2009.09.16 She hasn't lost her marbles

Written by David Green.


“You’re really strange, Colleen,” my brother-in-law Thom said to me recently. He and David and I were talking on Skype (the free internet phone service) and neither he nor David nor I can remember what precipitated that remark.

“I have no idea,” Thom said when I later asked him about it. “It could have been about a million things.”

I suppose I should have asked him to recount a few of the “million things” he referred to, but I probably don’t want to know.

I remember denying his claim, but being amused by the comment, especially because I’ve often remarked to myself how “normal” I’ve become compared to when I first moved to town.

But in the couple of weeks since Thom made that remark, I’ve noticed that even if I’m not willing to admit I’m strange, I have to concede strange things happen to me and I often notice strange things around me. I could say it just means I’m hyper aware of my surroundings and I’m inclined to comment on these things, but the evidence is mounting in Thom’s favor. Here are a few examples.

An uncanny thing happens almost every time I read the newspaper or a book or magazine while also listening to the radio. I can’t actually both read and listen with any degree of comprehension—unlike today’s youth who can text, talk, study and listen to their iPods at the same time, I am not much of a multi-tasker.

So, when I say I am listening to the radio, I really only mean the radio is background noise. Still, I am able to perceive the uncanny when it happens and that is this: Someone on the radio will utter a word just as I read it or am about to read it. It happens simultaneously and it happens on bizarre words—I’m not talking about your garden variety “the,” “and,” “of,” et cetera.

Most recently, it was the word, “Twitter.” OK, I suppose “Twitter” has become as common as “the,” “and,” “of,” but surely it’s not that common to hear it and read it at the same time, is it?

Another bizarre thing that happens on a regular basis (and I’d love to hear from others on this) is a streetlight at the corner of Locust and N. Summit streets goes out whenever I walk by it or turns on if it’s been out.

The last time Ben was home, the light turned off as we walked by it. He mentioned that the same thing happens to him in Miami.

“It happens to me whether I'm by myself or with someone. There was one light on my drive home to the other house and it would happen quite often, at least a few times a week. But it's happened at other random lights either walking or in a car,” he said when I asked him about it last night.

Poor kid, it must be genetic. But he must have some super electromagnetic field—I don’t think I’ve ever had much impact while driving by the streetlight. And, we haven’t ruled out that it’s David who’s got the magic touch. I don’t think I’ve walked by the light without him.

We’ll have to put it to the test, although all signs point to me. I’m the one who makes watches stop by wearing them and let me know if you want to hear about my mental telepathy powers.

We went to Ann Arbor Saturday evening for the Homegrown Festival in Kerrytown. That’s not unusual or strange, but I suppose it’s not normal that I decided to attend based on the very cool drawing or woodcut of a chicken prominently displayed on the festival website. I figured if the chicken looked that good, the festival was probably going to be also.      

Somehow, Maddie agreed to attend with us. Maybe it’s because she has a nutrition class this semester (paying money for what her parents have been preaching for free for years) or maybe she just feels sorry for her lonely-for-her-children mother. David’s a fine and dandy husband and feathers the empty nest with humor and fun times, but there’s no good substitute for the company of your own children.

The festival charged me up at every booth, but David had that get-me-out-of-here look on his face as soon as he arrived. He parked himself in corners here and there to people-watch as Maddie and I visited booths for free shopping bags and samples of seitan. Well, I sampled the seitan; Maddie’s not strange.

The best discovery was made toward the end—at the Maitelates booth.

I bought a dulce de leche alfajores (two thin shortbread cookies sandwiched around a layer of dulce de leche and then dipped in Belgian chocolate), but didn’t eat it until I got home. Darn. I would have bought 10 more. It was, quite possibly, the best thing that I’ve ever put in my mouth besides Liz Stella’s sticky toffee pudding.

The Chilean woman selling them said in accented English, “I really hope you like it.” So, of course, I really wanted to like it because she was so earnest.

Is that so strange?

  • 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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