Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hall over the road- it's that time of year again!

When Mr. H. starts to enjoy longer and longer periods of time looking out the window, and spends an excessive amount of attention to the shine on the big black car, then Mrs. H. gets out the valise and starts packing; she knows a trip to Michigan is surely on the horizon.

Thursday afternoon, when all the work was done and put away, the Halls pulled out of the hanger and took the handoff to Cleveland Center, and points west. The Cadillac put the miles behind them quickly, and it was no time before they were sitting in their favorite smoky environ, The Korner Bar, in Owasso.
The Halls are only there once or twice a year, and yet, the bartender knows them by name and pours a healthy glass. She's a Tigers fan like Mr. Hall, but she'll lend a sympathic ear (or at least the impression of one...) to Mrs. H's sob stories about her beloved Cubs. Theresa (the bartender) introduced them to one of the regulars, Dave, who, improbably enough, knew the same FAA examiner and flight instructor, Ray Rurork, who used to be a WW II bomber pilot. He gave Mr. H. his private, commercial and multi-engine rating, right there in Owasso.
A short night at the Comstock Inn and then back on the road. They traveled around Mr. Hall's old stomping grounds for a while, swinging past his old home on Big Pine Island Lake, past the Gratten Speedway and around some of the prettiest little cottages imaginable. Mr. H.'s own old home was for sale, and for a short time, they conversed with the real estate agent regarding the resale value and history. But, as Tommy Wolfe was want to say, you can go home all you want, but you're not going to like what you find, (or words to that effect...) It was time to point the big black car to Rockford. Nothing says Rockford, MI like a double dose of chili dogs (with onions!) and coleslaw at their own Corner Bar, a central Michigan institution in it's own right. It was Sidewalk Sale day, so after popping a few franks and some anti-acids, they decided to walk off their lunch around town. Mr. Hall is an organ fan, and there was a beautiful Classic Music shop with the delicious looking theatre organs in the window, but unfortunately, it was closed. Not to be stopped that easily, Mr. H. peered in the window and flagged the owner, who happened to be on his cell phone inside the darkened store. He let them in and gave them not only a guided tour of his wares, but an impromptu concert on the big organ in the center of his store! What a delight!
From Rockford, they continued south into Grand Rapids, and what a grand town it is! Last trip here, Mrs. H. had lamented the fact that she had missed out on a tour of the Gerald Ford Museum, so the Halls made a special point of spending the afternoon there. Their favorite overnight is the Hampton Inn off Alpine Road, north of the city, so they dropped their duds and made a bee line for Paunchy Pete's, for their Ultimate Margarita and some gooey fajitas. Diets are good things, in moderation, explained Mr. Hall to Mrs. Hall; and he resolved to go right back on his as soon as they returned to the Empire State.
There are lots more miles to go on this sentimental journey, so stay tuned to the Penguin Hall Monitor for further updates as we follow the Halls all around!

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