The first weekend in May, I flew home to MI to attend a graduation ceremony and party for Jake's younger brother Caleb. Jake had decided, somewhat reluctantly, to push back his original move date from April 28 so he could attend; I told him that I wanted to as well. I've known Caleb almost as long as I have Jake (a little over 5 years now) and probably saw him almost as often, considering we worked together for close to three of those years. I pretty much love him like my own brother -- he can be both a pain in the butt like a brother and a great friend/confidante. (Am I the only one who thinks of the Golden Girls theme song when I hear the word "confidante"?)
So, I arrived in Saginaw around 9:30am Friday morning and spent the day with Jake; we joined my parents and sister Janessa for lunch then spent a couple of hours at our old hangout spot, the Red Eye. I have to say, Saginaw is getting quieter and quieter. I still run into plenty of people I know but their numbers are dwindling. Not long after I moved (and even shortly before) people started leaving -- for other cities and other states -- and a good portion of those that remain are talking about doing the same, at least idly. It occured to me over the summer how strange it is that, while unfamiliar places can become familiar, the opposite is also true. That night I drove Jake and myself home from The Scottish Inn and quickly became all turned around in the roads near there. Granted, Saginaw city's roads have always been somewhat of a cluster; they aren't gridded properly because of the river and a great number of them curve sharply or stop and start or end altogether. But I used to know my way around pretty well. Fortunately Jake wasn't actually in bad shape and played navigator for me.
At our Scottish Inn party that night (for which the event page on facebook was titled, "Rachel's Visit/Jake's Exodus") I was reminded of just how good a friend group I've left behind. The number of people who continue to attend these events when I visit home has certainly dwindled over the past couple years (as people have moved away and/or on with their lives), but the ones that do show up are quality people.
But they didn't just come for me; Jake's not much of a party planner but despite the last minute announcement, several of his friends, co-workers, and 2/3 of his brothers came out for the evening. I got some great pictures.
Saturday's graduation ceremony and resulting party were both well-attended; delicious ribs were eaten (at the party, not the ceremony), bocce ball was played (not by me, sadly, though by watching I now understand the premise of the game) and more pictures were taken. We had a fairly quiet evening, expecting to be on the road sort of early Sunday morning; in true Jake fashion though, the car wasn't cleaned out until then and it took a couple tries to pack everything in tight enough to fit all of it (including a cat box for our reluctant feline traveler). He did it, though (2000 Ford Focus = surprisingly high capacity for stuff-holding) and after one last stop for coffee and a bagel at the Red Eye, we hit the road around one pm.
A little over 10 hours later, after a relatively uneventful trip, we arrived in Baltimore, unloaded the cat, and unpacked the car. And thus, I have acquired a Jake. At a week and a half in, we're still working out some logistics but have otherwise been successful at co-habitating. We've even managed to explore a couple of places in the city together that I hadn't been to on my own yet.