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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Church of Mike

I spent the next two days really just hangin out at the shop, listening to music, organizing Mike's files (his filing system is only slightly better than mine) and just generally chillaxing.  Our constant companions were his blue heeler, Zoe and Vern, a cat named after our contracts teacher in law school.  Vern Davidson was OLD SCHOOL, hard core Socratic method type guy, who also like to through blackboard erasers as students and once told me that my writing resembled a "non native speaker".  Thanks.

Mike is sort of my hero in a lot ways.  After years of being a lawyer, he worked nights for 3 years as a waiter (whilst still working full time as a lawyer during the day) in order to save enough to buy his own bike shop.  And Mike isn't a stranger to personal loss or set backs, so we understand each, although Mike is further along than I am in a lot of ways.  But the coolest thing about Mike is that he worked for his dream and lives it every day.  I would be hard pressed to find anyone else who is as alive and happy as Mike is.  Its a good reminder that even if the road is rough, if you keep your eyes on the dream it is worth it.

One night I make Mike my classic "spaghetti ala sara" which is pretty much me improvising with garlic, olive oil and whatever I can scrounge at the local supermarket (in this case, capsicum, capers, basil, parsley, lemon and Parmesan cheese).  Its my favorite summer pasta because its light and fresh and I can just improvise the whole thing. Later that evening, we drive out to Shaker Heights to meet Mike's brother Jeff.  Shaker Heights is an incredibly wealthy neighbourhood; large colonial houses and ancient oaks abound.  For so many people, this place represents the american dream but for me, I would rather live in Mike's church, a place of character, than live in a huge place in Shaker Heights.

Mike's brother is a really nice guy and he has a lovely home.  We sit around, chat over beers for a bit and then go back to the Church of Mike.  I've been a restless sleeper and wake up, looking at the gilded dome in the middle of the night, with the moonlight streaming into the old church.  It's an almost magical feeling to watch the light change through the windows throughout the night; from the moonlight to sunrise.  I feel calm and at peace.
Being with Mike is great; it reminds me of a much more innocent and kinder Sara, who hosted murder mystery parties, cooked soup for sick friends and once dobbed in a school mate because he resembled a local serial killer (true story; sadly the class mate turned out not to be a serial killer, that would have made the story a lot more interesting).  
I walked around the neighborhood of Bedford, where Mike lives, and saw a deer and her fawn munching on an apple tree in the front yard of a house.  The whole area feels like a mix between western openness and eastern architecture.  I sort of fall in love a little bit with the area (Cleveland, who knew?  For the kiwis, its like falling in love with Waimate...the SHAME!).

In the shop next door to Mike's is an old grand piano.  I ask the shop keepers if I can play it and they say sure.  Poor guys, I played it for about an hour each day, writing new music and playing with old tunes too.  Some of the yellowed ivory keys stick a bit but she plays beautifully.

My time goes by too quickly and before I know it, Mike is dropping me off at the airport.  I am sad to go but as always, excited about the adventure that awaits...what awaits is NYC and Katie!!!  The flights are easy as and I spend them in silence. One thing I notice is that everyone here is distracted with I-Phones, I-pods or mp3s or talking to someone.  No one just sits and thinks while waiting.  I do.  I don't read a book or distract myself; I just sit and think.  It is a wonderful feeling to be at peace with your own thoughts.

Anyway, Katie was my maid of honour when I got married and has generally been my rock for years.  I love the girl like a sister (shhhh don't tell her!  I don't want that cow thinking too much of herself).  Katie left the island of Oahu for New York about three years ago.  She lives in Brooklyn, a very charming place although less so at 1 a.m., which is about the time my taxi pulls up.

We catch up briefly, make plans for then next day...adventure and the city call... 


  1. My dear friend, your evocative writing makes me feel like I am taking this adventure with you. I continue to be entranced by your thoughts and experiences as you have so beautifully described them; I certainly feel "you" coming through the words. I'm walkin' with you. Love H xxx

  2. Tell me more about the bike shop!!!

    Sounds like you're having a blast.