Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A cross for Hollis stands against the pole Hollis impacted at Getty and Apple, or so I suppose. Muskegon, MI near Sam's Drink All.


I have noticed more handmaid crosses along rural roads than I have along city streets. I was walking from Apple and US-31 to the foot of Getty, which dips itself in Mona Lake, the point of the northern border of Hidden Cove Park. I have walked huge distances in Toronto, Chicago and Montreal in all kinds of weather by ducking into businesses for shade, warm or coolness, personal duty and rest. I discovered this way of walking on Yonge Street in Toronto on a cold night, and I kept walking even though it was cold and the subway line tracked along Tinge Street, the route of the Queens Highway that opened Upper Canada and provinces west.

My method worked on Apple Avenue going East and I ducked into one of three auto parts stores. I saw a six year old girl follow her father out of the part store, donning her helmet for the ride. He didn't have a helmet. I ducked into one of two dollar stores, where the staff all reached out to help me. I visited one out of three medical clinics, and the staff of this one eyed me as I read all the grow house signs written to prevent unwarranted searches. I always dress just a little too professional and I am tagged as an undercover cop in head shops and at blind pigs. I must perfect a hipster look, eschewing button downs, crisp trousers and beauty salon haircuts.

Going south on Getty, I found no refuge from the heat and sun. Churches had closed doors, the first the East Muskegon Reformed Church, now the Philadelphian Baptist Church. I passed by the warehouses of Michigan Online Auction, or MIOA, closed for the holiday. I found Sam's Drink All open, across the street from a Mexican grocery that always makes the paper with stories of robberies at gunpoint. I went in to Sam's for Gatoraid and to call a Taxi, after taking a picture of the Cross for Hollis. Port City Cab and most ride-for-hire companies only pick up from residential addresses and open businesses, a fact to remember late into the evening.

Sam's has its employees taking money and selling liquor off the shelves behind a wall of extra thick bullet proof glass. The worst gunfire comes from the side of two or more armed men, flanking fire that can hit more than one aggressor with a single bullet. Sam's has a security post commanding the long sweep of the protected liquor counter. The booze coolers are gated with an wrought iron fence and a camera is trained at the gate. Two beautiful women from Iran, Chaldeans, sold me my drink, one wearing a tee shirt that said, "Ask Me Why", a campaign of Muskegon Catholic Central. Chaldeans are Christians living in Iraq and, now I know, Iran. The Tim Horton's was the only other place I had talked to Chaldean women in Muskegon, and that was one time when a group of married women married to the same family of brothers arrived after midnight to talk into the night. Stealing sleep from the night to talk.

Cabbie 64 arrived to pick me up, a fellow who had played pretty good horseshoes last night as the sun gave up, hanging with friends from the golf league in the biergarten behind the Patio Bar on Airline. It's not tended as a garden, but the house was offering two for one tall beers of Bud Light for the league only, two dollars and two quarters for two. As I drove along with him, I saw that even the Clover Lounge had closed for the holiday and the remainder of Getty had empty store fronts and used car lots, not a single place to escape the direct sun or heat. I would have melted in this urban heat island.

Flashing lights dominated the foot of Getty, the strip of landed tended by the City of Norton Shores, the small paradise called Hidden Cove Park. Cabbie 64 pointed out the middle aged man on his back, on the parking lot gravel, still and already a pale color. He rested by the driver's side door of a royal blue Volkswagon Jetta, left open. The fire truck stood closest, the first to arrive before the two Pro Med ambulances. A woman in a sun dress listened to the questions of the firefighter with her left ear, looking at the ground and running her fingers distractedly through her long wavy hair. She had a good tan. Her passenger side door had been flung wide open. Two police cruisers bearing the markings of the Norton Shores department arrived, followed by a third ambulance from Pro Med. The emergency medical technicians milled about, glancing at the body for vital signs out of the force of training.

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