Saturday, May 7, 2011

One of the many reasons I love this town, Vassar, MI

   It's not a big place, this town on the Cass River in Michigan's thumb. There's a hill, a big one, and you either live on the hill, on top of the hill, or down the hill. We have an elementary school, a junior high school, and a high school. There are quite a few churches, as there are in most small towns. I don't know how many churches there are per one hundred people, but I'd wager the ratio is higher than it is in big cities.
  This is the first small town I've lived in, other than Eureka, Illinois. I was a college student in Eureka, and I don't think that's quite the same as being a resident of the town.
   I love Vassar. There are some pretty cool things that happen here that I don't think you see often in town of this size.
   Today... I think this is cool... Today is the city-wide garage sale. Anyone with stuff they don't want or need anymore can put on a garage sale. The streets are crowded with vehicles. Folks are sitting in their lawns watching other folks pour over stuff on card tables, buying stuff. There's a state highway that runs through town, and this garage sale day (not sure when it began, but it's been a while) has spread up and down the length of that highway. I take that as a sign of a spreading good idea.
  I have no intention of going out to buy anything. We have plenty of stuff in this house. Too much of some stuff, and plenty of other stuff. We don't need any more stuff. I might take a meander in a little while. I like to see the people. Some of the churches sell food during this time. A hot dog sounds good, and I'm sure there are baked goods I could pick up.
   We do (notice I said 'we'? Yes, I'm a proud Vassar guy, though I could live here for another 100 years and never be considered a Vassar guy by those born here) have some other cool stuff that happens here. There's the Pumpkin Roll, for example. The pumpkin roll began because--so the story goes--the Chief of Police got tired of kids stealing pumpkins and rolling them down the hill to smash at the bottom, so he got the city council to authorize one day when EVERYONE could roll pumpkins down the hill. A festival was born.
   There's a river day--where we have carnival games, etc. to celebrate the river that we pay good money to keep where it ought to be and stop it from flooding the downtown business district. There's a car show. Not one of those pedigree only car shows, but a car show where anyone with a vehicle they want to show folks and brag about can park on the street and show and brag. I might take this computer I built down there next year, just to be different.It's not a car, but it has three drives. That's close enough, I think, for this friendly place.
  High school homecoming is a big deal here, and that's no surprise. As a non-sports fan my whole life, I'll confess I don't "get it", but it makes people happy. They parade. They paint cardboard signs and put them on the grass by the street. They have a parade.
  In the spring, people plant flowers up and down the highway running through town. They plant them in front of our house, which is on said highway. They're pretty and I don't have to do a damn thing to or for them. I like that.
  I'm sure this place has all of the downsides of small town living. That's okay. Doesn't bother me a bit. You see, I'm not from here...and according to most, I'll always be the guy from out of town. I like that, too.

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