As a lobbyist, the election cycle runs my life. Starting from about Labor Day in even numbered years, it’s election crunch time and my schedule is incredibly busy. But when your best friend from law school gets married, you make time at the end of September, even in an election year. We actually took an extra day, even, because my brother-in-law’s family was in from England and Friday was their last day in Michigan, so we came in on Thursday night around 9. After a full day of traveling (and no flight delays this time!), we were wiped, so we just went back to my mom’s house and went to bed pretty much right away.
Friday dawned clear and warm. We were smiled upon by the capricious Michigan weather gods during this trip: we had perfect Indian summer weather the whole time we were there, 70s and sunny. The first thing we did on Friday was head out to the Dexter Cider Mill, because that was one thing I’d really wanted to do while we were there. Since this ain’t my first Cider Mill rodeo, I thought it would be best to go on Friday morning to avoid crowds. And I was right! We got our cider and donuts and then headed back into Lakeland to spend a few hours going down the Huron River Chain of Lakes on the boat. It was a perfect boat ride: minimal traffic, amazing weather, lots of cool wildlife (turtles sunning themselves, cranes, eagles, etc). We ate snacks and drank booze and hung out on the water and it was great. I really liked being able to do the kind of things with Drew that were regular, enjoyable parts of my life before I moved to Nevada…I don’t know that he always really understands my bouts of homesickness and showing him what exactly I miss makes me feel like he can get a better perspective on things.
After lake time, we went into Ann Arbor for dinner at Palio with Tom’s family. All but one member of his family had been there for a two week trip: his mom, dad, and sister came, but his younger brother couldn’t. We didn’t get to spend a ton of time with them, but it was a lovely dinner and it was obvious that his family are good people. Not the stereotypical British reserve one might have expected, they were warm and friendly, and I’m happy for my sister that she has such great in-laws.
Saturday we’d planned to go into Hell, since I’d not taken Drew outside of Lakeland/Hamburg last time he was there, but he needed to get a new shirt for the wedding later that night and we needed to go to Howell for that and we didn’t have enough time to do that whole trip. So, instead, I took him to one of my favorite local spots that I’m always afraid I’m going to read one day is closing: Cap’n Frosty. It’s a truly small-town local place, and I’ve been getting ice cream there for decades. It feels like it’s inevitable that, like so many things about Pinckney since we first moved there when I was 5, it will fall by the wayside and just become a memory. But it was still standing, and now Drew’s gotten to have a cup of ice cream there with me.
After our jaunt to Howell, we got our stuff together and headed out to Plymouth for the wedding. We got a room at the Hilton Garden Inn because it was only 3 miles from the venue and we didn’t want to have to deal with driving back to Pinckney after having fun, so we checked in, changed, and drove the three miles to the Our Lady of Good Counsel church for Patrick and Kelcie’s wedding. It’s so cheeseball to say, but being there to be a part of those two starting the rest of their lives together was so meaningful to me. And, of course, the party was a blast. There were several of us law school kids there, and getting to see and catch up with Leland and Daniel, who I haven’t seen since I graduated, and Steve, who I haven’t seen since his own wedding about two years ago, made my heart happy. And the booze made my body happy…for the night anyways.
Which is why I felt awesome about my clutch planning the next day…we were planning on meeting my dad in Ann Arbor for lunch on our way back to Pinckney and I’d suggested the Fleetwood Diner. It’s a total greasy spoon, and the famous Hippie Hash took the edge off my slightly icky feeling from the partying. Afterwards, we stopped in my old favorite Rock Paper Scissors and I bought a new Michigan mug because I’m obsessed with Michigan. And then I dragged Drew all the way up to campus so we could get some Iorio’s gelato. It’s the only gelato I’ve had outside Italy that tastes like actual Italian gelato to me, so I was desperate to get some while I had the chance. Between the lunch and the treat, it was a good thing that it was a long walk back to the car to burn some of that off.
And then we packed up, drove to the airport, and made the long journey back to Reno. It was a short weekend, but honestly, it’s hard to imagine it going more perfectly than it did. We had a bunch of fun, the weather was almost criminally gorgeous, and I got to spend lots of time with people I care about. In some ways, going back to Michigan is hard, because I feel so anchored there. Everything feels so right, so natural. There are still moments in Reno where I find the mountains all around me to be slightly unreal, but the lush green of the Ann Arbor area feels like home. I wonder if it will ever stop feeling that way.