Friday, August 26, 2016


May 11, 2016.  The rough weave of Flint’s north side.  I’ve been here enough to recognize subtle variations in the fabric, some streets returning to wilderness, others vibrant and coursing with life.  Almost every home on this block of small brick ranches and vinyl sided bungalows, are spic and span in aspect, standing ready for inspection.  Lawns are manicured, landscaping intentional, accentuating facades with form and color, exteriors maintained to a fair thee well.  We deliver water to an older gentlemen, a G.M. retiree who says he’s lived here for nearly fifty years.  He’s taking a break from mowing.  I make my standard joke comparing his immaculate lawn favorably over my own dun-colored cow pasture.  He foregoes the pretense of humoring me, gestures broadly, sweeping hand encompassing the totality of lawns, shrubbery, and well maintained front doors and awnings.  Folks keep their yard up, he says.  His unspoken message is, Behold sir, a spectacle of collective pride; our backs to the sea, it is here we make our final stand.  A taciturn man, he’s seated, legs crossed at the knee on a webbed patio chair smoking a cigarette.  He reminds me of my late father, another man for whom I sometimes make up words, invent soliloquies for him to deliver center stage to an audience of one.     

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