Fudge is the main export of Mackinac Island. Sadly, employees here did not let me buy one of their hats!
You never know where you will run into another displaced Mets fan.
I’ve spent part of each of the last two weeks at Mackinac Island, which is one of Michigan’s prime tourist spots.
It’s a beautiful little island located between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas, which means it’s about three hours from civilization. It’s accessible only by ferry, and is famous for banning motorized vehicles -- which means it is overrun with bicycles and horses.
I’m allergic to horses so I try to keep my distance. But I’m a quick learner. If you see a puddle and it hasn’t rained, you don't do splashing around.
But I digress. The main exports seem to be fudge – there are 17 places to buy it – and t-shirts. Luckily, I like both.
Last week I went north as a chaperone with my daughter’s fourth-grade trip. It’s a four-hour bus ride, and I think the kids were freaked out after being forced to watch “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on the coach’s DVD player. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. I think if Truly Scrumptious had sang one more song the kids would have started throwing their Crocs at the screens.
After surviving the horse-drawn carriage tour – barely – and touring Fort Mackinac and the Butterfly House, we had some time to shop for fudge and souvenirs.
I entered one store and heard a ball game on the radio, then heard the “Let’s go Mets...FAN” jingle. There are few sounds nicer to these ears, especially if it dislodges “Toot Sweets” from my head.
“Hey, is that the Mets?” I asked to the guy behind the counter. “Awesome!”
Turned out the owner is a New Jersey native. He said he ordered XM Satellite radio just to be able to hear Mets games while he works in the store.
“People come in all the time, hear a game and ask if the Tigers are winning,” he said. “I tell them ‘I have no idea, I’m listening to the Mets.’”
Naturally, we had a nice conversation about the struggles of being Mets fans located to the Midwest, and how well the season was going on.
I couldn’t stay too long because my daughter still was looking for a store selling a little stuffed puppy with magnetic paws and one of those machines that squish pennies for her collection before we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland.
On the bus ride back the kids watched “Happy Feet,” which was as traumatizing to the adults as “Chitty” was to the kids.
Why do the penguins run around singing Queen songs? Where do they hear these songs so they can learn them in the first place? Why do the little penguins run around talking like a Latino street gang? How come Mumble can speak right after being hatched? Why did they name him “Mumble?” If I saw dancing penguins, I would not take that as a sign they were telling me we were eating too much fish. Why are they trying to make me feel guilty for eating fish? I like fish!
We stopped at McDonalds on the way home, and I almost ordered a McFish just to show the penguins who is atop the food chain.
I returned back to Mackinac Island this week with my family and parents. By the way, it’s pronounced “MACK-in-aw” despite how is spelled. The reason might have been explained on the horse carriage tour the previous week, but I probably missed it while sneezing. Damn horses.
And even more strange, the city on the mainland across from the island is Mackinaw City, spelled the way it is pronounced. I do my best trying to figure the state out. It's a struggle.
We naturally shopped for more fudge and t-shirts and squished pennies and of course made it back to the shop owned by the Mets fan.
I heard a game playing again, though I knew the Mets wouldn’t be playing until that night.
“You’re the guy from last week!” the shop owner said. I asked what game was on the radio.
“Yankees,” the guy said.
“Dude, I thought you were one of us?” I said, fearing he was one of those people who claims to root for both teams. That would expose him as a fraud, since we know no one can root for both Mets and Yankees.
“When the Mets aren’t on, I listen to the Yankees. I like to hear them lose.”
Relieved, I approved when I son picked out a sweatshirt to buy. Mets fans stick together.