Day 553: Detroit Exploit

When Laetitia walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian just before 7:00 a. m., she was thinking about tripe. Not “rubbish,” as it is sometimes defined, but rather of the food made from the stomach linings of ruminant animals, such as cattle. The thought was stimulated by her dinner the night before with friends at a French restaurant that prides itself on its authenticity. One of her party had ordered an Andouille appetizer. When it came, he found that the casings were stuffed with tripe, the way the sausage is made in France, instead of being filled with the spicy Cajun-style pork stuffing he expected. Tripe is a food, like haggis and lutefisk, originally chosen out of economic necessity. Some find the mere thought of such foods disgusting, while others find them tasty.

The thought was fleeting. She unlocked the Victorian’s ornate front door, started the coffee pot brewing, and went into the library to plan the day’s tour. She decided to go to Detroit, Michigan’s largest city. The tour she planned featured mostly museums: the Motown Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, and the Tuskegee Airmen Museum.

After the day’s excursions were over, Laetitia’s thoughts turned once again to tripe in an accidental way. Her happy hour bar perch was within earshot of a table where fetishes were being discussed. One of the discussants, whose name was Mortimer, claimed to have fetishes for tripe and Limburger cheese and was looking to use them to attract women who were similarly inclined. He confessed that his quest so far had yielded little in the way of positive results. Most women he had approached found both foods disgusting rather than erotic. But Mortimer said, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Alexander Pope was likely referring to the afterlife when he wrote those words, but Laetitia, who liked quirky people, hoped that Mortimer would find a paramour that shared his fetishes. His tablemates, however, expressed opinions about him that boiled down to his being “a few bowling pins short of a strike.” Whether or not Mortimer’s quest eventually succeeded, Laetitia had the day’s limerick.

When Mortimer tried to exploit
Young ladies who lived in Detroit
With soup made from tripe
And cheese overripe
He seemed a bit short of adroit.

Day 552: Going to Hell

The Mind’s Eye group spent the day in the Pinckney State Recreation Area, an area of lakes and woods with lots of hiking trails. After a day of hiking, picnicking, and bird watching, the group went to Hell, a village that happens to be in the middle of this area of parkland. Although they expected to be greeted on arrival by a sign with something like “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here,” all they found was an ordinary green sign that read simply “Hell.”

According to local legend, George Reeves and his family settled the area in 1838. He built a gristmill and a general store on the banks of Hell Creek. Allegedly he also had a moonshine still. Husbands who went to the mill or the general store and failed to come home at a reasonable hour were said by their wives to have “gone to Hell.” Nonetheless, in 1841, when Michigan was in the process of naming its communities and a state staffer asked George what he wanted to name his town, he said, “Call it Hell for all I care. Everyone else does.” Apparently the name stuck.

At the bar in Hell’s only eating and drinking establishment, Laetitia had a conversation with a woman of about her own age who worked as a travel agent in Lansing. Belle was originally from Hell and was back visiting family. She had a funny story about her first day at the agency. To begin with, her boss introduced her to her colleagues as “the woman from Hell.” Then when she talked to her first client, she chose her words poorly when she encouraged him to vacation in and around her hometown, which is, after all, in the midst of one of Michigan’s finest recreation areas. To her chagrin, her words elicited an unpleasant response from the client. Laetitia laughed, bought a second round of drinks, and later wrote the limerick of the day.

For a young travel agent named Belle
Her first workday didn’t go well
For she found her first client
Was less than compliant
When she told him he should go to Hell.

Day 551: Spreading Joy

The Mind’s Eye group headed next to Lansing, Michigan’s capital city. In 1897, Ransom Eli Olds founded the Olds Motor Works in Lansing. Their product, the Oldsmobile, was popular throughout much of the twentieth century. They introduced the first fully automatic transmission in the Oldsmobile in 1940. Laetitia’s group started at the R. E. Olds Transportation Museum, which features a collection of Oldsmobiles dating from 1897 to 2004, the first and last years when the car was made. Afterward, they visited the Turner-Dodge Mansion, built in 1855 in the Classical Revival style, with a museum collection dedicated to Lansing’s pioneers.

A majority of Laetitia’s group members consisted of couples that liked dancing, so the group had an early dinner, attended a performance of the Greater Lansing Ballet Company, and went to a cabaret that featured ballroom dancing afterward. From her perch at the bar, Laetitia watched a handsome young man make the rounds of the older women in the crowd. She thought there might be a limerick there, and after she had a brief conversation with the bartender, found there was.

Young Josh had a plan for enhancing
His financial status by dancing
And spreading great joy
As favorite boy toy
Of the dowager ladies of Lansing.

Day 550: Ishpeming Fleming

Laetitia and her group left the Keweenaw Peninsula and drove east to Craig Lake State Park for a hike. Afterward they went kayaking in Sawyer Lake.

At happy hour that afternoon at a local Ishpeming, Michigan drinking establishment, Laetitia sat at the bar and watched a young man move through the crowd, talking to all the women who would listen about his favorite subject, himself. His line was that he was a former CIA operative who had to retire because of a wound received in the line of duty. He was going to be an author writing James-Bond-style thrillers that were thinly veiled accounts of his adventures with the “Company.”

As Laetitia watched and listened, the bartender whispered from behind her, “Dan tries this line on all the ladies that come in here. Some of them buy it for a while, but eventually most of them wise up. He was away from here for several years, but he wasn’t in the CIA. He was waiting tables over in Escanaba. He consistently flunked English when he was in high school, so it’s doubtful he will turn those adventures that he never had into a novel.” Laetitia smiled and thanked the bartender for his warning.

Since the plan of young Dan from Ishpeming
To pen thrillers like Ian Fleming
Of adventures at night
Means that he’ll have to write
‘Tis likely his prospects are dimming.