All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Thursday, July 5, 2018

On BIG visual experiences for former prisoners

It was the summer of 1964. As a young radio station owner/manager, I had attended a meeting in the City of Grand Haven, but had left my car downtown. Mayor Bill Creason offered to give me a ride. As we turned west on the main street, the sun was setting and the Musical Fountain was performing. The view was stunning! “I am so bullish on Grand Haven,” said the Mayor. I’ve never forgotten that visual experience, or that statement.

When pulling our camper to Little Glen Lake each summer, my little buddy Matthew, riding in the front seat with me, would watch for that first view of the lake’s heavenly blue water as we crested a hill on northbound M-22.

When heading to the Upper Peninsula, I never tired of looking north as I drove over the last bridge on US 31 before it joins I-75. I savored that first glimpse of the “Mighty Mac.”

These experiences are coming back to me after a telephone chat this afternoon with my friend Deno, recently released from prison after serving 48 years. A few weeks ago he came to Grand Haven, at my request, to do some video work. Upon completion of our recording session, I put him in the front seat of my car, and headed west. There’s a spot where the road makes a sweeping turn at the top of a hill…and at that moment one gets a perfect view of Lake Michigan, including the Grand Haven State Park and our iconic lighthouse.

Deno is still talking about it! He can’t forget it! My conversations with prisoners, in preparing these video presentations, have given me a new appreciation for the “little things.” Two guys who spent more than 40 years in prison, for example, became emotional when explaining that, for the first time in more than four decades they were able to take a ride unshackled. “And,” added Deno, “the chance to ride in the front seat!”

So, in this day and age of major problems and issues, I encourage you to give thanks for the little things, especially the delightful visual experiences that we take for granted each day. Savor the little things…the little things that 39,000 people in Michigan would give almost anything to experience.

“If we lose sight of pleasures and luxuries that intoxicate the senses in the most sensuous and beautiful and simplest of ways, then we`ve lost a lot.”
― Savannah Page

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