City versus Country- I will take the latter every time

May 25, 2012

City versus Country- I will take the latter every time

I’ve gotten a lot of flak for the anti-morel hunting piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago. You know the one that basically said this city boy doesn’t understand how people can get so excited, trudging through woods and swampy land to find fungus. And then they are so proud when they do luckily run across one or two they gotta post pictures all over Facebook, bragging about their accomplishment.

Don’t get me wrong- I love living in Clare County- I just have a hard time adjusting to some of the customs.

The other day my wife and I were driving through Lake Station to check out an item that was for sale. Lo and behold, on one of the main streets, there was a cow tied to the front door of a small house. This wasn’t a calf, but a full grown cow. The next day when we came to buy the item, the cow was still there- roaming the front yard.

Can you imagine seeing this in the City? I thought cows were only allowed on farms. I had to drive by twice to believe what I was seeing. Granted, Lake Station, is not a City, but it is an area with stores and small lots that has homes close to each other. How in the world is a cow allowed to live there? Then I remembered, this is up north- not the City.

That very same day we were following a pick-up truck on E. Ludington or 5th Street or 10 or 115, whatever you want to call it (I’ve never seen a two-lane highway have so many names), when the dudes tailgate fell off his truck. I’m not making this up. It just up and fell on the road in front of us.

The driver parks his truck on the side of the road and gets out to retrieve his tailgate.  Then we see him trying to duct tape the tailgate back on.  I think to myself, only in northern Michigan, would someone lose their tailgate while driving down the road.

Back to the cow.  Although some could argue there are more cows than any other animal here, my vote would be for the pit bull. It seems to me, it is by far, the favorite breed of dog here. Whether one lives in a tiny trailer or a big house, whether they have no kids or eight, their trusty pit bull (and I’m not talking about the hip-hopper) or pit bulls co-exist with their families.

In the City this is a very unlikely scenario. Many towns have outlawed pit bulls, because they have been known to maul and mame children, or adults for that matter. When I worked in Detroit, there was a substantial debate taking place as to whether pit bulls should be banned.  But not here- we admire their ferocity and believe if they are taught to be gentle, their fighting tendencies will vanish.

My son reminded be of the time, only about 5 years ago, that a pit bull running loose in front of my office in Hamtramck, scared the bejeebers out of me. I was simply minding my own business walking to my car, when this dog started chasing me. Lo and behold, I was so nervous I dropped my keys down a manhole cover.

The dog soon left, but I had a dilemma. How was I going to retrieve my keys? The manhole was 10 feet deep- the last two feet filled with water or sewage, or whatever is at the bottom of these godforsaken city holes.

I lifted the manhole cover off. Mind you, this is in broad daylight. Cars were whizzing by. People walking the streets looked at me like I was crazy. I started to climb down the hole, but then thought better. For one thing, the climb would have been long. And for another I didn’t know what kind of crap, literally, was at the bottom.

I went back to my office and pondered. I had to have those keys- they were keys for my vehicle, my house, my office, etc. Finally, it clicked. I marched down to the local hardware store, and bought the biggest magnet I could find. I attached the magnet to a 12-foot rope.

I rushed back, opened the manhole cover, got down on my belly, leaned in to the ugly, stinky hole and slowly let the rope down. It was like fishing for carp ( oops I mean pike) in Budd Lake. I couldn’t see the bottom- the keys were in two feet of water. After about 15 minutes, and several tries, the magnet found the keys, and I was finally a happy camper.

Maybe that’s why I can’t stand pit bulls. And maybe that’s one of the reasons I like living here versus in a City filled with manholes. I may lose my keys, but it’s not going to be in a city sewer.

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