Tif Returns; Mitten Smitten, and other sentiments involving home, people and sitting on floors.

Michigan is an incredible place to have grown up.

Michigan is an awesome place to have grown up.

Michigan is a place where I grew up.

There is a song written by the singer/songwriting duo, Simon & Garfunkel called America. This song introduces you to images of nostalgia for places you, today’s blog reader, have more than likely never been. These images are expertly painted, the brush strokes both wide and sweeping yet sincerely specific. Growing up, this song was played through the PA system in the gym while accompanying every graduation slide show. At 19, I would hear it in tiny apartments while my friends and I drank from jugs of Carlo Rossi and smoked indoors. Back then, in Michigan, you could smoke anywhere. That was ten years ago. Now when I go back, there is very little drinking with friends. Almost everyone has moved away, even the ones you knew would never move away. The apartments and homes are still there, but they are occupied by younger versions of me and my friends. I have a feeling they aren’t actually much like us, though. It is hard to picture versions of the people we were still able to exist in the place we lived. It’s hard to picture the people we were ever being replicated outside some adorable coming of age story, written by me. In case you don’t know where I’m talking about, in case you have no idea what the song America has to do with any of this, I’ll put it plainly; I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan.

Next Monday, Malic, Kurt, Brenda, Taylor F and myself will pack up a rental van and head towards Ann Arbor, the first stop on our Michigan Tour. Dan will meet us there; his friend just had a baby so he’s going early. We will be doing three performances in three cities; Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Lapeer. I will leave the specifics up to our social media to tell you the whens and the wheres. It would interrupt the flow of this post and I’m writing it at work so flow is very important right now. We will also be spending a night in Detroit, at an urban duck farm, just for fun. And next Friday, we will be in my home town, sleeping on my mom’s floor, just for fun.

Michigan is a beautiful and weird place to grow up. One of my favorite ways to remember this place is by telling my new friends stories about my old friends. If I could, I would bring all of the people in my life now back to my home town to stay for a night or two. But we’d have to also be able to go back in time because home now is not the same thing as home then. For now, this tour will have to do. If you asked my honest opinion, I’d say America is an OK song. Perhaps not as great as some would want you to believe, but it is good. A better song? Saginaw, Michigan. Listen to the Johnny Cash version. Preferably while sitting on the floor, with a group of your friends, treating a jug of wine as your campfire.

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