By DAVID GREEN
I am not a friend to the hotel industry. I slept in my own bed Friday night and drove to Grand Rapids the next morning.
Last weekend was the annual Michigan Press Association convention. Sort of. The convention has mostly shifted to Friday with very little left for the weekend. In fact, the shift was so severe this year that the closing awards luncheon became an awards brunch.
The new president made a joke about vacating the premises before 12:01 or the group would be assessed for another day at the hotel. It was probably a statement of fact, but everyone laughed.
My wife wasn’t laughing Friday night. “What were we thinking?” she asked once she realized the alarm clock would be set for 6 a.m. I knew exactly what I was thinking: I wasn’t going to pay a hundred dollars to sleep in a bed with fat pillows. Complete waste of money. Other than sleep, we would spend very little time in the rented room.
I was thinking, “Maybe Colleen won’t realize that we’ll have to get up early” and I was right. I think in her head it was still a luncheon rather than a 10:15 brunch.
Besides that, I’m a morning person and don’t like to stay up late, which brings us to 5:45 a.m. Saturday.
Colleen had worried me into thinking that it takes three hours to get to Grand Rapids instead of 2.5 hours, so the alarm was moved back to an earlier time.
We were running late in the morning, of course, and when I went to the garage the car wouldn’t start. It hadn’t been driven in a few days and it took several tries to get it going.
Our departure wasn’t the most pleasant. We made it out to Betty Sutton’s house before turning back to fetch a pair of glasses, but long before reaching North Morenci, my wife had masterfully blamed me entirely for our lateness. I was impressed.
It didn’t take too many miles for the trip to improve because the full moon was setting in the west. I often see the big moon rising, but I miss the morning version when it’s going back down. Very impressive.
But then somewhere betwixt Dansville and Mason, a warning light on the dashboard informed us that we had tire pressure problems.
I didn’t believe it. We had four new tires, replaced after the last time the warning came on. We really did have a problem then.
Colleen read the manual and we reset the light and never saw it reappear. It was only later that she realized the light has come on three times while driving through the same stretch of road.
I’m learning to keep my mouth closed when a statement such as that is made. I wanted details, but I guess only to make fun of them. I’m not a believer. I don’t think the warning has come on three times at the same location, but if it puts her mind at ease, it’s OK with me.
My only note from the road is this: Driving west on I-96, we passed five consecutive billboards with public service messages. There might have been more before I started counting. This is sort of like a vacant building; not a good economic indicator.
We met up with Steve and Brenda Begnoche (Steve’s first job was at the Observer), we ate our brunch, we received our plaques and we went off to look around Grand Rapids.
This was my first winter visit to the city when the sun was shining and the roads weren’t snowy. A very unique experience. We watched a Zamboni smooth the outdoor ice rink downtown, we sought out the enormous mosaic wall at the children’s museum, we ate, and some of us shopped.
And then it was time to go back home, with Colleen too tired to drive and me at the wheel using my new stay-awake method. It came to me one Tuesday evening while driving back from Adrian with a load of freshly-printed newspapers.
I’m really tired on a Tuesday evening and it feels so good to close my eyes. That isn’t a good idea while driving because you might not open them up, ever. So I just bounce my head around a little while they’re closed to make sure I don’t nod off.
You’re welcome to believe what you want from this column, but do believe this: This time the full moon rose beautifully in the east and it only enhanced the taste of Georgio’s black bean pizza.