If I was at home – (oh wait, I am at home). Alright, if I was still in Louisiana, I would be counting down the days to the end of the heat in October … or November … or like last year … December. We ran the air conditioner at Christmas last year, and it was still way too hot. My new friends in Michigan are talking about the last days of summer. Labor Day literally marks the last days of summer in these parts. It won’t immediately freeze or anything, but cool fronts do start passing, and the warmer days become little surprises that everybody treasures. Today my friends told me about ice skating on the lake here, and we talked about the stillness of winter in this busy place.
I have literally been stuffing myself silly with fresh fruits and vegetables and even fruit pies. I’m trying to limit the pies as my waistline could be in trouble if I keep this up. I stopped by Bob’s Barn Farm Market and Bakery near Coloma and picked up a Dutch Apple – Blueberry pie for the group dinner last night. I even decided to pick up a pie at Sprague’s so that we could taste-test them. I’ve heard a lot about Sprague’s, and the gal there told me to get the strawberry rhubarb pie. We each sampled a small slice of both pies topped with homemade whipped cream. The winner is …. drum roll please … Bob’s Farm Market and Bakery! The Sprague’s pie was delicious, too, but the bold flavor of the Dutch Apple – Blueberry pie was a unanimous winner. I even had a second piece of that one just to make sure that I wasn’t confused. I wasn’t.
I spent a little time in the store yesterday, and Ken – Bob was his father-in-law – told me about their pies. They are not ALL homemade in the store. Some are. But some are made by the Amish, and Lyn assembles and bakes them in the store every morning. Ashleigh, their daughter, said they are famous for their apple dumplings which they will begin offering at the end of this month. Nevertheless, they are baked fresh every day, and you can even buy a scoop of Sherman’s ice cream to go on top. I asked Ken if he had some fresh-ground almond butter per the sign in the store, and he made it for me right then and there. If you are in the area, it’s a great little place to visit, and they have much more than pies and fresh fruits and veggies.
The lake was busy today with skiers and jet skis. We took a leisurely ride around the lake with the dogs in the sunshine. I even got a little too hot although I mentioned that at 3 PM in Louisiana, I’d never get out on a boat ride in the sunshine. It wasn’t THAT hot. Ashok is loving living by a lake and taking a dip whenever she wants to cool off.
I met my friends Michael and Sandy this morning for breakfast at the Mason Jar Cafe. I didn’t know if it would be prudent to order the Crab Cakes Benedict on the banks of a freshwater lake, but the waitress assured me it would be good, and it was. Sandy and Michael and I met each other when we worked at the call center here in Benton Harbor 16 years ago. We took a tour of the old building where only the bones were still recognizable. We walked by offices and remembered who was in that office, and I walked through my old cubicle area which is now where the leadership team sits. It was fun to talk about the old days and all of the things that have happened to us and our former coworkers since then. I was happy to see that the division had progressed along with the rest of the company in becoming a happy and motivating place to work.
I’m having my crazy Back to the Future hallucinations again as I drive about and see places that I frequented 16 years ago with new eyes. When I moved home to Louisiana, so much had changed that I really didn’t recognize it. Here, most things are the same with a lot of improvements in Benton Harbor and some much welcome additions in restaurant offerings. I think I’m going to eat much better this time around which may not be such a good thing.
I’m looking forward to a new week at work. I’m rested for a change. The last month of Mondays I’ve been exhausted before the alarm went off. I rested this weekend and recharged with healthy food and great company. I even started running again in the early morning. This morning I ran at 5 AM amid the cornfields and apple orchards on a long, lonely country road. We did not even see one car in the 30 minutes that we were out. The night sky hung overhead with a blanket of fog laying on the horizon. Stars exploded against the darkness, and Ashok and I heard only the crickets as we re-engaged our running lungs. It felt good to start a routine, and, even though everything still feels new, it is starting to feel like home.
Y’all have a good week. Try to get some exercise. It’ll make you feel better.