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I left Oklahoma for Michigan in July 2007. Had it not been for a sabbatical a couple of years ago spent at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, this would be my ninth year in the state.
It was not until last night, however, that I finally crossed the threshold and joined the locals.
No, I do not now — nor will I ever — hang a University of Michigan flag outside my home. And, no, I feel no attachment to Michigan State.
But there is a rite of passage that outsiders, such as myself, must pass to join the throng; and, as I said, I passed it last night.
After going to mass, my wife, my children, and I had spent the entire day raking leaves. That, each November, is a characteristic Michigander thing to do. We have at least 29 trees on our property and dealing with their excrement is an ordeal of sorts every year. Sunday’s effort was just the beginning. About half of the leaves are down. We will deal with the rest in two weeks.
After the workout, we jumped in the car and headed to Homer, MI to the best pizza joint in the state. Called Cascarelli’s, it has been in operation for eighty years — run by the same family, generation after generation.
On our way home, I passed my baptism of fire. I bagged a deer … with a Honda Odyssey. I can think of six or seven times when this almost happened — when two or three of the hapless beasts appeared suddenly out of a gully, and I just missed clipping one of them. Last night, however, I did not miss … and like many another Michigander car, our vehicle needs a bit of attention.