Naturally, there are as many visual images to choose from as moments in the day, but my camera does not capture them all. Here are a few unconnected ones from yesterday.
First, someone apparently spilled quite a bit of food from a bag of dry dog kibble out onto Waukazoo Street, and a couple of gulls were not long in finding the banquet. This was the bolder of the two, the one not scared off when cars passed close by. Please note also the beautiful new paving of the street in front of Dog Ears Books. Our downtown is beautiful this summer--and this street cleaner was working for free!
We had a visit later in the day from good friend and Hemingway aficionado Ron Bauer of Grand Haven and Cherry Home, seen here wearing his vintage Dog Ears Books t-shirt, circa 2004 (?). He and David regaled one another and me with many wonderful stories, but in this picture Ron is reading aloud to us a couple of paragraphs from Hemingway’s short story, “The Big Blow,” because within those paragraphs is a phrase that he (Bauer, not Hemingway) thought David should use sometime for a painting title. (No, I’m not telling.) At closing time we adjourned to the marina to continue story-telling over a pizza from the Eat Spot.
Home at last, it doesn’t take a fortune-teller to guess that Sarah and I hit the fields and woods so she could stretch her dog legs after a long day of good behavior in the bookstore. The first of the summer’s Queen Anne’s Lace are beginning to bloom in the heavy, humid air of July.
Not captured on camera was a visit early in the day from Richard and Judy Hill of Sault Ste. Marie, bringing with them Rich’s new book, LAKE EFFECT: A DECKHAND’S JOURNEY ON THE GREAT LAKES FREIGHTERS. Nice people, an engaging, exciting book, which I’m happy to have (signed copies!) in the store, and I don’t think Rich will mind if I quote a bit here from the opening of the first chapter to show you how it reeled me in:
“The early morning mist hovered over the quiet waters of the St. Mary’s River, slightly obscuring the passing freighters. The rocks along the bank where I sat felt damp and mossy. Further down the river, in the narrow channel, the ferry sounded a muffled horn blast as it departed for Sugar Island. Along the Canadian side of the river, the sugar maples blushed as they awoke in the chill fall air.”
Well, I’m there! The Soo is nowhere else on earth, and I’ve never been on a Great Lakes freighter before. There’s some raw language, lots of technical and mechanical information, and I predict this is a book men will be nuts about, but I’m loving it, too. There’s even a connection for me to my growing up in Joliet, Illinois, where the railroad that employed my father was bought out by U.S. Steel (the company operating the freighters Rich writes about) to bring taconite from the Mesabi Range down to Gary, Indiana.
What a surprise. I thought I’d be starting a novel today, and here I am, out on open water, out of sight of land, heading back to Two Harbors, Minnesota. You never know.