Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Haunting Past

It's been about eight years since I was met with a gun to my head as I was leaving through the delivery door of the pizza shop where I worked. It took over a year before I could even go outside at night or even go near a window where I'd see reflections and get spooked.

Remembering that night brings back a flood of emotions. I remember walking out the door like I had done hundreds of times. I didn't even realize what I was seeing at first. Then when it registered, my initial thought was that it was another employee messing around. But that changed when the gun was pressed against my chest and the barking demands came flying at me from the assailant. The gun was tapped on my chest harder and harder until I was being pushed across the room in the direction of the cash register. With the gun held firmly against my right temple the other employee fumbled to open the register. Unsuccessful at opening the drawer, I had to lean in and press the no-sale button to free the cash from the locked drawer. Doing this only caused the gun-man to jump and hit me over the head with the gun.

After he got what he wanted, he turned and left out the same door from which he entered. At which point I dialed 911 and informed the dispatch officer of what had just transpired. She almost didn't believe me because I was so calm on the phone. It was later, when I got home, that I fell apart.

Since that night, I've been very careful when exiting a building in the dark. Having worked the midnight shift at a drug store for 5 years certainly helped to get over my fear of darkness and reflections. But one thing that I haven't been able to get past is the sight of a gun. And when one is shown on television, especially pointed at the camera, I curl up and hide my eyes until it is gone. Another thing I haven't been able to get past is when someone sneaks up on me. It does something to me that I can't even explain.

Last night, I took a group of women to a concert at a well known outdoor music theater here in Michigan in the limousine. It was a good night for all involved. Everyone had a good time. Being a private limo, I was parked in an exclusive area. A well known television star was parked next to me and his driver and I hung out talking for most of the concert. We even walked over to the tour buses and talked with the drivers for the performers for the night. The ladies had a great time in the concert and hung out afterward at a dance party for VIPs.

The ride home was long. About an hour and a half. The women were all tired by the time we reached our destination. After making sure they all made it safely to their cars and proceeded home, I took the limousine back to the garage. Entry to the garage is through an alley and it's not exactly in the best of neighborhoods. So after pulling my car out, putting the limo into the garage, I closed the overhead door, shut off the lights and peered out the windows to ensure that I was alone at 2:30am. I exited the building and walked the 6 steps to my car. As I was sitting down, I noticed a man rounding the corner at a pretty good pace. I quickly closed the door and fumbled for the lock button. Because I drive multiple vehicles, I could not find the button in a panic. So I pushed the start button and put the car in drive. By this time he was right next to me. As the car engaged, the locks clicked. I looked over at the man who raised his hand to reveal the shopping bag that he was carrying and waved a friendly hello with a smile.

My heart was racing, my brow was soaked with sweat and I could barely control my hands as I nervously pulled out of the alley going the wrong way on a one way street. I was tired, stressed, hungry and couldn't bring myself to stop at a drive through to get something to eat. I just wanted to get home. It was the longest half hour of my life. As I drove through the countryside, I tried to convince myself to calm down. But the threat of deer jumping out in front of me haunted my thoughts. Why did it take so long to drive home?

I parked my car in the driveway of my quiet home. I walked up the steps to the door where my husband had left the light on for me. My faithful dog Pugsley sauntered down the hall to welcome me home with a look of "Where have you been!?" on his face. Everything was OK. All was right with the world once again.

I was never in any danger on this night. It was a night long ago that haunted me and caused me to panic. That one night, so long ago brought fear and distress to my life on a beautiful night that should be remembered for the good times that were had. It's difficult to move past these things sometimes. I know I should not worry. I know that the past is gone. I know that today is what I make of it. Still, it haunts me. It haunts me.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dinner on the Raft

Or at the Raft, I should say.
I've been driving past The Raft for more than 25 years. Most would say "It's the best burger around" and others say "That's the worst burger around".

It was another amazing day here in Michigan and I was done with work. Since I no longer have to rush over to take care of Dad, I find myself looking for things to do after work.

I decided that I was going to try a Raftburger.

The restaurant/bar is not actually on a raft but it does sit on a swampy piece of land called St.John's Marsh.

The marsh is a beautiful place to observe wild life that includes cranes, swans, geese and more frogs than you could ever imagine. Unlike Florida, we don't have to worry about gators. Only the occasional snapping turtle. You could take a canoe and get lost in all the tall weeds for days.

But this day was all about the burgers at The Raft. Turns out, they were delicious! I will certainly be back. The sunset was amazing, the service was outstanding. They have a large outdoor area for games and entertainment. And an extensive drink menu with lots of beer on tap.

If you find yourself in the marsh and don't know what to do. Stop in at The Raft. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Colored Folk

Yes, you read that title right. No, it's not what you're thinking.
We got up early Saturday morning and headed out. We drove past Detroit to where the Detroit River empties into Lake Erie. We watched the sun come up over the Lake. 
It was absolutely, a beautiful start to a fun filled day.

When we arrived at the park, we were distributed a white T-shirt and a pair of sun glasses.

We were also given a number to pin to our backs.

We strapped on our running shoes.

Yes folks! We are running a 5k today!

Labeled Color Vibe, it is one of the most fun ways to spend an afternoon.

We gathered with a few hundred of our closest friends that we had never met before at the starting line.

The tranquil setting was about to change.

Some got an early start throwing packets of powdered color at each other.

Then, as the sun started to warm the air, the race was on.
Leaf blowers with an intake in a big box of color made sure we got off to a colorful start.

We ran and ran. All the while people were throwing color at each other.

Ed bleached his hair for the occasion so the color would show up better.

After completing each kilometer, there was a color station where we'd be doused in a new color. 
Just in case we were not colorful enough.

After the race was over, we were feeling great and looking even better.

That's when the dance party started. 

Every 10 minutes or so, they would pass out another color to the crowd and on the count of 3, everyone would toss the color into the air.

Fun was all around.

We felt like little children.

The color just kept coming.

And coming!

And still more color!

The air was thick with colored corn starch.

If a color run comes to your area, I'd recommend it highly.

Even if you walk the entire thing, you can't help but to have fun.

Get out there! Show your true colors!
And have some fun!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Historic Sydney

I couldn't leave you wondering any longer.
When we departed Halifax on the good ship Glory, our next morning found us in Sydney.
Sydney, Nova Scotia that is.

After finishing my breakfast burrito on board the ship, we headed out to discover the rich history that Cape Breton has to offer. Nova Scotia has strong ties to the southern parts of the United States, so I was feeling quite at home here.
I am certain there was a lot more to this quaint village 
than what we saw during our quick visit. 
But what we did see would make just about anyone fall in love.

We visited old churches.

We visited old grave yards.

A period dressed guide walked us 
around this historic get-a-way.

Animated characters welcomed us everywhere we went.

Beautifully maintained homes from 200 years ago awaited our visit.

We stopped in for a drink and some local music at  a local pub.

Ed always has to experience the local flavors

Cape Breton is known for it's contribution to the music industry. We found these ladies at the Governor's Pub across from the docks.

The fiddle is what the area is most known for.
We were delighted to bring home some
 young local talent in the form of a couple of CD's.

We also found this 50 foot fiddle at the welcome center, next to where we docked.

They  say you can actually play this fiddle if you can pick up the bow.
My mother used to play the violin when I was just a child.
Do you know the difference between a fiddle and a violin?