Thursday, October 30, 2008

Comfort Food and Welcoming an Old Friend Back

In the exuberance of the day after my "sleep test," Ted and I wandered down to the Temple Dining Room again for lunch. I don't know if it's that a night hooked up to electrodes made my immune system kick in to high gear or what, but I felt finally somewhat returned to myself, healthy for once. I had a cup of vegetable soup, Copper River salmon with dill sauce, and a side of whipped butternut squash. Oh my god, every bite tasted fantastic. In the weeks of the sinus infection, I'd lost my appetite and yesterday's lunch was the first thing that really tasted good for ages. The food at the Temple, cooked with care by family chef Larry Battiste, is made fresh from fresh ingredients, and it felt like The Cure. I wanted to go back to the kitchen and kiss him.

Halfway through the salmon, I noticed a distinguished looking man in a gray suit eating lunch alone at a nearby table, and realized it was Steve Wilson, who recently came back to Flint from Grand Rapids to be executive director of the Ruth Mott Foundation. It was wonderful to see him again and to welcome him back. In the Eighties he was the Flint tourism director -- a punishing time for that job -- and was one of the people utterly unfairly humiliated by his portrayal in Michael Moore's Roger and Me. I never forgave Moore for so indiscriminately making people look foolish -- even though he's gotten better at selective rancor, I think, especially in Sicko, the scars of his earlier random cruelties remain. Anyway, back then Steve Wilson wrote a play about Flint and for a time hung around the downtown poetry scene, which was quite lively in those years. I was fond of him; I read the play in an early iteration and did my best to encourage him.

Now he's back, looking stylishly mature, in a position that may make it hard for him to keep up with his personal creative projects, but it's so great to see that he's here in an important position in an institution that makes a big difference to Flint. He says he's still writing, when he gets a chance. It's heartening when good people find their way back to this old burg.

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