Friday, November 14, 2008
Travel Close to Home
It was a busy, social, interesting Friday day at Dog Ears Books, from the moment I arrived, sliding in a couple of minutes late after a morning of errands. Cherry farmer friend Gene was the first customer in the door. He was there to pick up a new book on the oil crisis, and, as usual, we talked agriculture, too, getting into pigs, sheep and chickens. But Gene doesn't want livestock. "I like my freedom too much," he says. Gene has done a lot of traveling and has a passport so full of visa stamps it makes me feel as if I've lived my whole life at home. More travelers followed on Gene's heels. Gerry and Barb had time to visit over coffee, and I got to hear about Gerry's recent trip to Malawi before they left with a couple of new books for their grandchildren, and when Nick and Helen stopped in to pick up their order, they took me on a vicarious trip to the opera, recounting their experience last Saturday at the State Theatre, where the Met simulcast is the new TC rage.
Ed brought disappointing news: the new guide to Michigan roadside plants that he and his wife, Connie, collaborated on won't be ready for a December book launch, after all. Printing delays. So we will do the party in spring (we would have done a second one in the spring, even if we'd launched this winter), which is a more logical time for the book, anyway. Before he left with a new-to-him (used) Civil War book under his arm, Ed gave me a synopsis of the trip he and Connie made this past September through New York State and Massachusetts and up into Maine. (Massachusetts! Maine! I've yet to see either.) Finally, retrieving her new copy of Roads to Quoz, Mary reminisced about a bicycle road trip she took in the 1930's, at the age of 17: five teenage girls, on their own, cycled for two weeks through lower Michigan, staying at hostels for twenty-five cents a night (whatever happened to that old Michigan youth hostel system?) and sending penny postcards home to their parents every day to assure them that all was well. What an adventure!
There were dog visits, too. Shelly came by with Jake, Stephanie and Boomer dropped in, and Bonnie and Dusty stayed to be social for a while. So I didn't have a chance to finish Obama's Challenge yet (did get a couple more chapters read), but all the vicarious travel was great, and hardly anyone left the shop empty-handed. Conversations and sales--an unbeatable combination! Sarah was as good as she could be, too, considering we'd had a busy early morning of errands and no time for her usual run. She was, however, really ready to head for the orchard and stretch her legs at closing time.
Every day the orchards look different from the day before. There are more cherry leaves on the ground than remain on the branches these days, and real winter is not far off. It's a bit of a shock to see next year's buds already prepared for spring. (The reproductive life of mammals is concentrated in the early middle years of life. Not so with trees. In the orchards, the buds of the oldest trees and the youngest are indistinguishable.) So hardy these tiny buds must be, though they look so small and vulnerable and unprotected.
Protection. Safety. Tomorrow is the first day of deer season--the gun season, that is. (Bow season is over.) Time to wear blaze orange or at least bright red in orchards, woods and fields. Sarah doesn't yet know that she'll be wearing a child's orange shirt with the sleeves off.
There was a short article in today's Record-Eagle about feral pigs. Sangliers!!! What next?