Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yooper am I

Thank goodness for free wifi in the Sawyer "International" airport. I can occupy my time while I await a flight out of Marquette, MI to Detroit, where I change for another puddle-jumper to Saginaw, MI. My flight is supposed to depart from gate 1, which is, incidentally, the only gate.

For those who aren't in the know, Marquette is in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Marquette, a town some 90 miles from the school where I presented today, is currently sitting in the middle of a cloud. The fog is so dense that I couldn't see the building when I parked in the rental car return spot number one of ten, a spot less than 10 yards from the building. There's quite a chance that I won't depart at all, as we await the lifting of the fog in order to have the plane making up this flight to take off from its current gate in Minneapolis. If the skies don't open soon, the plane in Minneapolis becomes irrelevant as I'll miss my connection to Saginaw. Why not drive to Saginaw, JSG? Isn't it in Michigan? Can it be far? How about 350 miles-far. Besides, none of the car rental companies have any availability, and if I keep the car I had it will cost me an extra $400 plus a $1,000 drop fee. Then just leave tomorrow, JSG. Nope, they've cancelled so many outbound flights here recently that the next guaranteed seat for me would be Thursday.

Yep, I was "had" on this one. When the onsite training was proposed as an easy one to pick up before the 3 day seminar run this week, "Check it out, you're going to be in Michigan anyway," I didn't check up on it myself. Technically this Upper Peninsula is part of Michigan, but geographically closer to Northern Minnesota, and it's in another time zone!

The iced over lakes, the white birch trees, the virgin wilderness, it's really beautiful up here. The folks of the UP, Yoopers, as they call themselves, are a spirited group. Secession from the Lower Peninsula has been brought up here more than once. They call the LP folks "trolls" because they live Unda Da Bridge, as in the Three Billygoats Gruff. The Mackinac bridge connects the 2 peninsulas. The influences of Eurpoean immigrants and Canadian brethren prevail throughout their language and culture, eh? Schools close 2 days for "Deer Hunting Day." The teachers today proudly told me that orange hunting vests and flannel make year-round wardrobes complete. Today I ate a pasty (no, it's not Janet Jackson's bra by default), a delicious knish-like walking meal.
It's a good thing I like it up here. I might be staying a while.


Cora Spondence said...

Who was the CT rep who asked you to do this? I can get my Mom's santeria mojo on this. The crops will whither and die on her farm. Her wells will dry up to dust. Pauley Shore will perform Fiddler On the Roof night after night in her living room.

EJG said...

Are you near Calumet, MI? They have a Pasty Fest in early July. If it's like EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival, I say we go.

MJ said...

Will you ever get to Kalamazoo? That's where my teaching partner, KI, is from. I hope ou get out of the fog. Your misfortune is our fortune as we enjoy another gem of your writing.

JSG said...

I made it to Detroit... in time to drive to Saginaw. Arriving at 2:10 AM I was fresh and ready to present my workshop at 8!

Kalamazoo is Friday.