Columns

2006.11.22 Overdue book heads home

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

I borrowed a book from David Carlson a few years ago and I really should get it back to him.

Remember David or Divad Dean, as his mother, Anna Dean called him? His father, Don, owned the telephone company in Morenci.

David is the only person I know to have broken his leg while skateboarding in Morenci. It happened on Congress Street, traveling west downhill from the high point in town (Summit Street) toward the flood plains of Bean Creek.

I write it that way to make it sound as though Divad was racing down a steep incline in a daredevil move. In reality, of course, there’s a drop in altitude of about 10 feet along the entire block.

I think when he fell his leg hit the curb just right to snap a bone.

When he was a student at Oakland University and home for the summer, I stopped in and borrowed “Four Plays” by Eugène Ionesco. That was probably about 1972 and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

I’ve made the decision to return it, and I’m going to do it in person this week. Yes,  I’m packing my wife and remaining child and we’re heading for Miami to give Divad his book.

That’s a rather remarkable undertaking for someone in my predicament—making a newspaper every week—but we’re going to see what happens. We’re even going to publish one day late next week to help it work out.

And while we’re there delivering Ionesco, we’ll stop in to visit eldest child Ben. OK, so the book thing is a ruse. We’re going to make sure Ben has a good dinner on his first Thanksgiving out of state.

I’ve never had much of a desire to visit Florida. It must be the influence of my crazy parents who often headed north to ski in the winter while so many others turned to the south for warm weather.

My only Florida visit came during college on one of those spring break trips that students are supposed to make. This wasn’t a typical Daytona Beach  visit. This was a drive with my friend, John.

John and I seldom paid for lodging on our travels. When we bicycled the Canadian Maritimes, we occasionally forked over a dollar for a night in a hostel and sometimes we paid for a campsite, but usually we just pulled off the road somewhere and set up the tent.

When we arrived in Florida, it was quite late at night so we pulled off on some back road and then into some tight spot. And went to sleep.

Until a deputy sheriff arrived. “I’m gonna give yew boys 30 minutes to get out of this county before I throw yew in jail.”

We made it out and headed for the coast. I think we ended up at Jupiter Beach where there was a long string of vehicles parked alongside the ocean. We became part of the string and once again went to sleep.

Until a police officer shone his flashlight in the window. But then he moved on, perhaps satisfied that we were just two college boys asleep and not his daughter out with her boyfriend. It was puzzling, but it was a relief.

I don’t have many recollections from that trip. I guess we avoided the police for the remainder of the journey.

And now it’s Miami, more than 1,100 miles away, as the pelican flies. This could take some getting used to. At least an hour or so.

My wife brought home from the library “Oddball Florida,” a guidebook to “some really strange places.” I’ve looked through the Miami section and concluded that this city is all about death.

This is where clothing designer Gianni Versace was murdered.

This is where Versace’s murderer Andrew Cunanan died.

This is where Al Capone died.

Here is Jackie Gleason’s grave. Over there is the future grave of Sylvester Stallone.

Franklin Roosevelt was almost assassinated here. Bob Marley died here and the BeeGee’s Maurice Gibb died over there.

Years ago, a National Airlines passenger jet disappeared from radar for 10 minutes on approach to Miami International. When it landed, all of the passengers wristwatches were 10 minutes slow.

Throw in a little Ionesco—“I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it”—and a good time will be had by all.

    - Nov. 22, 2006 

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