We had an eventful Labor Day Weekend in the Gilbert family. This is newsworthy because we rarely have eventful anythings. Saturday, we attended a football game in Clemson, South Carolina. Sunday morning, we flew to Detroit, Michigan to see a U2 concert. Clay loves U2. I love Detroit. It was perfect. (Only the first part of that is true.) But Detroit was the only show we could fit into our schedule, and Greenville has a direct flight to Detroit Metropolitan/Wayne County Airport.
In the 1950s, Detroit was one of the great cities of the world. Today, it’s a city built for 2 million people, but with only around 700,000 people living there now. While huge buildings still stand vacant, Detroit is making a comeback. Here’s an article describing this rebirth.
The only thing more fascinating than a crumpled city rising from the ashes is a timeline of events from a great Labor Day Weekend.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
5:51am - Jack comes into our room fully dressed in game attire. Normally a child walking into my room at this hour would upset me, but on this day I took it as a sign from the heavens that my parenting efforts are working.
6:30am - First bag of ice hits the floor. The stock market has a bell that opens each session. The sound of ice bags crashing on concrete before going into a cooler is the opening bell of college football Saturdays.
7:30am - Reid calls to check progress of final preparations before departure. I happily tell him we are in Powdersville.
8:17am - We arrive at our parking spot on the lawn at Littlejohn and begin to unpack our house.
8:43am - I begin attempting to line up the satellite dish. Normally this is a fairly smooth process. By smooth I mean, I normally only experience 3 small fits of rage. On this day the receiver is having trouble communicating with the dish.
9:15am - “Hello, thank you for calling DirecTV.”
This begins a 40 minute conversation with DirecTV that started awkwardly and ended even more awkwardly. I am sure the first red flag popped up on the computer screen at the call center when I said, “No this is not my account; it is my dad’s account.” The second red flag soon followed when I said, “Yes, technically this is the guest bedroom receiver, but I am in a grass lot at a football game.”
After trying multiple reboots and setting changes, there was a 30 second period of silence on the phone, which felt like hours. Followed by me breaking the silence by saying, “guess it's just not going to work today huh.” The directv rep was beaten at this point and could only muster the following words, “Well, good luck.” I am fairly certain the call was recorded and will be used as a case study for the folks at Directv. What they will never know as they try to figure out why they could not get it running is that the dish I have has been dropped roughly 437 times. The arm that points to the dish only stays upright with the help of a Stanley vice grip and when you move the arm you can hear parts moving around. You know this sound. It is the sound you hear when you shake a burned out lightbulb. Well apparently enough of those parts are rattling that the dish no longer works.
10:17am - I am returning from the bathroom pondering if the failed satellite dish had a deeper meaning in regards to Clemson’s season. A tailgating angel appeared in the body of an old friend. After explaining to him the situation he tells me he just moved and has a dish he no longer needs. The season is not doomed!
11:55 am - National Championship signage is unveiled around the stadium. I stare at it like Clark Griswold stared at his house in Christmas Vacation when all the lights finally came on.
12:00pm - Dabo runs down The Hill.
12:03pm - The rest of the team catches up to him.
1:12pm - Kent State attempts their first pass late in the 2nd quarter. For those not familiar with football, this is odd.
3:04pm - Clemson has disposed of Kent State 56-3. Kent State had 1 yd passing for the game. Again, this is odd.
3:05pm - The ESPN feed cuts from Death Valley to Panthers Stadium, just in time for every Gamecock fan to see the extra point - after the opening kick was already returned for a touchdown. This is a great day indeed.
7:03pm - In an attempt to eat healthier after a day of junk food at the game, I am in the drive thru line at Bee Bee’s ordering a Mike Gallagher.
7:14pm - I pull down the driveway to find a bird hanging dead from the basketball goal net. It will remain one of life’s greatest mysteries. I can only assume it was an NC State fan and the despair was too much.
8:01pm - Turn on the Alabama/FSU game to listen to announcers remind us who Alabama lost to in their last game.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
7:30am - Drop kids off at my parents’ house and head to the airport.
9:30am - Wheels up. Next stop Detroit.
9:45am - We are now at a nice cruising altitude, and I am coming to grips that my legs should go numb somewhere over Kentucky. Can seat spaces on planes get any smaller?
9:53am - I notice an older gentleman across the aisle pulls out what I assume is a crossword or sudoku puzzle book. I return to worrying about blood flow in my hip.
10:03am - I look back across the aisle and realize the man has a book full of word searches. My kids have books like this, but rarely do you come across someone older with such a passion for word searches. I remained mesmerized the rest of the flight as he completed puzzles entitled “Words with Double Z,” “Boys’ Names,” “Chinese Culture” and my favorite, “Rodents.”
11:20am - We pull into the gate in Detroit and make the decision to rent a car and drive to Ann Arbor for lunch. The Detroit airport sits right in between Ann Arbor and Detroit. 20 minutes West on I-94 to Ann Arbor. 20 minutes East on I-94 to Detroit. Ann Arbor is the home of the University of Michigan.
12:02pm - I am handed the keys to a Ford Edge. The lead guitarist for U2 is The Edge. Ponder that for a moment.
12:45pm- Walk around the Michigan campus.
1:15pm - We arrive at Ashley’s for lunch. Thrillist ranked it one of the 33 best beer bars in the country. Here’s a description…
“The most Ann Arbor-y of the Ann Arbor bars rocks over 90 international beers... ON TAP! Plus, your servers know more about their suds than most students do about their majors. And those pesto fries. Good God, those pesto fries.”
1:17pm - As I am admiring the irish pub/college bar feel of the place, Clay is actively calculating the odds of which letter of Hepatitis she will contract.
2:02pm - Arrive at the Big House, Michigan’s football stadium.
2:03pm - Leave the Big House after taking a picture and realizing you can see nothing and head to Detroit.
2:33pm - “Clay, why does that highway sign say ‘Bridge to Canada?’ Are we near Canada?” After a quick Google search, we find out there is just a river separating us from Canada.
5:30pm - Leave hotel and head toward Ford Field. Yes, there is a baseball game ending. Yes, there is a jazz festival downtown. Yes, there are 50,000 pasty white people coming to see U2, but I’m sure we will be able to go to all these cool spots we researched, walk right in and grab a bite to eat.
6:23pm - Eating BBQ nachos in my seat at Ford Field.
6:24pm - A Canadian father/son duo sit down next to us. His first concert was the original Joshua Tree tour in 1987 in Detroit. Tonight, he brought his son to his first show, which happens to be U2’s Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour in Detroit. Pretty cool.
6:37pm - The Canuck tells us he has been to South Carolina. Myrtle Beach, of course. He then tells me he took the coastal highway, to which I quickly respond, “Oh, Highway 17.” “No, think it was 95 something,” he says. Yes, how could I be mistaken. I-95 is a beautiful coastal highway.
6:38pm - A young couple in front of us turns around and states they are from Richmond, VA. They drove down 95 and pulled off the interstate to view the eclipse in a hotel parking lot in Manning, SC. I feel like I am at home.
6:45pm - I order a drink from Aisle Vendor 4226. Upon hearing my Southern/Forrest Gump drawl, he states, “You ain’t from around here, are you?” When I tell him South Carolina, he just responds, “Damn!” I no longer feel at home.
7:34pm - Beck opens. I contemplate if I am a loser, baby.
9:22pm - Larry walks the catwalk to a drum set. Crowd erupts. Larry begins playing “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” The Edge and Adam appear. Crowd erupts more. Bono appears. People cry.
10:45pm - Patti Smith appears on stage to join the band in “Mothers of the Disappeared.”
11:21pm - Show ends with the song, “One.” Also the same number of ears out of which I can now hear.
Monday, September 4, 2017
10:03am - The Edge is returned to Hertz.
12:15pm - Delta Flight 5283 to “Greensville”/Spartanburg has been delayed due to maintenance. New departure time 1:00pm.
12:51pm - “Delta Flight 5283 to ‘Greensville’/Spartanburg, there has been a gate change, and your new departure time is now 3:00pm.”
5:30pm - We return to our happy, uneventful life in Greenville, SC.