Living on Tulip Time

I’ve been home for three days now from my long-weekend getaway to Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan and I’m really regretting not taking pictures. Not because it was beautiful or memorable, but because it’s already funny.

I want to remember the hotel in the middle of a strip mall parking lot. I want to remember the hotel room next to the elevator (it was in the wall in front of the bathroom). I want to remember the yellow laundry baskets that the housekeeping staff continuously banged against my door at 7am. I want to remember the Dutch Village, which was advertised as a quaint little shopping and learning experience of all things Dutch, but was actually a refurbished putt-putt golf place. The castle towers on each side of the driveway connected by an arch with paper letters. The highway on one side. The tire/muffler shop on the other.

And the Art Fair in the downtown postage-stamp-sized park. It was obviously the only thing to do in the entire state of Michigan that day, because I’ve never seen so many people. And they appeared to be folks who had saved their loose change all year, brushed a tooth or two, and donned their best overalls just for the event.

Ahhh, and the tulips. Couldn't see any at the Art Fair - too many bodies. Saw a few driving by the putt-putt-dutch place, but I see more in my neighbor's flower beds. I saw a few lined up single file on the edges of a few downtown streets, but I didn't find any beds or fields or congregated tulips anywhere. I tried again Monday thinking I had to be missing them. But it was trash day in Holland, so there they were again - single file and at attention - but this time separated by big city trash cans. Ten little tulip soldiers…..big city trash can…..ten little tulip soldiers…...big city trash can, after another, after another, after another. This vision I want to remember most.

I have to give credit to a few positives, though. I was given a free rental car upgrade because they were out of the cheap model I had reserved, so I enjoyed playing with all the buttons and gadgets. I drove (figured staying in the car as much as possible was the best option) to Grand Rapids, which was the nicest and cleanest downtown I’ve seen in a while. I saw Lake Michigan and got a much needed, but too brief, Cancerian water fix. And I did dine alone three times peacefully and proudly, until lunch at the last restaurant where an old man stared at me over his wife’s shoulder the entire time. I tried to eat with my mouth open, I tried blowing my nose at the table more than once, I tried staring back to make him look away first, which he never did. I thought about unleashing a boob and plopping it on the table, which as luck would have it was at just about the right height, but he was eating his lunch and I didn’t want him to lose it over my naked boob. That’s how I am: still trying to be kind even when staring old-rude-man adversity in the face.

This was my second and, I feel confident saying last visit to the West coast of Michigan. It will just have to carry on without me from now on. So, so long Michigan!! I know you’ll miss me as much as I’ll miss you.