Of all the campfires in all the towns in northern Michigan, she walks up to mine.
My brother introduces her as Bailey, a friend of Jeff’s. My wife, my sister, and sister in law were immediately taken with her as she brought them five pounds of fresh kielbasa. They had been doing the cooking all week and welcomed the potential of having another chef.
She proceeded to tell me she lives in Highland Park near the Ford Plant. Her house formerly owned by a Ford department head, is undergoing restoration. My son and I told her we’ve walked the plant and immediately caught her attention. When I asked her what Clint Eastwood was really like, she told me to ask her mother since he bought her breakfast and gave her his autograph at a local diner. I never realized how many Ford homes still exist around Highland Park but she assured me they’re now being purchased and restored by many much like the ones in Dearborn were.
I was treated to a lengthy discussion of why Henry Ford picked Highland Park and was also told of the geography that allowed it to be an isolated city in the center of Detroit, its former owner Augustus Woodward. Later I found out the donation of Palmer Park to the city of Detroit allowed its citizens to use tax money for sewers to drain the park land as well as the swamp land between Detroit and Highland Park. She left me with a book about Ford’s Crystal Palace and I’m enjoying it.
As the evening progressed, we played “do you know?” and she correctly identified Steve, Jerry, Beth and several others. It turns out she’s known in the Piquette plant and the Detroit Historical Museum and is a regular researcher at the Burton Historical collection.
Right about then, my brother chimed in and asked if she’s aware there’s a Model T parked some fifty feet behind her. So the next day she was treated to tours of a couple other cars I own and given a Model T ride on my prescribed course. Early in the week, my son and I mapped out a course that included the local highway along with numerous dirt roads and unimproved trails. Jeff declined so Bailey took the front seat next to me and asked about Onaway wheel, the shifter, the pedals, the speedometer, and the Ford options on the car. We climbed a sand hill in low Ruckstell and started back home. It was on the second lap I took the leap of faith by placing the car in low Ruckstell and half brake and told her to take the wheel. Within a quarter of a mile, all the safeties were disengaged and she was driving in high gear having a great time. She negotiated the woods and parked it next to my garage.
It turns out that her boyfriend Jeff has restored Fords but has nothing that old. Instead of hearing AWESOME! over and over as I do from other youngsters, I was treated to eloquent discussions and intelligent questions and was even addressed as Sir by the couple.
Photos? She took many and I have none because my cell phone told me early on that I had no signal so I didn’t bother to carry it.
All in all a good vacation.
I live in Highland Park .... Rochester, New York. :-).
What a joy to meet someone like that!