Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Saturday morning was one of those mornings. You know, the kind where it's physically painful to peel your eyelids open and you keep coming up with seemingly logical reasons why you should continue to hit the snooze button. Until you finally come to and realize that not only are you now late, but those "logical" reasons for sleeping were actually jibberish.
Our best intentions were to arrive at the Georgia Street Community Garden's Easter event an hour early so I could get some quality volunteer work in. Unfortunately, by the time we dragged two equally sleepy and stubborn children out of bed, got them dressed and sunscreened, and drove the hour to Detroit, that hour was long shot.
Luckily we at least arrived in time for the event, which was an egg hunt followed by breakfast and entertainment. Their version of a small child's egg hunt was brilliant - scatter eggs in an open field and let them go at it. Emerson, still sleepy and grumpy, was clearly wondering why the hell we were making him stand in the cold and pick up plastic eggs. After a couple of demonstrations, he dutifully placed two eggs into his basket, declared "all done" and climbed back into Robbie's arms.
The organizers did a great job arranging gift bags for all the kids along with eggs full of candy, so even a handful of eggs was more than enough for him. He protested when we sat him down to inspect his haul, but then I bit into a jelly bean and put it in his mouth. It was like a drug addict getting his first hit.
"Mmmmm." he crooned, pink drool oozing down his chin.
And thus he became an instant fan of Easter.
The best part of the event was meeting the people involved with the Garden, such as the founder Mark "Cub" Covington. He's one of those people who just exudes warmth - the kind of person you can instantly believe in. He rushed around greeting visitors, handling event minutiae and giving interviews to the local press, keeping a smile on his face all the while.
We also met Tammy, a board member and volunteer for the Garden. She told Robbie about their new community center across the street - a vacant storefront that until recently had served as a haven for crack addicts and prostitutes. In fact, as they were cleaning it up for its new purpose, they apparently found one such prostitute inside and had to literally run her off.
We also met countless other volunteers and supporters who only reinforced the kind of energy and creativity that can be found in Detroit. My measly contribution to the event was to stir some pancake batter (and even that I managed to botch by spraying myself and a sleeping Fionn with said batter), but I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty in the garden this summer.
Robbie made several friends when he attempted to teach some boys how to fly a kite. I walked up just as it soared triumphantly into the air...before swan diving into the closest tree. They managed to get the now mangled carcass down and Robbie pulled out his best Macgyver moves, replacing a broken bar with a twig. The boys' commentaries during all this had us rolling with laughter.
When we got home, Robbie started brainstorming ways to get involved with their outreach programs for kids. I hope he does it - his ability to connect with kids is one of the reasons I adore him.
After the event wound down and Emerson was practically comatose, we drove around getting to know the area better. Several minutes passed and it became clear that Emerson was not going to sleep (probably due in large part to the high amount of sugar he consumed), so we stopped by Eastern Market. We've wanted to go to this ever since we moved to Michigan, but our track record for getting up early on Saturdays is less than stellar.
Now I realize the trip is well worth the lost sleep. Even though it was a smaller winter version, tons of shoppers and vendors packed into a giant shed and spilled out into the walkway. You can buy everything there: vegetables, fruits, honey, meats, herbs, lotions - you name it.
More than anything I loved the visual spectacle of it all - a hefty woman wearing the gauzy white bonnet of a Mennonite selling freshly baked pies and breads...young men bellowing out the prices for asparagus and strawberries like carnival barkers...Easter lilies and hydrangeas lined up like soldiers, their heads nodding softly in the breeze.
We got some things for Easter dinner and some apples for Emerson to snack on, but we're looking forward to going back next month for garden supplies and even more local food.
All in all, it was a pretty amazing day. Now if only I can remember that on future weekend mornings so I can ignore the voice in my head that whispers "reach for the snooze."