Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Magic Day

Saturday, August 30, 2014
We woke up this morning to an overcast sky, but we didn’t much care, since most of our day was going to be driving or indoors. We started out with a shopping trip at our host’s place. Now yeah, THIS is what I’m talking about—a Spartans Tailgating display set up right inside the door, with everything a crazy MSU fan could want. This is my kind of Walmart :)   Joey browsed with me for a few minutes, then left me to fool around while he started our grocery shopping.

One hour, $100+, and some more Spartan swag later, we put the groceries away and hit the road, heading toward our first stop, the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan. Marshall turned out to be an absolutely delightful small town with fabulous old houses—so many that there is a walking tour of the historic homes. We parked just off the main street through town, and the Museum of Magic was just one block away. The museum contains a huge collection of magic equipment, vintage posters, and a lot of other magic-related paraphernalia, some of which was quite rare or unusual. There was a significant collection of items owned by Houdini, among other famous magicians. We spent about an hour there, browsing through the collection on two floors of a building which itself was kind of a classic.

Just as we were ready to leave, it started to pour rain, so we made a run for the RV. We decided to have lunch while the rain was coming down, and it let up just about the time we finished eating. This was fortunate, because I wanted to just go look at some of the shops along the main street. In the two blocks we saw, there were probably a dozen antique stores, as well as several gift stores and a really great old-fashioned hardware store, the kind which has a little bit of everything. I was just browsing along the street, enjoying the architecture and thinking what a great little town it is—there was hardly any traffic, but every store I went into had other customers. I am just not sure where they came from! In the end, I found far more to spend money on than I’d anticipated, and we did our part to boost the economy of the town. I would have loved to have more time to leave the immediate downtown area and check out more of the historic homes.

We left Marshall and headed for Colon, which is about 45 minutes drive away. More magic was our destination—the town of Colon is billed as The Magic Capital of the World, because of the number of magicians, including Blackstone, who spent time there and are buried there. In fact, there is an annual gathering of magicians in Colon every year. We were not that interested in the cemetery and its famous denizens, but Joey did want to visit Abbott’s Magic, a very well known store to magicians everywhere. We got there at about 3pm, and no one was there except the man who ran the place. He was really nice, and when he heard that Joey was a magician also and that he was restocking some of his long-since worn out paraphernalia, he could not have been more helpful. He even offered to close the store a little bit early (it was about 3:45 when we finished) and take us to the local cemetery for a personally guided visit. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really spare the time, since we wanted to get to our final stop before it was too terribly late. That was kind of too bad, though—I thought he was really nice, not just because he is also a Spartan fan who had been at the game last night!

It was, however, only 10 minutes before 4, and we rushed around the corner to yet another magic store, Fab Magic, to see if they had any balloons to tie into animals (Abbott’s was out of them.) Unfortunately, Fab Magic was also out, but we spent another 15 minutes or so there chatting with the owner. It wasn’t until we were leaving that he admitted to being a Michigan fan (we were wearing our Spartan hats, which was one reason the subject came up everywhere we went during the day.) Fab Magic happened to be right next to an ice cream store, and I checked the menu very quickly and found it had no-sugar-added Peanut Butter Fudge ice cream, so of course we had to stop and get ice cream. And then we hit the road for the last destination of the day, Delaware, Ohio.

Delaware is about 20 minutes or so north of Columbus, and is the home of our friends Gary and Jan. Gary and Joe did their Family Practice residencies together in Chapel Hill, and then Gary and Jan moved to Delaware, where he went into practice and she worked with him as a nurse practitioner. We have kept in touch on and off during the past 30 years, but it’s been ages since we’d seen them. However, they were right on our route between Michigan and Kentucky, and we decided that it was time to stop and visit, especially since it was a long weekend! We arrived at their house at about 8:15 p.m. and joined them for a very belated dinner. Their next-door neighbor had very considerately gone away for the week, making it very easy to park the RV in his driveway. So we were off the road and it was the ideal “mooch-docking” spot for the next two nights. We all went to bed feeling very happy to be spending some time with old friends.

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