St. Anne's Church
Last night was date night for my honey and me. We piled into the car around 7 PM and headed to southwest Detroit and Mexican Town where we had dinner at Los Galenes restaurant. He had the margarita, I had the cerveza, and we both ate a lot of food. This particular restaurant is my favorite in this part of town and lucky for us, it's not the busiest or most popular restaurant down there, but, shhhh...it's our secret. We were seated immediately and finished in no time at all. Not bad for a Saturday night.
For dessert, we decided to drive down Jefferson and through Grosse Pointe on our way to the ice cream parlor that has the best frozen custard in town. Near the border of Grosse Pointe, we could see Jefferson was blocked by big top tents. I don't know if it was a festival, carnival or revival of sorts, but in the background, we could see thick, billowing black smoke rising into the sky. We had to drive down side streets to get around the big top tents and had a tour of the urban devastation so common in Detroit: burned out shells of what were once beautiful homes and neighborhoods, and wide open spaces which were once housing tracts. Utter blight and only a stone's throw from Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and the wealthy Grosse Pointe communities. In all of the big cities I've seen, I've never seen the likes of the destruction so prevalent on the lower east side of Detroit. I wonder what the French priest, Father Gabriel Richard, would think of Detroit these days. I thought about him because we drove past St. Anne's Church, the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic church in the United States, in Mexican Town where he was a priest in 1796 (the church was founded in 1701). Detroit's motto is attributed to Father Richard after Detroit and most of his church burned in 1805: Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus. Translated: "We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes". Let's hope that history can repeat itself.
My husband and I presumed, not unreasonably, that the thick smoke rising above the homes was another boarded up Detroit house going up in smoke, and despite the plethora of Detroit Fire Department trucks racing in the direction of the fire, we were wrong. Detroit's DFD was on its way to help out Grosse Pointe Park's fire department. Apparently, someone's grill exploded and ruined dinner and the garage for that family. The fire was incredibly intense and the homes there are packed in like sardines in a can--perhaps the DFD was there to prevent a small fire from becoming an unspeakable tragedy. I got a few pictures on my cell phone camera, but had forgotten my regular camera, so you'll have to imagine what this part of our date looked like to us.
Sadly, the frozen custard joint was closed for the night. Broke my heart. We had to settle for a different parlor's attempt at frozen custard. It was so-so.
On a brighter note, we watched the orange moon rise over Lake St. Clair. Full, low in the sky and stunningly beautiful, I couldn't help but be secretly thrilled that for once, I wasn't working on a full moon hospice night. I thanked my lucky stars.
Two more days to work and my vacation will start in earnest.
What did you do this weekend?
Photo, Wikimedia, from the U.S. Register of Historical Places