Sunday, March 18, 2012

Champs Pub in downtown Middleville Michigan commands an awesome view of a millpond on the Thornapple River


The bartender is a woman who lives in a house divided: her fiance supports Michigan and she roots for Michigan State. So she cannot take too much pleasure in Michigan's first round elimination at the hands of Ohio. She's celebrating by wearing a green and white MSU hoodie unzipped to show her pink MSU tee shirt, much laundered. Her white tennis shorts and her bold use of blue eyeshadow and her gravely whisky voice might cause the men to gaze a little too long at her. With millions of bartenders nationwide, she has a Sharpy on the table by the brackets, the official bar brackets, which she completes as she has a moment from her two tables of customers, married couples ordering burgers and miniature pitchers of Bud and Miller, Miller and Bud. Carrie at the Lakeside Tavern in Muskegon updates her brackets by asking her customers for results. Our MSU loving bt in Middleville looks up the victories on her IPhone.

The millpond has a community of swans that wintered in the open water; six turkey vultures roosted in a tall tree rooted at the base of a cliff scanned the waters for opportunities, although I wonder if this raptor gathers nourishment from the waters. I thought the turkey vulture dined exclusively on road kill. The Catholic Church stands on top of that cliff, and the crown still towers over the rectory, where the turkey vultures seem to lurk over a backyard statue of Holy Mary, Mother of God. The rear deck of Champs has a great view of that millpond and the Thornapple River. Customers from as far away as Irving can walk here along the east bank of the river, a Rails the Trails pathway bringing new life to this Cool City, a Michigan initiative that has legs even now.

On a sad note, it is a bad sign for the maple syrup industry that red buds appear on the trees out back
When the leaves pop, the sap sours. I am betting this is early. A truck driver who knows the orchardists reported to me that the apples, peaches and cherries are three weeks advanced of normal development. A March plunge in temperature could spoil the fruit harvest. I am happy to see the leaves about to pop, but I was willing to wait.

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