Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Indiana Dispatch - June Fourth To June Fifteenth"

Have you ever for some reason arrived at a party early to discover the host answering the door dressed in his party clothes but not yet his socks?

That, in a nutshell, delineates this visit.

The “Michiana Season” runs approximately from the Fourth of July until Labor Day.  Owing to a scheduled Psychologists’ Conference in (nearby) Chicago, we decided to visit our small but enchanting log cabin on Chickadee Trail a month before the Cottage Country’s scheduled “Starting Time”, only to discover…

That it was not quite ready. 

Signaling our premature arrival was our first-night dinner at Casey’s Bar and Grill in nearby New Buffalo Michigan.

(To repeat for our more recent readers, our cabin located in state of Indiana which runs on Central Time, is across the street from the state of Michigan which is on Eastern Time.  The yellow line down the middle of Michiana Drive marks our mini- “International Dateline”, requiring us to insure which state our activities are scheduled to take place in, because “On time” in Indiana means “An hour late” – meaning they gave away your table or you missed half the movie – in Michigan.)

Here is an indicator that the summer “High Season” has not yet begun.  A neatly attired and ultra-fit-looking College-Man-between-semesters steps up to our table at Casey’s and says, “Hi, I’m Derek.  I’ll be taking care of you this evening.  (POINTING NEXT TO HIM)  This is Melissa.  She’s training me.”

This would not be the last time our meals would be delivered by an apprentice.  For the majority of the trip, our dining experiences would involve restaurants, using a theatrical analogy, still unmistakably “in rehearsals.”  It was actually Derek’s first day on the job.  One could only hope that the people in the kitchen were somewhat heavier in experience.

Nothing quite felt “Prime Time.”  The surrounding area was virtually empty of traffic.  (Which was good, because after Dr. M left for her conference, I was driving myself around, and during the “High Season”, it would easily have taken me twenty minutes to make a left turn onto Highway 12.  “Pre-season”, it only took five.)

One block from our cabin – and we could hear the whistle blasting every time a train passed a crossing – spanking new railroad ties lay stacked alongside the tracks, waiting to replace the decaying old railroad ties.  But not yet.  It was still only June.

“Why show off our best railroad ties before ‘The Season’?” the train line’s attitude seemed to be.

“Spring Training”, is what it felt like we were at.  Nothing was entirely up to speed.  Including the weather.  Like a hitter searching for some consistency it was like – unseasonably cold day (swing and a miss), sun peeking occasionally through the clouds day (foul tip), relatively decent day (single up the middle), spectacular summer day (towering home run), followed immediately by day-long drizzles (weak pop-up to the shortstop.) 

If our Michiana visit had been assessed a meteorological batting average, it would at that point not have been elevated to the Majors.  As it would be come July.

This last part may not fit, but I want to get it out so I don’t have to think about it anymore.

Driving back to the cabin after breakfasting at Michigan Thyme (a play on words; get it?) where I was the only customer, I passed a dead deer lying crumpled by the side of the road.  I am not a hunter.  The sighting was a breath-taking punch to the gut.

When I returned to the cabin, I did something entirely uncharacteristic.  I actually did something.

Checking the Internet for “Animal Control” (our cabin has wifi but not television), I discovered that the site I had found was dedicated to local exterminators.  I then scrolled down to a listing for “The Humane Society” and I called them to see if they could help.  As it turned out, the “Michigan City Humane Society” dealt specifically with animal adoptions, but they knew whom to call and they assured me they would inform them about the deer. 

The next time I drove by, a blinking glance reflected that it was gone, triggering a sense of palpable relief.  It felt good knowing I’d had something to do with that. 

Two days later, however, it was back.  It was unclear to me what had happened.  Had the day before merely been an example of “wishful blinking”?  Or had a second deer met its fate at the exact same spot, looking up as it was stepping off the road, wondering “What’s that?”, and then immediately finding out. 

Two days later, however, the deceased animal was gone for good.  Perhaps it was a matter of “Animal Disposal” itself being in “Pre-season Mode” requiring them four days from my original call to come out and remove the carcass. 

Perhaps, concerning their “Crossing the road” abilities, the deer too were in “Pre-season Mode.”  Hopefully, their vehicle-avoidance abilities would be sharpened by the time the “Busy Season” arrived.  Otherwise, we were looking at a bloodbath.

In fact, things did seem to improve noticeably after that.  During our eleven-day visit, we spotted a total of seven deer – six vertical, only one horizontal.  Though the effect of that misfortune made us hyper-vigilant about our driving.

Nobody wants dead deer juice on their bumper if they can help it.
Sorry about yesterday.  I don't know what happened.  But what's special about that?  I am entirely in the dark about this entire procedure.  If it will help, read this yesterday.  If at all possible..

No comments: