Race Weekend & a great birthday…

images.pngA week ago today, I celebrated another birthday. And it happened to fall on our NASCAR “race weekend” at our cottage in Michigan.

This annual event begins on Thursday, with the arrival of my sister and her husband from Ohio, followed on Friday by my son and one grandson, accompanied by a couple of other friends. Every June, we all make a pilgrimage two-and-a-half hours over to Brooklyn, Michigan, for the Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.

Before that, though, there’s plenty of fun in the lake and a traditional pontoon “Sinatra cruise,” on late Saturday afternoon. (I had to fend off the many requests by my little grandson to change the music. He’ll learn.)

In years past, we’ve had good weather, lousy weather, and in-between weather. This year’s was probably the best ever. Pleasant temperatures during the day and comfortably cool ones at night were more than we could have expected.

And then there is always the concern about what the weather will be like for the day of the race on Sunday. Again, we’ve run the gamut from unbearably hot conditions to miserable rain, more rain, and still more rain in years past.

Not this year. It couldn’t have been any better from the time we pulled away from the cottage at 5:30 a.m. until we returned about nine that evening. Our pre-race tailgating was outstanding, and the race itself was one of the best. Afterwards, we all enjoyed the pulled pork our son had smoked on charcoal and hickory chunks all day on Saturday at the cottage.

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Our son, Josh, getting ready to get the pork butt on the charcoal 

When it was time to break down the canopy and flagpoles, put away the tables and chairs and load up the F-150s for the trip back to the cottage, we all were in agreement that it had been a terrific day at Michigan International Speedway. And it had been a most wonderful way to celebrate my birthday!

Summer reading & “Race Weekend” on the horizon…

So far in the two weeks that I’ve been up here at my summer place of exile, in the land of southwest Michigan, I’ve read a number of fun and interesting pieces of writing. And though I should be devoting more time at this point to doing my own writing and working on my next project, I have found the reading life much more beneficial at this point. I know, as in summers past, I’ll get the writing juices flowing about this time next week. And there’s a good reason for this. But first, my thoughts about what I’ve managed to read up here on the shores of Magician Lake.

Philip Caputo
Philip Caputo (Photo credit: Airstream Life)

I began my summer reading with Philip Caputo’s delightful book The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean. It’s an easy and pleasurable read, mainly because I love stories of folks who have “hit the road,” and it is one that makes one wish to pack up and join up with Caputo and his wife and their two English setters as they roll along, mile after mile, in their pickup truck with a vintage Airstream in tow.

Of course there is much more than a simple reporting of the various places they pass through. More important, there are the people whose lives, for one reason or another, are forged in the towns—dying or thriving—where they live in today’s America. It’s this very thing that is the force behind Caputo’s purpose of making the long trip in the first place. As he travels along, the question, what holds us all together, surfaces at every turn, in a light and humorous voice every mile of the trip. It’s a wonderful read!

My other is A Study in Sherlock, a collection of short stories based on the Sherlock Holmes Canon, and I found each story therein to be well written and equally as fun to read as Caputo’s book.

Being a longtime Holmes fan, I enjoyed the offerings of featured writers such as Lee Child, Jerry

English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. W...
English: Sherlock Holmes (r) and Dr. John B. Watson. Illustration by Sidney Paget from the Sherlock Holmes story The Greek Interpreter.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Margolin, S.J. Rozan, and Dana Stabenow, to name a few whose work makes up the contents of the book. I was familiar with Lee Child from his Jack Reacher books, but most of the others were new to me. I must say, that their stories in this collection have whetted my appetite to read more by each of them. I suppose that’s how we increase our reading wealth.

Now, as for my own writing efforts to finally get kickstarted next week is simple: Our cottage is busy with our two grandkids for a few days, followed by our annual NASCAR “Race Weekend”  beginning this coming Thursday.

For many years, several relatives and friends gather here for a multi-day party leading up to our trek over to Michigan International Speedway very early Sunday morning for the race. We’ll return that night and everyone will filter out for their homes in Illinois, Ohio, and various other points on the map on Monday. After a brief recovery period, I’ll be ready to get my writing routine in full gear when it will be just me during the weekdays.

And so this will probably be the last post until that time. I’m sure I’ll have some cogent points to make about “Race Weekend,” so come on back next week. It’s sure to be worth the effort. Until then…CortlandWriter

The grandstands for Michigan International Spe...
The grandstands for Michigan International Speedway in Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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