Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wilbo Takes An Early Morning Greyhound into Grand Rapids with A Young Man Who Has Paid His Debt to Society

A man purchased a greyhound ticket, one way to Jackson. He has perfect khakis cuffed at the bottom, a fresh down coat and a pair of expensive sunglasses. He reminds me of Eminem. He has made his companion laugh several times, a Michigan Department of Corrections guard in a grey tactical uniform. The guard has sealed all his companion's parcels with packing tape. "I'm sitting up by the bus driver on my short hop into Grand Rapids to pick up a new ride", I thought to myself.

Neither guard or companion has any hair to pull. The guard had no visible weapon and wasn't buying a ticket. The young man had people waiting for him in Jackson to welcome him home after a year in Brooks State Penitentiary?

John Dillinger had a knack for putting guards and even wardens at ease. He was an affable man who once was released from prison at the plea of a church congregation. He was returned to his hometown and his wife and had commited another robbery before the congregation welcomed him home. These are my memory of the facts as we roll by the garish lights of the first Coopersville exit, with a Speedway, BP, Shell, Taco Bell, McDonald's and Burger King. This petrochemical plaza bears no resemblance to the quaint downtown, home to a museum celebrating farming and a society that rebuilds and operates old locomotives. 

My bus driver is a woman who swam laps last night in a pool, probably at the hotel out near Mona Lake. That's where I often see the Greyhound overnight, left running overnight during the winter to keep the diesel liquid in the fuel tanks. Sometimes I see the Greyhound "Dark Knight" parked outside the Victory Inn in Roosevelt Park, near the Subway Sandwich shop, off Henry. I doubt that where my driver passed the night. She's tough enough for the wheel; however she's hardly afraid to pamper herself. Usually the Greyhound drivers are a touch gruff, proud of their role transporting America's uniformed elite. I had coffee with this driver as she had a little smoke outside her bus. She was keeping an eye on the passengers, making sure everyone was aboard when she rolled along.

The painted fish belongs to the collection of the Muskegon Area Arts Council. Sculpted and painted by Arthur Fogg, it will be on sale during the Retro Expo downtown Muskegon, heated tents on Western. Look for this return of the successful market around Thanksgiving weekend.

Will Juntunen

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