Ypsilanti Michigan

Memories, Nature

Go Fly A Kite


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KIteKite number five at our favorite hill. This time I didn’t skimp on the kite buying.  Instead I visited a local hobby shop where they sell the real deal, a large span kite made of cloth. It was the easiest to fly too only requiring a slight wind.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Fall Trail


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Fall Trail

Before this harsh winter there was green grass. I could still walk the trails even late into fall but it seems like once that first snow hit it was non stop cold and snow. This Wednesday we will supposedly get up to 49 degrees but who knows. With Michigan it’s always a gamble and I know too another snow storm or two or three is not out of the question.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Wild Flowers


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Wild Flowers

The cut path at the nature preserve allows you to walk in between tall wild flowers. Just before winter, when most of the grass is turning brown, these wild flowers stand out the most.

Michigan, Nature, Photography

Dive Bombing Bird


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Blue Headed Dive BomberThe Lefurge Nature Preserve has several bird houses scattered around and some are occupied by these blue headed birds. I don’t know their real name but I do know they are sometimes aggressive.

A few of the bird homes are near the starting trail so you have to pass by and certain times of the summer these birds are particularly protective of them. When walking by they dive bomb you, pulling up just before impact. My reaction is always to duck and run.

Nature, Photography

Nature Preserve – Ypsilanti Michigan


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LeFurge Woods Nature Preserve

  My attempt at a panoramic photo using an iPhone app. It didn’t work out as planned because I couldn’t get the timing right. You have do a 360 at just the right pace or the image is choppy but if you go too slow it causes the breaks you see in the clouds. This is the Lefurge Woods Nature Preserve. One of the places I frequent in the warmer months.

Memories

Old Cemetery


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Highland Cemetery Highland Cemetery in Ypsilanti Michigan was established in 1864. Some of the grave stones are older by 20 or more years laying flat on the ground down a hillside. These grave stones are from forgotten locations that were brought here just to have a place.

The neighborhood I grew up in had a large forest at the back where we used to play building forts and exploring, those were some of the best times. The woods have mostly been removed to make room for apartments. Highland Cemetery is at the far end so sometimes when we were particularly adventurous we would walk the mile or so into the forest to reach it. When we arrived we often played a game where we would see who could find the oldest grave stone.

Over the years I’ve attended services here of friends who were taken at an early age from violence. While I loved the forest behind the neighborhood and considered myself lucky to live there it was actually in a rough part of town with frequent gun play. I can count at least eight friends from back in the day who were shot to death, two of them are buried here. When crack cocaine hit our neighborhood in the 80’s is was a war zone.

Yesterday I visited one of the grave sites of a childhood friend. He was the little brother of one of my best friends back in the day. The kind of kid who always wanted to tag along but we didn’t want him around but if didn’t get to hang out with us he would tell his mom we were being mean which always resulted in his older brother having to come home.  I can still hear his voice pleading to come in and play Nintendo with us. Mostly we let him hang out with us because we had to. Out of all those who are gone I think about Tyrone the most.

A friend of mine who moved south years ago is in town and we got together yesterday at Sidetracks in Depot Town. We talked about old times of course like old friend do. Part of our conversation was naming people who are gone. He moved south 20 years ago so some of the people I named he didn’t know were gone. Gun violence is still a problem in certain circles.

I know the longer you live the more people you lose but it’s an odd thing when you have known so many people leave this earth at a young age. Death is a part of life, man is born to die, but it’s something I hear the older generation talk about not people my age. Depending on where you grow up death can lose some of its shock and you just see it as a thing that you experience at some point.

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Little Yellow Building


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There’s a little yellow building in Ypsilanti that has become my favorite place to eat with excellent food, one of those little “mom and pop” places that you would probably not visit without a recommendation. It’s not just my favorite place but at least two of my kids call it their favorite too. The building is quite old and has been a restaurant for years though it operated under a different name when I was a kid living in Ypsilanti. Actually for a while it was owned by a family I knew but I only visited a couple times never really getting into the food much just more of a visit for us to tease our friend working there. We all grew up and I took a course that pulled me away from things, friends, those places and so no.

Forward many years later, perhaps 25, and a friend mentioned this little restaurant in Ypsilanti that serves really good Chinese food but that’s small and really not fancy inside. His description was something like, “it’s so small you would easily drive past were it not painted bright yellow.” Indeed this building is merely a speck squeezed in between larger red brick and stone businesses so without that yellow paint you really wouldn’t even notice it.The sign out front is faded and parking down a tight alley is limited giving it even more of a mysterious look.  After talking about the history of the restaurant and telling my friend I knew the place but had not been there in years I decided to give it a try and to take my family or at least any one of them that would go with me.

The first visit didn’t leave a good impression really and in fact I know at least some of us didn’t care for it at all. I knew next time I saw my friend Dean I would ask him what his comparison is because honestly the food was nothing special. Telling him about it he asked me what I got and I told him the typical American Chinese food you get anywhere, sweet and sour deep fried stuff. That was the problem he said, “they do really really good traditional food but not so much the American variety.” So I decided to try again but this time he would go too so as to show me the way and I am glad I did, wow really good. So I could go on and on about the place but that’s not really why I decided to write this blog.

After that second visit I knew I would be a regular and would try to get my family to go too which didn’t go as planned but my boys love the place and we go there often, just last night actually. The more we went the more we looked forward to it and it became kind of our thing to do. Go to Hidden Dragon, hit up the food co-op for goodies and then the park for a walk. This is one of the things we do together and I always look forward to it picturing they will one day do the same  even at the same places while telling their kids how dad always took them here. Who knows if that will happen but I like to think it will.  Whatever the future holds I know I will have these memories forever and will continue to do my best making more memories with those I love and for that I consider myself a lucky man.

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