18 October 2007

Michigeese and Michiganders

We just spent a few days in southwestern Michigan, a couple of blocks from the lake, visiting Jer's daughter Lauren and her partner Annette. We also got to see Colleen, Jerry's favorite ex-wife, and meet her new guy, Larry, as well as reconnect with Bill and Alan, who were good friends of Lauren's late brother, Marc. Confused yet? A diagram would probably help. Ages ago, when Lauren lived in San Francisco, she and Marc, Colleen, Jerry and I went out to dinner at Khan Toke, a Thai restaurant in the Richmond District where Lauren was a regular. She introduced us to the proprietor as follows: "This is my brother, my mother, her second husband, and his third wife."

L&A have a lovely home with a huge, meandering deck on eight acres in the midst of dense woods. It's a ten-minute stroll to Lake Michigan. In their 'hood, modest lake cabins coexist with vacation McMansions but mailboxes seem to be a universal form of self-expression.

Lauren and Annette took us to two or three excellent art galleries. They fed us well, and we made serious inroads into their wine cellar and their schnapps collection. Colleen invited us to her house for dinner one evening, and we also sampled a few local eateries and drinkeries. We pretty much closed one fine establishment, The What Not Inn, where we dropped in for a drink after dinner in downtown (ha) Douglas. When they get out the vacuum cleaners and start stacking the chairs, you know it's time to go home.

By some miracle of scheduling, our visit happened to coincide with the Fennville Goose Festival, a classic small-town celebration. That's Mother Goose herself on the Lions Club float. What a thrill; we were this close to her.

Every morning (except for the day we left, when it was raining heavily) Jer and I took a long walk along the lakeshore. If you've never seen Lake Michigan, think "ocean" instead. It's enormous; you can't see the opposite shore. The beach was almost deserted. Some vestiges of summer activity remained but, for the most part, the cottages along the bluff seemed uninhabited; the season's over.

I put a few artsy beach shots up on Flickr, but here's a gratuitous shot of construction fencing, just for Gerrie. Ladybugs had gathered on it for no reason I could discern. Color-camouflage, maybe?

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