I don’t blink. At least not in public…
With a fixed gaze I looked on at the crowd gathered to celebrate the Fourth. The Petoskey Steel Drum Band was playing some catchy tunes. The jovial bunch of high school kids were with a dozen percussion drums on top of an open red bus. Hundreds of people cheered around them. It was good to see so many people around after a long hiatus.
From where I stand I can see the small but beautiful Little Traverse Bay, off Lake Michigan. The historic city of Harbor Springs is on the other side of the bay. Beautiful scenery here - full of trees and lots of parkland on the waterfront. Vacation communities enjoy boating, sailing, and swimming during summer. There are many beaches, although some are rocky.
Behind me is the City Park Grill. It is housed in one of Petoskey’s oldest buildings. When it was first constructed in 1875, it was a males-only billiard parlor that offered cigars and drinks. Its popularity seems to have not changed much. The restaurant is still overbooked. They say I used to come here frequently in the hey days.
Apparently, I used to sit at the second seat from the end of the 32-foot mahogany bar and wrote the stories that made me famous. Some critics who read my stories keep saying they are childish. Oh well. They don’t get it. I didn’t want to write about everything you see. Leave some for the imagination. Remember the iceberg theory…
It was a different time. Just after World War I. I have seen some nasty bar fights, where opponents go at each other like animals. Gouging out eyes. Don’t believe me?! Just read one of my stories. You know, they still teach my stories at school. They say my books shall never go out of print. Still don’t believe me?! Well check out Netflix or Prime…you will find a dozen movies inspired by my stories!
I see so many tourists come to me and take selfies. What is with these people…why this relentless drive to grin in front of the camera and post pictures on social media. Why can’t they just chill and take in the fresh air…enjoy the music. Why do they have to keep looking at their phones?
We were never so distracted. You see we didn’t have phones to be obsessed with taking selfies. We didn’t have much then. But we were doers. Strivers. Fighters.
An eastern towhee just flew from somewhere and sat on my head. I keep getting blessings all year round. This Michigan bird is known for its characteristic call which sounds like “drink-your-tea”. It is about 7-8 inches long. Red brown on the sides and a white belly. Long brown tail with a white tip. Short pointed bill. Red eyes. I can tell this one is a female, because the males are black in color, not brown.
“Where are you off to, Mr. Hemingway?” the towhee chirped.
I tipped my hat and said – You caught me at a busy time bird, I’m about to depart for a new job in Toronto.
Oh well. That’s what Ernie would have said anyway. I’m just his statue.