Monday, July 9, 2012

Two men in Amish attire bought Indian Trails tickets in St. Ignace station for Howard City, Michigan.

The two men in Amish attire arrived at the St. Ignace transportation center with a man in overalls, the kind worn by railroad workers. The worker waved at them, "All set?" and the two men waved back. I was sitting on a nearby bench, so heard them order a round trip ticket to Howard City, for two adults. Holly, the station agent, declared a price. The older man

Holly the ticket clerk quoted one price. The older man repeated the price quietly. Holly checked her numbers and gave a price thirty dollars lower. "That sounds right," he replied. I didn't notice if he paid in cash, but I didn't hear a credit card machine whirl and click.

As we pulled onto I-75 South to cross the Big Mac bridge, I saw an elderly man dressed in Amish attire sitting on the speed rail of the I-75 North bound ramp, not thumbing but obviously looking for a ride. I am wondering if the Upper Peninsula operates under an unofficial ride-share program that looks like hitching a ride.

When we stopped at Boyne Falls to switch buses, I wanted to snap a picture of the new bus. The older one was standing close to the side, waiting to board. I explained to him, "I would like to take a picture of the bus, but I wouldn't want to capture your likeness". He walked over to me, looked me in the eye from two foot away, and said, "Yes, I will step out of your picture". I had a few seconds to snap the photograph before another man stepped into the frame to load his suitcase into an open bin.

The two sat in seats on opposite sides of the aisle, front of the bus where the upcoming road appeared in the big font windows. The bus wasn't crowded, so everyone could stretch out over two seats. I noticed one of the men ordered a bag of McDonald's food, and a McDonald's coffee.

Signs of Amish habitation became clear once we traveled just south of Stanton, a town that supplies water to Ice Mountain, or so I have heard. I saw a cut field of wheat, but the straw was bundles into sheaves bound with twine. Four sheaves were arranged in a lean-to. The fifth was laid on top, and the effect looked like a whirling straw ghost, a field of them.

I also noted a man in his attire and his signature straw hat swinging on a porch swing of a well appointed farmhouse on a spread that shouted cultivation and abundance. Next house, I saw good linen billowing on a clothes line. I saw a yellow caution sign with the horse and wagon silhouette. I saw signs advertising fresh honey and brown eggs for sale.

At Howard City, the men departed the bus. I looked to see what might be waiting to pick them up. Maybe a buggy. I saw only one, the younger. He disposed of his McDonald's coffee cup in the bus shelter trash can and kept an empty green Sprite bottle, ten cents deposit, in his left hand. When he reached Federal Road, he sprinted across the two lanes and up towards the door of the British Petroleum station.

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