With two fairly long and arduous trips just barely behind me I was hesitant when my cousin Barb called me from her home in Salinas, Michigan and with great effervescence began telling me about the wondrous Ann Arbor Art Festival. It’s only a three hour drive and you can stay with me and… My initial response was Barb, I just got back from Iowa and I’m dog dead tired. Well, just think about it, it is on all this week, and if not this year, maybe next year, but honestly, it is SO big…
The last time she asked me to come up to that festival I was driving a fourteen year old car and while the mechanic did well to keep it going and wouldn’t let me drive it if it was not safe for me, I was hesitant to go beyond a hundred miles in it.
So I did think about the festival and how art was a lifelong interest of mine and I’ve invested so many years studying it and how many important museums I’ve gone to and how many PBS specials I’ve been glued to, how many art books I’ve acquired over the decades, how many local craft shows I’ve trudged through, how I write through the eyes of a painter.
Three hours huh, well for me that would probably be more like four. The car I’m driving now is in better condition, not as old, maybe I could do this. If I drove up there on Friday, we could do the Festival on Saturday and I could come home on Sunday.
The next day I called her back and said I thought I could do this and she was very happy to hear that; she rambled off some directions and I checked Map quest for more details. Now these instructions even say if you get to this street, you’ve gone too far, which I think is very helpful.
I rummaged through the closet for some artsy thing to wear and found an orange and green flowered top and a soft orange tank top to go under it, my dependable orange flowered sun hat and an orange poetry festival shirt as an alternate item, packed a small bag, with walking shoes at the bottom, and set off as early as I am likely to get underway for anything that I am driving to.
For the most part the drive was pretty straight forward and once again, as when I milled through the terminals at the airports I was struck by the sheer numbers of people I walked among at the rest stop as we took turns going into and out of the building to find a sandwich or to use a restroom.
When I pulled into Barb’s apartment complex, she was there waving me into the parking slot. We took a few minutes to bring my stuff into her home and shortly were heading to town to use a gift certificate she had received for appetizers and drinks at a very posh place in town. The setting reminded me of West Salem, Ohio where some of our cousins live. When we returned to the apartment complex, we changed into our swim suits and spent an hour or so in the pool.
The next morning we drove up to Ann Arbor and parked the car and took a shuttle over to the Festival. Barb thought I could ride the shuttle free since I am a senior, but the ticket seller said only if I had a gold card. When I offered him my Buckeye card, he said they charge double for Buckeye cards, in case I forgot where I was. I laughed and paid for my ticket saying I knew where I was, you don’t have to be a big sports fan to know about the ages old competition between Ohio State and Michigan football teams.
Blocks and blocks of the city were cordoned off from all but foot traffic and filled with white canvas tents enclosing the precious art works of a multitude of different artists. There were many benches or low walls to take a rest on along the way and many restaurants and shops to further tempt anyone with a mind to buy anything. Once we began to feel the call for lunch we found a pan Asian restaurant and ducked into it for enormous relief from the heat and no sooner had we each decided what to eat when we could see the sky had gotten gray, trees were waving their branches and rain came. We were very grateful to be inside, cool and eating great food. While we were in no hurry to go back outside, when we did we were pleasantly surprised to find the temperature dropped a few degrees and walking was more comfortable. We pressed on seeing all we could possibly feast our eyes upon and we did not leave until most of the day was spent. Once back at Barb’s we changed into our swim suits again and went into the pool until it was almost dark.
A very big storm was predicted for the next day and I was worried about my return trip, but thankfully it had blown in a different direction, so Barb and I took our time over coffee and nut bread and then went to a nearby church for Mass. She asked me how I was doing and I said I was content and at peace.