2009.05.13 The check in the mail, royal jelly and laughter

Written by David Green.


I received a check in the mail Saturday from the Ann Arbor Main Street Area Association. It came with a brochure about the organization and a list of stores where I could use the check (all my favorites and new ones I didn’t know existed), but no hint as to why I was getting it.

I was pretty excited. I thought I must have won a prize for a contest I entered. But I tend not to enter contests, especially ones where the odds are long and my name will be added to a mailing list that generates loads of junk mail.

Then I thought maybe Ann Arbor was getting so desperate for shoppers, they’ll give you money and hope you spend tons more when you get to town.

My next suspicion made even less sense: Sybil. There’s still just the one-and-only Sybil in Morenci, isn’t there? I love Sybil, but her letter to the editor last week still makes me cringe: I have a hard time accepting praise, especially when so many people contribute to making an event successful.

In one way or another, all these people contributed to a wonderful afternoon celebrating football May 3 at Stair Public Library: Liz Stella, David Green, Larry Weeks, Barney Vanderpool and the DPW crew, Kenneth Dillon, Julie Terry, Jane Brasher-Garrow and her fifth grade art students, Kym Ries and her high school art students,

Bob and Pat Dister, Doug and Kathye Herrera, Sally Kruger, Ken Fether, Sheri Frost, Lori Drogowski, Janelle Thomas, Mary Johnson, Zac Johnson, Tom Saylor, Joe Farquhar, Joyce Woerner, Kyle Griffith, Sybil Diccion, Virginia Garrow, Dawn Stubleski, Sandy Emmons, Joel Brown, Katherine Wollter, Tom Spiess,

Jamie DeVoe and high school and middle school band members, Deb Hojnacki, Lesley Kazmierczak, Megan Crowell, Ashley Clark, Lucas Johnson, Nate Greider, Tommy McVay, Sam Majarowski, Lizz Gautz, Elaina Pruzinsky, Josh Namyslowski, Pat Houttekier, Pam Hollstein, Lois Speed, Skye Molitierno, McKenna Shaffer, Mason Shaffer, Catalina Smith and, of course, Michael Rosenberg and all the people who attended....and the people I might have missed. Without all those people, not much is possible.

So, back to Sybil...Sybil seemed a little likely if only because she’s often in Ann Arbor visiting family. Maybe she was carrying her gratitude for library programs a little too far.

I ruled out Sybil and looked closer to home—my own daughter, Maddie. She just spent a school year in Ann Arbor. But it didn’t seem likely that it would be Maddie. She wouldn’t have arranged to have a check mailed when she could have picked it up and delivered it in person.

And then I realized: “Mother’s Day is tomorrow!”

“Maddie, did you give me this?” I asked.

“No,” she laughed. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

Her gift would be presented in a couple days and would totally blow me away: I had raised my daughter well.

“This is because of all those presents you’ve given me,” she said as she handed me a small rectangular box.

“Ut oh, payback time?” I said.

“Uh huh,” she said with a smile.

All the goofy things I’ve given my children for presents over the years have not necessarily been appreciated.

I opened the package with trepidation to reveal a red and white box; Chinese characters across the top translated to: “Peking Royal Jelly: Oral Liquid.”

Inside the box were 10 tiny glass vials accompanied by 10 of the tiniest plastic straws I’ve ever seen. Inside each vial was 1/3 ounce of royal jelly.

“It’s stuff the worker bees give to the queen bee so I’m giving it to you since you’re my queen bee,” she said with a sweet smile.

The back of the box explains: royal jelly is a milky glandular secretion of the worker bees for the sole provision of nutrition to the Queen Bee.

Boy, she hit pay dirt here; this was a gift just short of perfection. Unique as all get out, intriguing, exotic—the dainty dark brown vials filled me with wonder—and a little fear. They look like ones medical staff use when they draw blood.

The stuff tastes ghastly, but it has so much potential for regifting. I figure I can divide up the other nine vials and package each one with a tiny straw in little Ziplock snack bags. Nine lucky people should be on the lookout.

I was still in the middle of trying to figure out where the check came from when Ben called Saturday.

Ben and Sarah are in belt-tightening mode as Miami’s economy nosedives to match Michigan’s, so I wouldn’t want them to spend money on gifts. But since he was on the phone, I asked.

“Hey, are you the one who sent me a check from the Ann Arbor Main Street Area Association?”

He paused ever so slightly, barely missing a beat, and said, “Yeah! Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Did you really?” I asked.

“No,” he admitted and we had a good laugh—which is a pretty darn good present. I’ll drink to that...just not with a swig of bee secretion

I don’t want to leave you in suspense—it was Rozee and Taylor who arranged to have the check sent.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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