I sit in an airport in St. Louis (I'm not so sure of it's name- perhaps the St. Louis Airport or something like that). I just spent a week in the state of Michigan. We stayed at the house of my mom's parents- my grandparents- and drove some 1,000 miles in their Ford Focus.
I'll admit that going into the trip, I lacked high expectations. It had been 2 years since I had been to Michigan, so I expected to feel very unfamiliar. Unlike the last time I visited, Arizona, not Michigan, was now my true home.
The vacation started- as most do- with a plane flight. Mostly due to past experiences, I don't enjoy flying. Being in the plane is alright, but the airport process is a painful one. I had the most exciting experience flying back to Phoenix from the Val'd'Or airport in Quebec. It's really quite intriguing to recount, involving a practical joke from my teammates and a thirty minute detainment in customs. I digress.
The flight to Detroit was good if you want to know. I sat next to a 92 year old woman who got off in Chicago, and I heard her life story.
Upon arriving in Detroit, I felt elation. Here was a place where everyone loved the hometown sports team. I felt the compulsion to yell "Go Wings!" or "Go Lions!" when I passed people wearing the corresponding jerseys. That's what I like about Michigan: patriotism.
My family made our stay in Livonia with our grandparents, but a lot of our time was spent in Mt. Clemens. Grandpa Anderson ended up in the hospital the day before we came. He was alright (dogged by Parkinson's), but he wasn't coming home any time soon. We all had expectations of celebrating Christmas with the Anderson extended family on Christmas Eve, as tradition dictates. We would all watch the Lions and eat a lot of food- or so expectations dictated.
As I sat in the hospital room, squished in between 17 of my family members, I thought to heck with tradition. It was some kind of Christmas epiphany. Is Christmas about tradition? Sitting down for a meal? Gift exchanges? Family? I would contend that it isn't about such things, but that's an argument for another time.
Funny enough, we watched the Lions crush San Diego 38-10 and claim a playoff spot. Was it real? Had the nightmare I had seen all my conscious life finally ended? Could it really be? Certainly that was unexpected.
I am wearing a Detroit Lions long sleeve shirt. Go ahead- laugh at me. Laugh at me now. Mock me for my jealous patriotism. There's one thing you have to admit though; I never stopped believing. Sure, I stopped trusting the Lions, but I never gave up hope. And this time, they made me feel happy. Pick your Patriots. Pick your Steelers. Pick the teams that seemed attractive to you, but the truth of the matter is that their success will never feel as good as that of your hometown team.
I'm sorry; I got on a rant.
Ironically, the trip ended with helping Grandpa Anderson back into his home and saying goodbye. Things felt a tiny bit restored.
We spent time with both sets of Grandparents. We saw church friends. We saw school friends. We even saw Zack. We had some good times, even though they weren't what we expected. That was the trip though- unexpected.