a study of art and whipped garlic or Day 3 of farmers visit

Our clan stayed up talking late at L&K’s until after 3am, and the majority of our party (Sister A1 & Bro-in-law M, Bro A3, Chris and Sweet Guy T) had left. I love those nights. But I don’t love those following mornings when you are running on empty and have to get up early. TSOldtimer and I went to Mass at my church and left B1&B2 to sleep in. We regrouped and headed in the direction of food. Everything was busy due to the family-church crowd so after hearing about B1’s hatred of IHOP due to strawberry crepes and an ill planned trip to Maine with me we decided that IHOP was not a breakfast option and were all glad when we finally managed to dig up a Mom and Pop owned diner.

Once we were all fed and more tolerant we headed down to Detroit to check out the Detroit Institute of Arts (D.I.A.), which has recently been renovated, and to my astonishment is wonderful. I am not sure what I was expecting but I was impressed. The museum seems to have grown in its collection and also in its size and wonder. Each new corner seemed to offer the wanderer a new room full of everything from the bizarre modern art to Cubism represented by Picasso (one of my favorites), to 19th century art (American painters of this era are my fav), to the thick brush strokes of Van Gogh—does anyone else want to reach out and touch that thick paint and see what it feels like?

All these winding galleries made us lose ourselves and each other—literally, TSO where were you?—and I was always amazed that in this Goonies-ish ability to find this treasure we were also able to resurface and see my favorite room, the main room with the Diego Rivera murals a few times. Passing through I was like a lost child under a night sky, glancing up as if looking in wonder at a starry black blanket where the Heavens should be, to see the thick arms of Rivera’s workers, toiling in the factories and toiling too as gods bearing gifts. If you have never been to the D.I.A. you are missing something spectacular, a gem in the city of Detroit.

Near closing time we regrouped and headed out. We stopped in Royal Oak on the way home and ate at Beirut Palace, which is this utterly delicious Middle Eastern restaurant (which also rents hookas to be smoked during, before, or after your meal. I have not yet been brave enough to try this.) TSO and I split a sampler platter complete with falafall, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, tabouli, meat and spinach pastries and TSO also ordered this divine whipped garlic which was SO good, yet left us all with serious vampire damaging qualities. I can’t remember what B1&B2 ordered, but they both seemed pleased with their choices for the most part.

I love the experience of eating at places like Beirut Palace for the very communal nature of how things like hummus, tabouli and whipped garlic are eaten: hands caught in the act of breaking bread and dipping into bowls piled and swirled full of sensuous foods; hands occasionally bumping in the delights of eating food rich and simple. Foods that I can imagine generations of philosophers, poets, militants all sharing amongst their kind while in pursuits of the mind, heart or advancement of a civilization.

Too full to function otherwise we all wound up at my house, flopped on the couch watching “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” with Roomie M, which reminded me of the old Topside days when we watched the trilogy an obscene amount of times. And I had to laugh when I thought about how we actually spent months making our own version of the movie, “Lord of the Teething Ring.” One day it’ll be famous.


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