Archive for August 2011


One More…

August 21st, 2011 — 1:26pm

August 21, 2011

8:32 a.m.

Yesterday’s special, really:  A New York Reuben (pastrami and pepper jack cheese) with sweet corn and cheesecake for dessert.

One more moment.  The best part of yesterday.  Late in the evening.   Busy.  The place is full.   Everyone has come at once.  Almost everyone is familiar and dear.  Everything is messy.  It’s hot.  There are peanut shells everywhere, dirty dishes stacked high, unfinished projects galore for all of us:  pies, waffle cones, dishes, etc.  I think we–me, Rick, Jenna, and Laura–must all have the glazed look of the bone-deep exhausted.  Just plowing forward, now, one step at a time, trying.  Catch glimpses of people–Joe and Philly Bill and their families, Al and his kids, the Kopacks, the Zuiderveens, as well as people I know but don’t know their names.  The tall nice guy with the deep voice.  The smiley woman who loves the cookies.  I want to thank them all for being here, for being so–great.  Devoted.  Part of our lives for so long.  Patient and appreciative.   This doesn’t erase the fact that we’re exhausted, but it makes the exhaustion bearable, worthwhile.

It’s Joe’s birthday.  We bring him a piece of blackberry pie with one pink candle on it and everyone sings.  He looks bashful and pleased.

There’s a long wait for food.  Poor Rick.  It’s all on him, very few pizzas out of those orders, and almost everything a big delicious slow thing to make.

And then, out of the hubbub I hear a little boy–Joe’s little boy, Joey–say, plaintive and certain, sad but not complaining, just sort of stoically making a statement of terrible fact:  I’m not patient!

Clearly his parents have gently told him to be patient (he’s waiting for French fries, I later find out, unlimited French fries which are the payoff on a wager he won with his dad and dad’s friends), and he’s telling them, You’re asking the impossible. Laura and I catch this at the same time and look at each other with delight.

“I think that just made my day,” Laura says.

Me too, absolutely.  It’s the best part of the day, hands down.  Except later, after dinner, Joey spontaneously does the French Fry Dance and the Robot Dance, plus he imitates a crab and pinches Philly Bill (Bill surely deserved it, he always does), and maybe that was the best part of the day.

This is the kind of thing that will keep me going in the desert of August exhaustion for a long time.

7 comments » | Today's Special

Good Things…

August 18th, 2011 — 12:52pm

August 18th, 8:27 a.m.

Not going to try and write full sentences.  Nothing flashy.  Just a note.  Still trying to capture the good things and write them down.  Is that a mistake?  Doesn’t seem like it could be.

Anyway, good things:

Spending half an hour with a cup of coffee and a notebook in the Island Bookstore in Mackinac City yesterday, on a product run for the diner.  The store was busy.  Weird to be a customer and not a worker in the midst of all that.  Started writing down thoughts I’d been having as a I drove about a new novel.  Abruptly realized I had to get going.  Closed my notebook and shifted in my chair and a woman with her grandson (I guessed) who’d joined me at the table apologized for disturbing me.  I gaped at her for a moment and then smiled.  No, no, I assured her, you didn’t disturb me at all.  I hadn’t really even noticed them, and they were all of eighteen inches away.   The boy  was blond and had a sweet smile.  He was playing with a toy the store had left on the table.  It looked fun.  Little blue plastic cars in a tray.  I grinned at him and he grinned back.

Sitting on the waterfront in St. Ignace eating a sub sandwich from Doud’s Market (Michigan’s oldest grocery I think).  Water, seagulls, ferry boats, weathered boardwalk railings, blue sky, and more thoughts about that novel.

Putting together a gift basket (well, box.  Nehi orange soda box, to be exact) for Patience and Ryan’s wedding this weekend.   Not saying what’s in it in case you are reading this, Patience dear!  Patience worked for us the last two summers and now she and Ryan are getting married in Wisconsin this weekend, and I’m sad we can’t go, but we just can’t, so instead am concentrating on being happy about being there in spirit.

Talking to my sister on the phone (cell phone!  As I drove!  Very bad.  But the only time I can talk on the phone.  Is this illegal?  Hope not.)

The diner all clean and neat and smelling of homemade waffle cones last night when I got back from my day of long driving.  Sometimes after day and night of hectic, overwhelming, can’t-keep-upness, after always a big mess and endless stress, (you wouldn’t think that a little diner in a little town in the middle of nowhere could be traumatic, but it can be) I think, A bomb.  A bomb is the only thing that could solve this.  But coming in last night to beautiful order I think instead, I love this place.

Putting the new book order away.  The shelves are full and look so bookstorish in their miniature way.  There are lots of Michigan mysteries all lined up waiting to keep someone on the edge of their seat:  Joseph Heywood, Aaron Stander, William Kent Krueger, Steve Hamilotn, Nevada Barr.  Agate books galore.  Bird books, photo books, novels, nonfiction…  I am in my element in this aisle.  (Okay, hallway).

A double latte in my sage green and cream mug from Jenna.

Four handwritten letters in the mail from readers.  So amazing.

A morning at home before my trip yesterday, even though the crockery utensil jug jumped off the shelf above the stove dragging the green mason sugar jar with it and knocking my almost cooked Amish farm eggs and the skillet they were almost cooked in to the floor, along with two pounds of sugar and broken green glass and every utensil we own.

Two sandhill cranes along the road near the swamp north of Trout Lake.

Cat tails.  Sunshine.  Ravens.

4 comments » | Life

Back to top