David went home to work this week and a bit of next, and the kids and I stayed here in Michigan without him. At this point in our vacation last year we all drove back home and then I spent the next week or so wondering why. David needs to be at the hospital, but I can do my job just about anywhere, and so this year we decided to delay our return to the belly of hell and stay in the shade of the sugar maples for a couple more weeks. (Thank you, sweetheart.)
Early Monday morning, we drove David down to the airport in Detroit and then spent the day nearby at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. You just can't visit either without coming away completely awed by the impact Henry Ford had on this country, and the whole world for that matter. You gotta love a man with vision.
Did you know that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Model T? Neither did I. We rode in a Model T to tour around Greenfield Village and at the end of the tour our driver suggested that we sing "Happy Birthday" to the Model T. I enthusiastically joined in belting out birthday wishes, only to realize that my kids were not joining in and were staring at me like I'd lost my mind. I nudged them a bit and they half-heartedly joined me for the last line, but were so mortified they could not meet my eyes.
In Greenfield Village we got to see Edison's Menlo Park research park, the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop and house, Robert Frost's home, George Washington Carver's home, cottages from England that Ford had disassembled brick by brick and then reassembled here.
Caleb was all smiles in Edison's lab...
And I couldn't resist having Caleb snap this one of me in front of the printing office.
From there we went on to the Henry Ford Museum, which has so many pieces of American life and history, it is an absolute treasure. Some of our highlights included George Washington's camp bed, the chair Lincoln sat in at Ford's theatre the night he was shot,
a huge train called the "Allegheny" which was just ginormous in every way,
the Montgomery, Alabama city bus that Rosa Parks sat on (the girls got to sit in her very seat),
the Dymaxion house-of-the-future (Caleb's personal favorite) and a thousand other things...
We had a great day together and the kids were asleep before I pulled out of the parking lot after the museum closed. I drove home in the rain in one of Henry Ford's legacies and was so proud of myself for being such an "independent woman." I took my kids on an adventure in a big city I'd never been in and got them back home again. Not too shabby.
(David got me a Garmin so that he wouldn't worry too much as I navigated my way around Michigan. It was very useful, but there were a few tense moments for Caleb when I would miss a turn and it would say: Turn left. Turn left. Turn left now. Make a U-turn as soon as possible. Recalculating. Make a U-turn as soon as possible. Turn left now. Recalculating.)
Anyway, this whole adventure reminded me of a vintage advertisement we had seen earlier in the day:
The text reads: "The Ford car, with its uniformly dependable service, its comfort and convenience, gives a key to the wide and healthful out-of-doors. It enables the owner--her family and friends--to have all the benefits of fresh air and change of scene, without..."
Amen, Mr. Ford.