So after 7 years out west, 4 years in North Carolina, I end up in Ann Arbor, MI.
Well, actually I work in Ann Arbor, but live near Dexter. Dexter is one of those farming towns that twenty years ago everyone would have called the boonies, but now is full of quaint little shops and friendly pubs. Pricey mcmansions have sprouted up in the fields where corn once grew.
So every August the yocals hold Dexter Daze, a homegrown festival with high school bands, low end local artisans, and of course, the Kiwanis beer tent. It's the closest thing we have in the midwest to a western hootenanny, albeit minus the fiddles and cowboy boots.
Dexter's not a bad town. In fact, it's a great town. At the local pubs they have your ale poured before you sit down. The people are engaging, but no one really cares who you are or what your business is. After years of living in nosy small towns elsewhere, frankly it is a breath of fresh air.
Maybe because it sits on the far western fringe of 5 million people. Maybe because it's growing so rapidly there are too many new faces to keep track of. Whatever the reason, I hope Dexter can keep the small town feel without the small town intrusiveness.
Sitting on the edge of Ann Arbor, one of the last bastions of liberalism (along with Berkely, Boston, and Eugene), Dexter balances the political landscape with a small but ardent republican party. Not that I'm a member, but when the uber liberal Ann Arbor City Council made the police department change their mission to "Courage, Compassion, and Sensitivity", I had to reconsider all previous positions. In all due respect, the last thing we need are the cops treating some thug that just whacked an old lady over the head with a pipe for her purse with is sensitivity.
But without a doubt, the best part of living near Dexter is the Portage Chain of Lakes. 10,000 years ago, Mother Nature knew someday there would be people who would have motorboats and liked to putt from lake to lake. So she connected seven lakes by way of the Huron River. Is it Jackson Lake or Tahoe? Not even close. But it's still pretty cool.
We'll, we're moving onward and upward here at Riverrant. Stay tuned...upcoming posts include trips down the Owyhee and Huron rivers, and with the spiffy new digital camera I just bought, I hope to add photos of ghetto Detroit, the Potowatomi Trail, and up north Michigan to the pithy drivel and insipid dialogue.