Citizens Report American Irish Culture

Danahey on the Loose in Michigan, Episode 2

Inspired by all the Netflix I’ve been watching, I am writing about my trip to Michigan in episodes. This way, you can binge read them.

In a way, it’s what most people do when they watch a Netflix anyway. They find online recaps to see if the show is worth plopping down on the couch for all weekend.

To make the posts into an actual Netflix series (recaps), though, at some point I’ll need to add time travel, a guy who looks like Cillian Murphy, sex, violence and conflict. I’ll need a cool soundtrack, too.

Tom usually has some 80s Sirius channel on in the Navigator, or Ozzie’s Boneyard. Actually, that could work. For our Michigan travels, Bob Seger and Madonna on the 80s station sufficed.

Anyway, full from New Buffalo Bill’s brisket, Tom humming along to “Like a Virgin” we hit the road toward Saginaw.

Saginaw Michigan is the title of a country song recorded by Lefty Frizzell 55 years ago. It’s about a guy from Saginaw who can’t marry his gal because her dad forbids it. The guy is a poor fisherman, and the gal is from rich stock.

So the guy heads to Alaska to look for gold. He writes back to his sweetie that he hit the biggest strike in Klondike history. He heads back to Saginaw to get hitched, and his father-in-law buys his Klondike claim.

The guy lied. He didn’t find any gold. He tricked his father-in-law into taking his worthless claim. But nobody in Saginaw misses the greedy SOB, so it’s all good.

We were heading to a wedding, too, but under less duplicitous conditions. Sort of.

Past family ties, a prime reason Tom wanted to go to the wedding was to hit our two next stops. First up: Tony’s Restaurant in Birch Run. Tony’s is food show famous and crisps up about 11,000 pounds of bacon a week.

Tom’s quest – the bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich featuring one full pound of bacon.

Tom ate the whole mouth-watering mountain of meat. I opted for a turkey bacon club. Mark went pastrami, and rightly so. Their dad had smelt – pronounced shmelt in Michigan – which was the least tasty item. I think Lefty Frizzell’s dad caught the little fish.

As if that weren’t enough food for one day, our night moves next took us to Mooney’s Ice Cream & Cakes in Saginaw.


Mooney’s holds childhood memories for Tom and Mark. Their dad used to take them there on visits back to Michigan. Nostalgia or not, and original space or not they serve huge portions so good you don’t mind if they drip on your clothes.

Tom looked so happy there, it’s as if we stepped into our Netflix-series-required portal through time. He was a boy again, holding a hard flavor-filled cone he loved.

Our bellies beyond full, we drove to the Holiday Inn Express. Not yet ready to settle down for a long pre-winter’s nap, we hit the hot tub and pool. Well, we left pops back in the room, asleep in his pajamas, maybe dreaming of the waitress he hugged.

After all that eating, a jaunt to the pool area was a good idea. See, we no longer felt fat. In fact, from what we saw there, we were Michigan skinny.

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