Living in Haslett I drive from the east side of Lansing into town all the time. In my need to get to 127 south I’ve done the Saginaw, Oakland, Grand River criss-cross multiple times a week. I’ve watched in horror as some have tried the “wait at Frandor exit, cut across Saginaw to the Speedway to get over to Grand River” stunt. This is not a place for pedestrians. And yet these words somehow managed to escape my mouth as we sat finishing up our lunches from Lou and Harry’s; “I can walk from here”. Today being Thursday I had planned to partake in the Lunch with a Purpose group again. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem except these facts remain true: our household only has one car; our twins get home at 11:50 am on Thursday; our oldest son needs us to drive him to LCC west campus by 1:00 pm and I want to be to Duckett Brothers Distributing by noon. When those words came out of my face it was 11:35 am. “It’s 11:35! You need to get home to get the twins, I can walk from here!” Not only was I walking from the edge of East Lansing to the center of town I also was carrying a jigsaw. Yes, a jig saw. The LWP project was cutting out life-sized figures drawn onto plywood. I now found myself removing my camera from my carrying bag and slipping in a jigsaw and a set of saw bits. It was heavy and a bit awkward but I was on a mission: reach Duckett Brothers Distributing by noon. So I set off across these crazy roads where pedestrians are very, very few. Of course there are no sidewalks and even some businesses had landscaped all the way to the edge of the road with rocks. I was never happier to see a sidewalk!
If you’ve never walked Saginaw St. you should. Once past the busyness of 127 and Frandor it was actually quite pleasant. The area that is sandwiched between Saginaw and Oakland is a haven for serene, well manicured two-story homes. Despite cars zipping past me on my right I greatly enjoyed the wind chimes and paved walk ways of these sophisticated houses. The north side of the road housed mostly commercial property; gas stations, grocers, the old Sugar Shack that had recently moved. There were doctor’s offices, churches, law offices and schools. I also passed one of my past employers, The Mid Michigan Red Cross. I was an After Hours worker there. I helped locate shelter for those that didn’t have a place to stay overnight. It was right about here in my walk that it started; the chimes. I’m not sure where they came from, probably a nearby church or two, but their gorgeous melody filled the air. It also meant that it was high noon.
I was going to be late. I really picked up my pace and quickly made it to the corner of Pennsylvania and Oakland, having passed Sieloff Glass and Screen (my uncle’s business) and Ahptic (a distinguished green building on the corner of a residential area). My destination was just off Larch. I had one more block to go. As I walked, the sidewalk diverged. The side I was on began to ascend the embankment that allowed Oakland to go under the train tracks. The other sidewalk, across a very busy street, stayed with the road. My sidewalk looked new and exciting but there was a non moving train sitting right across my path. I began going up, hoping the train would begin to move as I approached. From up here I could see the new north side police precinct. I could see the Sparrow Hospital new addition and I could see the Boji Tower. I was walking on a sidewalk next to an unfinished parking lot, up above most of the buildings and roads around me, waiting for a very slow train to move along.
When the train finished and the rail went up I noticed right away that the building in front of me was where I had been walking to; I had walked up the back way. I walked in and joined all the other volunteers already preparing cut outs and tracing shapes for the I Was Here campaign. After all that walking I was finally there.
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