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I'm Back. From Alpena

JULY 22, 2007

Smith Family Reunion 2007

I'm not fond of flying. I can drag myself into an airplane hull, but I need a few pints of beer in my belly. I'd rather keep my feet planted on a surface that is covered with grass covered dirt (which often includes my studio floor) or the floor mat of an automobile. Maggie loves air travel. A puzzlement. Being stuffed and buckled into a seat with sweaty, swollen ankles, toxic air and a single miniscule bag of stale salted nuts is her reward. And mine on Friday the 13th, July, 2007.

So, it was with some trepidation that I drove with Maggie to Stewart-Newburgh airport. Maggie was on her way to visit her 93-year old mother in Florida. I was on my way to my hometown of Alpena, Michigan for a family reunion. Maggie parted from the gate on time and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale thirty minutes early. I flew out some 12 hours later. An electrical problem. My brother Dave (see the Rat Piss and Nails video), who is a generous and loving guy (and who loves motoring) offered to drive across the Michigan Mitten from Alpena to pick me up. He made it about halfway before I reached him with my rented cell phone. Ever cheerful, Dave headed back to Alpena, promising to retrieve me next morning. I would find a motel in Traverse City for the night. A fellow traveler informed me that every Traverse City hotel and motel would be packed to the gills. Turns out I was arriving just in time for the big annual Cherry Festival. A lot like Mardi Gras, according to my cabbie, with cherry-nosed drunks on every corner. Maggie, bless her travel-loving soul, found me a room at a Motel 6. Very well the last available room in Cherrytown.

The family reunion part of my trip was wonderful. I won't sully it by talking about the severe thunderstorms that bombarded O'Hare before chasing my bouncing jet back home. I may never board another airliner, but the family union (great weather up there, too) was worth the whole flying fiasco.

Here's a short video I concocted from some some video footage I took while up north. Don't ask. My 85-year old Uncle Vern said to me at the reunion: "You are strange. To say the least."

Me? Strange?

(click below to see QuickTime video)

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