Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michigan, Memories, and a wedding among friends

This gorgeous Michigan Sunday morning began with great promise of warm sun, demanding some quality time at a beach somewhere, anywhere. While I'm not one to laze about in the sand I always enjoy a trip to Clear Lake to see Susan's Aunt Marian and Uncle John.

But that's getting a bit ahead of this tale.

Friday in Providence was overcast as I drove Susie to T. F. Green Airport (and no, I don't know who he was). After I dropped her at the departures I dropped the car off at Airport Valet ($12 a day with internet coupon of course) and caught the shuttle back to the airport.

Here's where it gets a bit confusing. Originally I was going to stay behind in Providence while Susie returned to her old haunts in western Michigan. The reason? Her best friend in high school they remained good friends all through college at Calvin and were roommates in medical school in Detroit, one Jane P.,was tying the knot to Dave Van D. -- at long last Dave thought. He's been waiting 12 years for her to say yes. And so she did.

But the story gets better -- and provides a lesson about the cycles of life and that history is can be disconcertingly nonlinear. These two had been sweethearts in high school and then went their separate ways: families, careers, a series of life changes that pulled them in a great many directions but never together. Until about a dozen years ago when almost by happenstance they reconnected -- almost on a lark they started dating.

The rest they say, is history. And now the circle has come full round and they are together once again. Maybe they were always destined for this and they've just been wending down other roads trying to find their way back here.

Who knows, eh?

The important thing is they are together now.

So Susie planned to come out and I planned to stay home. As last week began I began asking myself why I wasn't coming? Work was part of the reason -- but I'm a freelance and have a bit of flexibility in my time. I liked the people to be sure. I met Jane and Dave two summers ago and you can’t imagine a more inviting, generous group of folks than those kids who grew up in Fremont, Muskegon and Grand Haven in the heady days of Kennedy families, Texas nonsense and Nixon shenanigans.

Two days before Susie was due to leave I plugged into Expedia and got myself two tickets leaving Providence at roughly the same time and returning, as it turned out, on the very same flight!

The two of us kept in contact via cell phone as we traversed the mighty Midwest throughout the middle part of Friday. My flight to Cleveland was a bit bumpy and reminded me of driving our Mini on the roads of Rhode Island. Anyway my short flight from Cleveland to Grand Rapids was incredible. Smooth to be sure but we flew low out over Lake Erie and then cruised over Detroit and scooted among the clouds resembling so many ice floes in the sky. The land below was well tended and the grid patterns made me long for the sensibility we Midwesterners have always given for directions and communication in a physical space -- unlike New England where the idea of a quaint road is one that goes nowhere in three different directions.

I landed right on time, just a bit before 6pm and Susie was waiting for met at the gate. Since I only had carry on we called her mom to let her know I was on the ground and she was already on her way to pick us up. Before long the three of us were zipping out of Gerald Ford International Airport (nope, I don’t know who he was either) and off to spend the evening over sloppy joes, homemade potato salad and just relaxing in the cool Michigan night air.

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