Empty / Full


Some days the glass looks empty.  Some days it looks full.  I’m not talking about a glass that has liquid to the half-way line, something you might be expected to see differently depending upon circumstances.  It’s the same damned glass.   Figure that out.

But I’m still here, still muddling forward.   I’ve had a few nibbles on the restaurant, so far all of the “let me pay your rent and use your restaurant” variety.   That does at least mean there’s interest, and therefore progress.  My cousin Micki and I decided yesterday to have a big family garage sale this spring, which will get rid of a bunch of stuff.  I spent the last few days working on a grant that will provide only $3200 if I win it.  Spent more than that to write it.  The only happy interpretation of that idiocy is that at least there won’t be a lot of competition.  Some day I’ll fill you in on the whole thing, but today I don’t have the patience or stomach for it.

So instead I will talk about something else entirely.  I’ve been attempting to save a little house, built by a ship chandler in 1870.  He built schooners.  The house is still standing, and standing in great condition considering, but standing in the wrong place — where our city officials envision a parking lot.  In the middle of our little downtown, less than a block from Round Lake and a block from Lake Michigan.  It’s the 4th-oldest structure in the city.

I sought a preliminary determination of the building’s worthiness as a national historic site from the State History Preservation Office, and obtained a favorable report based on two factors:  architecture (one of the oldest standing examples of a type of building called an I-house, once common in Michigan and on the east coast) and people (the family that built and occupied it until the city purchased it in the early 1990s).

The City decided to raze it and build the parking lot.

Now we have a new twist on things.  A film company is in town, led by a young man who graduated from the local high school.   We have been assured that it is a “Christian” film company, meaning I guess that the “good” guys win in the end and there’s no sex, or at least no sex goes unpunished.  They need a house to burn down for the film — bad guys throw a Molotov cocktail through a window as part of a gang initiation, I think.   The bad guys are from Chicago, naturally, and are recruiting a good local boy, former basketball star / snowmobile enthusiast.

Well, the building is going down anyway, so there’s no reason not to burn it.  There is more dignity in a fire than a wrecking ball, I think.  I do wonder about a fire on the upwind side of the downtown, that close to Lake Michigan.  After all, the town has burned several times, and most of the buildings are still constructed of wood.  The conflagration is scheduled for March 23.    On the plus side, my restaurant is one of only two downtown establishments upwind of the fire.   Stay tuned for further developments.


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