I probably took for granted all the things about Michigan I love so much now, but never appreciated when I was growing up. Things like:
- Lakes. Lots and lots of lakes. My family always had a boat, so our summers were spent on the Great Lakes. There are quirky little ports all up and down the coast that shaped my fondest memories of youth. And then there are the inland lakes. My sister now lives on one and I spent my brief time there last week enjoying it. Lakes in Florida frighten me. There are things in the water that kill. It took a while to assure myself that wouldn't happen up north, but I soon relaxed. If I lived on a lake up north I don't think I would own pants.
- Daylight. It lasts a long time. Because Michigan lies at the western edge of the eastern time zone, the sun doesn't set until close to 10 P.M. That offers an awful lot of daylight for those fun, relaxing, stimulating, whatever kinds of things you might do.
- Cool weather. I heard people complaining how hot it was while I was up there, but it seemed like heaven. I live in the land of 90 plus degrees and gobs of humidity. Walking to the mailbox takes a toll. Not so much up north. Sure, there are stretches of oppressive heat. But that's what the lake is for. And sleeping with the windows open? A rare treat.
- Food. Admittedly, there is food virtually everywhere. There are however, certain things you can't get in certain places and you don't realize you miss them until you can't have them anymore. One such food is Sander's Bumpy Cake. To the untrained tongue, this may seem like nothing more than plain chocolate cake with a fudge frosting infused with, well, bumps, of vanilla butter cream. Oh, you would be so wrong. I can not set it up. Just get thyself to Michigan and have a slice. Other delightful regional fare includes Coney Island hot dogs, Big Boy hamburgers, Faygo Redpop, Better Made potato chips, and on and on and on...
- Familiarity. Knowing your way around offers more than a feeling of security. It offers a sense of belonging. I've lived in Florida ten years and am really only familiar with the places I frequent. Not so up north. I didn't learn my way around. I lived my way around. I miss it.