Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Remembering American Legion Post 282--injector style

Almost 2 years ago kk gave me a surprise 30th birthday party. She planned every detail of it behind my back. She formed a committee of friends and family who helped her get it all together and in turn I was given the bestest party ever.

Well on Sunday the place where she had this fantastic bash burned to the ground.

In 2006, K got my dad in on the planning for the party—he is an army vet—so he was able to join the American Legion. And kk then booked the basement of American Legion Post 282 in Ypsilanti for the festivities.

My dad called me today to tell me that he had been out to the Taylor American Legion Post to give them a roof estimate and that they informed him Post 282 had been destroyed by fire. Unbeknownst to me or kk, my dad had been keeping up his membership with the Legion since my party and just yesterday he had received his 2008 member card in the mail…He thought it all very coincidental. I had found out about the blaze via the newspaper, but my daddy’s continuation of his membership news really is sticking with me.

Ypsi Fire Fighters at credit All Things Ypsilanti

I am so sad about the burnage.

The day of my party kk had told me that we were heading down to Detroit to eat dinner with a small, intimate group of friends for my birthday. Then I got this call from my good friend t, who was going to come with us to Detroit, she was a bit frantic, “the saab broke down, and R (her girl-who was also going to come with) and I had it out and I am stuck in the parking lot of the American Legion on Huron. Can you come get me? Do you know where it is?”

My response, “um, yeah, I think I know where it is, and yes, I am on my way to get you.”

I drove into the parking lot and R (T’s girl) was there—I should have been suspicious, but I was oblivious—with the hood of the old saab all propped up. R said, “some old guy down in the basement has some jumper cables; will you come down there with me to get them.”

I said, “yes, let’s go get em.”

Then we traversed through the whole Legion—the back bar area with big screen TVs, photos of Legion members in uniform plastered to the walls, and well-stocked cheap liquor shelved immaculately behind a long, always used bar—through some more, non-descript doors and down some stairs to a basement full up of friends and family screaming out, “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise.”

Boy, was I surprised. Post 282 reminded me of the Fellowship Hall of the church I was raised up in. The place within the church where all kinds of events were held and where my family spent way too much time attending wedding showers, baby showers, church potlucks, large Sunday school classes.

The Basement Hall--waiting for me to arrive...

Kk adapted the not so good for you mid-west/southern food theme that is frequently served up in those church basements and went all out with it. My family and friends had brought the following foods in mass:

Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on wonder bread
Peanut butter and banana on wonder bread
Jello-fruit salad
Veggie sloppy joe with wonder-like bread buns
Potato salad
Better-maid potato chips
A chocolate fountain with all kinds of sweets for dipping
And an enormous sheet cake with a beautiful photo of the late great Johnny Cash embedded in the bright white frosting.

A keg of bud-light which we had tapped out early in the evening—so folks headed to the well-stocked liquor bar upstairs.
Followed by a fifth of Maker’s Mark to finish off the evening

Besides food, kk had arranged for a rockabilly band called the wailin elroys to play music for the evening. She had tried to book Wanda Jackson the Queen of Rockabilly but was short $3000 so instead kk arranged (at no cost) for Wanda to call me and sing to me over the phone Happy Birthday in the parking lot of Post 282. I listened to her crackily, rough twangy voice and looked out on my favorite River (the Huron ) on a beautiful april evening in Ypsilanti with the building next to me full up of the people I love dancing and eating and drinking and talking and having a real fun time (my nephews break danced to rockabilly—oh so cute).

The wailin elroys being introduced by A!

Now Post 282 is totally destroyed. I am so thankful for the memories of 30th b-day party fun at Post 282. And really happy to know that my dad’s membership can still get me into any American Legion (or so he says; he’s going to give me a photo copy of his membership card next time I see him)—so bottoms up to Post 282!

1 comment:

starrhillgirl said...

You're a blog star these days!
That was a beautiful post - such the testament to your community. And your girl. And that building. Fabulous.