Back from a whirlwind trip to the land of my childhood...the big mitten known as Michigan. Funny, as we were leaving Vancouver, I said to Jay 'i'm going hoooooome!' and then as we were leaving Detroit, I said to Jay, 'i'm going hooooome!' How many homes can one have? I feel like I've had many.
We arrived after a long flight with a layover in Chicago (movie: Oceans Twelve) and it was dark, about 9:30, and made our way to Nancy & Bill's. Bill greeted us, as everyone else was asleep by the time we got there, and we chatted over cereal as our bellies were pretty empty by that point. Thursday we walked around Central Campus for a bit; looked very different in places, especially Liberty Street; all the shops were re-done and the Michigan Theater marquee restored. Surreal thing about being back there after 6 years or so was that it seemed rather dead, like a ghost town...just a bunch of buildings with some memories, but since the people were gone and the experience of being in the moment of it being home was gone, it was simply a place, where other people are now living the same experiences I had. We had some dang good chili-cheese dogs for lunch, and a nice little moment together eating at a table on Liberty. For so long I had been wanting to share this town with Jay, and it was great finally being able to. Had to visit the cube. That evening we hung out with Nancy, Bill and the boys, ate Chinese food, talked, threw the pig skin awkwardly with Ryan. My insane cousin Trevor entertained us with his toy cars...'and here comes the ambulance and crashes into the orange car...Kablooeeeeeyy! and Legos are falling from the sky!'
I made a brief appearance at Jeff's bachelor party...he called my cel just as i pulled up in front of them while they were walking to their second location, it was bizarre....'where are you?' 'i'm right in front of you!' I'm sure that much synchronicity is overwhelming to someone as tanked as Jeff was that night. Funny how the tables turned...the one night I got piss drunk on my 21st birthday, looking at my feet and commenting how flat they looked, Jeff was the only one not drinking...a sober observant. Now it was my chance to do it. Drunk people are hilarious.
Friday we visited North Campus, saw my Star Wars mural on its exact 10-year anniversary (somebody painted a mustache on Yoda, the bastards.) and had lunch with Mark & Markus. Checked out the art school, which was still producing the same crap they always have. Aside from life drawing, performance art and illustration, and perhaps photography, i'm not sure exactly what all I got out of that place. I certainly would not recommend it as an art school for anyone, unless they were the type of person who goes for mediocre atheistic fluffiness masquerading as purpose. Oh well. That night was the rehearsal and dinner, which was very very very good; totally special. I got to share the story of how Jeff & Marie got engaged on their trip to see us last summer, and how I lost my job as Jeff's damaged relationship counselor. It's all good, as I am so glad that after many years of searching, Jeff has finally found his perfect match, and with faith in Jesus to top it off too! Now I can sleep at night. It's awesome.
Saturday was set aside completely for the wedding, which ran very smoothly and was very beautiful. Got to see Joe and the Johnstown Cats play...dance with Jay, eat more good food, it was a great day. Long day, but lots of fun.
Sunday we got to see Steve and Brandon. Got lots more great toons to take back home with me and show the students, and got to dig through and take some old drawings from the Tonka days. Jay got a special kick out of meeting Steve, since he is one of the people who has really shaped me into the person that I am, in my interests and mannerisms, and overall enthusiasm for sharing animation with people. It was great and so much fun...one of the best days of the week, just talking about films and such, and having a typical random philosophical discussion with Brandon. Twas a rare and special thing. I feel I am just recently starting to develop friendships here in Canada that are on the same frequency as the ones I have back home. It is fascinating to watch them all blossom and grow into different phases and shapes. I hope they will continue to intersect over the years like a tree or a spider-web...a mass array of lives going under and through tunnels of brief experiences like this where we get to catch up on pieces of our journeys. That evening we got to spend more quality time with Nancy & Bill and the boys, which was great.
Some funny differences that Jay & I noticed between here and there...over there, everything is butt cheap, the Twinkies are huge, everyone eats McDonalds, the roads are terrible and getting worse all the time, and every 20 yards is a dead raccoon on the road, each one in a different pose and sometimes missing a different body part. In fact, we made a song about it based on a popular piece of Sesame Street nostalgia: '1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8-9, 10-11-12, and we saw dead raccoons, at the road kill picnic...'
Monday we drove to Grosse Pointe...stopped by the house, got to see Larry, had lunch with Dan at Buddy's Pizza, checked into the hotel, went to Mom's school, and out to Mongolian BBQ for dinner. Came home and watched the SpongeBob Movie with Dan.
Tuesday went to Greenfield Village, dinner at home and a reunion with old friends...Blake, Graham, Meighan & Nickie. Out of all of my friends, most of these souls I had not seen in the longest time. Last time we were in town, Meg & Doug were the only ones we got to see briefly, so this was especially surreal but very special, and a visit I was really looking forward to, as these are friendships that go back the farthest, a history full of drama, danger, excitement, laughter and plenty of funny noises. A few Harshes from Blake were presented that night, but most of the noises were simply those of laughter, healing and fellowship. Unfortunately Doug could not be there to complete the picture, and I didn't get a response from Jamie in time for this event, but I did get to see Doug later that night. He, Blake and I sat on the front porch and talked...I said I felt like the Benickis' should have been across the street providing the sick entertainment. We shared our various film projects and stuff; it was a great time. I'm very proud of all of my friends and what we all have accomplished.
Wednesday we went to the Detroit Zoo and Somerset Mall, dinner at home, and visits from Aunt Carol & cousin Sara, and Blake & Doug again, watched 'the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra' at Dan's strong request. By the end it was so late we had a sadly rushed good-bye with everyone, but one full of fulfillment.
Now after this wonderful dream, it's back to reality...until the next round friends!