books on Saturday. I chatted at length with a woman in a local artists’ coop. I poked my head into the paint-your-own-pottery place to visit high school classmate Stephanie Hosbein (she owns the shop). She is going to try to swing by my signing and wants me to bring her some Prairie Girl Potions to check out.

I freakin' love Michigan. Folks are so nice. They take time to talk, whether they know you or not.

I went down to the beach and took some photos of the North Pier before doing some Christmas shopping and meeting up with my mom for a drink (or two) at the Legion (post 362). My brother’s photo was on the bulletin board with various well wishes (John is stationed in Kuwait). My stepdad Jim was playing poker and we sat at the bar with Kelly Robinson, another high school classmate who is active at the Legion and who set up my mom’s computer at home. (Thank you, Kelly, for bringing my mom into the 21st century.) I finally feel as if I am experiencing the holidays. I’m talking with people, drawing stories out of them (like how my stepdad proposed to my mom at the kitchen sink or how my brother rifled through his wife’s glove compartment on their first date). I even got some great stories out of the woman at the artists’ coop, who is going to try to come with her artsy teenage son (who takes tea outside every evening at his boarding school) to my talk at the library next week. Forget presents: these experiences are my real gifts. I’m totally addicted.

Ask your family a few questions about high school, likes and dislikes, how they met their spouse or significant other, childhood crushes, or what they wanted to be when they grew up. You might be surprised at the answers!

Happy holidays, wherever you may be. Stay tuned for more Michigan posts…

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A sampling of my books