Sigh. My vacation is over.
And, although I love being home and back in the East County, I still miss being with my family.
Last week, I flew to Detroit, to visit my 88-year-old grandmother, whom I hadn’t seen since my wedding. It had been even longer since I’d seen many of my other relatives, as well.
I finally threw out my excuses, booked a flight, packed a bag and made it happen. It was so good to be home, where my sister and I spent our summers as children. And I relished each little memory. My parents were in town visiting, as well, so we had fun helping my Gram with things around the house, visiting family and longtime family friends and also indulging in some of my childhood favorites, like gyros from one special restaurant.
As I pondered what to write about this week, I settled upon a summation of my adventures — a checklist, if you will, of my trip’s “highlights.” My list is quite uneventful in many ways, but I’m sure there will be plenty of items with which you can relate, especially you Michiganders!
A family affair
I started my visit by attending a surprise birthday party for my late great uncle’s sister and brother-in-law, who I’d met once about a decade ago. It was fun seeing family and also meeting folks I’d never met. They welcomed me with open arms. And that same night, my mom and I crashed a friend’s graduation party. (We were invited, technically, but it was a party for the graduate’s friends from school). It was so nice to see her and her family.
We had lunches with various family friends and relatives and spent the day at my Aunt Sharon’s house with a houseful of cousins. It was glorious just being with everyone. I don’t know that there’s any other way to say it.
The ‘cat’s meow’
Last month, my mom rescued a newly born feral cat, which she named Wilson in honor of the character from the television show, “House.”
“He was always such a good friend,” she says, laughing.
My parents were in Michigan at the same time as I was and originally had planned to leave the now 6-week-old kitten with a friend. At the last minute, however, they decided to bring him along.
We always had dogs growing up — and old rescued dogs, at that — so being around any kind of young animal for an extended period of time was a new experience for me.
Nonetheless, Wilson was a hit at my grandma’s house. He followed us around from room to room, mercilessly pouncing on our feet and climbing on furniture.
My mom’s birthday was July 23, so while I was in town, many family and friends gave her a slightly early, yet delicious, birthday surprise. In my five days there, we feasted on three birthday cakes — a Sander’s bumpy caramel cake, a carrot cake that had been decorated in honor of my mom’s choir days and another huge cherry-flavored one that pleasantly surprised my taste buds.
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Besides my grandma’s house, one of my favorite places in the world is the home of my Aunt Sharon. I have so many wonderful memories there playing with cousins, riding around on her golf cart, swimming, gardening and so much more.
When we arrived, I knew to expect food — and lots of it — but I was shocked when I looked at the spread my aunt and cousins had graciously and tediously prepared. Aunt Sharon told me they’d gotten several of the recipes from my Pinterest board online. I loved it. I felt as thought we’d swapped recipes in her kitchen instead of over the Internet.
The headline grabbed my attention, but the words that followed made me keep reading.
As I slid into my chair at a restaurant for lunch, my sights turned to a stand-up menu announcing the eatery’s “Great Lunch” specials. At the top of Monday’s list was a “Chop house steak burger for $5.”
Then came the line that made my day: “Bald men eat FREE from lunch menu (up to $10).”
The rest of the daily specials were nothing out of the ordinary, but I couldn’t help but ask the waiter about the “bald men eat free” statement. Do they really honor that? Do bald men come in to eat? What about partially bald men? How did they get that idea?
Well, the waiter quickly answered my questions: Yes, yes, yes, and they borrowed the idea from a restaurant in California.
He said the restaurant gives a percentage off, according to varying degrees of baldness. If you have a half-bald head, you get 50% off, for example.
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