Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Best and the Bright(on)est

Winston shone in the sunlight like a shiny green beetle. Mr. Hall drove him around and picked up Mrs. Hall in front of the lobby of the hotel. "Just for old times' sake," he began- "I just want to take a swing by the old homestead." Mrs. Hall nodded and Winston took off as if he knew the way all by himself.
Where once an orchard and a largely uninhabited stand of woods stood long ago, a small sub-division had grown up. Winston turned off of Woodland Park onto Hallridge Road; so named for the man who had once owned the entire hillside area, and who also happened to be Mr. Hall's father. A few short years ago, they had visited this spot and although the waterfront was showing signs of a revival, Mr. Hall's childhood house was up for sale. A quick inquiry proved why; in the face of the housing bubble, the realtors were asking an exorbitant price. A year later, upon revisiting it, the home was still on the market, but now for a more reasonable and realistic price. This year proved the most satisfying of the lot, however. Not only had the property sold, but the new owners had improved upon the lot in a most agreeable fashion. It was a pleasure to see it used and enjoyed. As they drove past town, they passed the old Hall's Market, where Mr. Hall, his father and grandfather had once worked so many years ago. It was a comfort to see it was still a neighborhood fixture in the area.
"Looks like there's a little weather coming in," remarked Mr. Hall, surveying the horizon, and truer words could not be spoken, for as soon as they cleared the outer markers beyond Big Pine Island Lake, the rains started to come down.
Winston splashed down the highway at a rate somewhat higher than the posted speed limit, but still couldn't manage to outrun the storm. By late evening, the little green car finally crawled up the driveway of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Pranitis' home in Brighton MI and the Halls ran through the raindrops to get in. Rick and Gail had invited them for a stay and their always gracious (and tasty!) welcome was just what the doctor ordered.
After burning the midnight oil a bit, trading stories and generally getting caught up, Mrs. Hall was somewhat sluggish about rising, but when Gail told her they were going to check out a local art festival in town, her interest perked considerably. Nothing beats finding new talent on the ascent, thought Mrs. Hall, and certainly an educated and intelligent community like Brighton would likely have some of the best and the brightest.
That the town embraced la vie artistique, was clearly apparent. Everywhere they walked were touches of adornment and sculpture. "Though I'm sure I'm supposed to be full of refinement now, I'd have to say my stomach is registering on empty. How about we break for some lunch?" said Mr. Hall. Rick and Gail were right on the money with the perfect spot. Bagger Dave's was right down the street, and after admiring the train pictures and the model train running around the ceiling of the bar, Mr. Hall finally settled down and ordered.
His inner man having been quieted at least for the moment, the little group returned to the fair. They wandered around for a while and after a few hours more of the quietly inspired lunacy, decided it was time to call it a day. Picking up their stuff from the house, the Halls thanked Rick and Gail for a lovely time, hugs went all around at least twice along with promises to get together again soon, and they were off.
As they waited in line at the Canadian border, Mrs. Hall wondered aloud if the adjacent car's owner had left his miniature dog in charge of the wheel while he made a pit stop, but Mr. Hall ignored her. "Next stop- Niagara Falls!" he announced, but she was already dropping off to sleep. Next episode: Taking sides (of the Falls)- stay tuned!

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