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Essays by Karen Anderson: Shifting Gears

Illustration by Kacie Brown

My daughter and I were on vacation in Mackinaw City, a little tourist town at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. For dinner, we decided to try the Key Hole Bar which looked like a good local place for hamburgers and a beer.

While ordering the beers, however, we realized that Sara had left her ID at the motel. “She’s twenty-five,” I told the waitress. “I’m her mother and I know.” My testimonial was not persuasive so we settled for two burgers.

Of course we respected the waitress’s integrity, but we were also thirsty. And we were on vacation. So, on our way back to the motel, we bought a six-pack of beer. Not just any beer but Heineken’s, the Dutch brew in a green bottle and a favorite for special occasions.

With two beers and a bag of chips, we sat out on our little balcony to enjoy the view—and what a view! Nearby on our left, the Mackinaw Bridge rose in a graceful arc over Lake Michigan and we stared at its soaring towers and twinkling lights.

“What a great idea,” Sara said, lifting her green bottle in a toast. Well, we talked and laughed for a couple hours on the little balcony with a view, grateful for the waitress who said no.

Sometimes shifting gears takes you to a better place.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.