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Listening to the quiet noise

Brunch with Becks is an ongoing weekend series where I wax poetic on tales from my life starting with the 9 Truths. Yes, I too can’t comprehend that all these odd occurrences have happened to me.

Today, I take a break from the Truths to tell you about how I spent my simple yesterday.

We walked into Nancy Whiskey’s in north Corktown to see a handful of regulars sitting at the bar. The old neighborhood joint welcomed us with open arms, making jokes and patting us on the back like old friends.

Our table was close to the open door, letting the sunshine stream indoors. We notice a party bus pull up outside and 20 people, all over 50 years old, piled out. They were an Irish band from Port Huron and their fans.

The busload of people took over the bar, to the delight of everyone. The band played, the ladies danced and all of a sudden it was like St. Patrick’s Day in May. After a short set the group walked back to the bus, they had another bar or two to hit on their “Detroit tour.”

The night before I had met Greg Hartle and invited him to stop by. He’s traveling to all 50 states, starting with only $10 and a laptop. Our entire country is going through an economic downturn and Greg is showing people how they can rebuild their lives. It’s not about resources, he tells us, but about “personal resourcefulness.”

Greg started his journey on the west coast and he’s in Detroit now, traveling to Pittsburgh next and then on to New York City. He’s picked up odd jobs and relied on the generosity of strangers and social network tools to connect with entrepreneurs.

Our next guest finally arrived. I met Cristian on Twitter; he’s an Englishman visiting the U.S. for the first time. The reason I picked this bar, on this night, was its close proximity to the new Hostel Detroit, where Cristian is staying. He’s mainly here for the music and staying in the city until the Movement Electronic Music Festival is over.

He tells me that the hostel is so busy that people are setting up tents in the backyard. A few others that are staying in the hostel walked into the bar. Sharon is from Kerry, Ireland but now lives in Wales. She doesn’t want to leave Detroit this week. Tom is from London, Nim is a Yorkshire lass now living in Edinburgh.

They are all loving Detroit. They all don’t want to leave.

When I asked Greg about his experiences in Detroit he described “a quiet noise, a rumbling.” People are making a difference, building businesses and changing the city in a quiet way. Put your ear to the door and you’ll be able to hear it.

A splendid day to be at Eastern Market and Sharon enjoying a PBR at Nancy Whiskey's.

Earlier in the day we were amidst the hubbub of Eastern Market and took an afternoon drive around Belle Isle. As night fell, I stood in the backyard of the bar talking to people who came to Detroit for a vacation and to learn. I can see the Ambassador Bridge and Michigan Central Station peeking over the fence as a blues band takes the stage.

We got in the car to drive home and “Paradise City” was on the radio. We sang along loudly. And I remember the day I asked my husband to take me home to Detroit. “I want to go, I want to know. Oh, won’t you please take me home.”

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Reader Comments (9)

Great to hear. And great read!

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Thanks Melissa! It's been a great weekend.

May 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

A well-chosen spot + ideal timing = magic moments in Detroit

Thanks for sharing good news and strong impressions, Becks, and for making magic happen by turning strangers into acquaintances. What a fabulous ambassador you are!

You've got action, crisp dialog and documentary-style scenes. Next time, shoot video too. ;-}

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Stamm

Thanks for the kind words, Alan. I wish I would have shot some video! I even had my Flip camera with me. Next time, for sure.

May 22, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Love Nancy Whiskys! I went there once around 6:30 and yes, same old regulars there. But I popped open my laptop because WXYZ News was on. Steven Clark got in on it because on the Backchannel he told me to tell the bartender that if he flips his pen in the air, they would owe me a drink.. They really got a kick out of the backchannel at Nancy Whiskys!

May 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToka313

Love this and want to link to it. Is it OK if we use a photo?

May 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJewel

I remember when you were at Nancy Whiskey's & that happened from the Twitter stream.

Of course you can link to it. I'll send you a message.

May 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Choke, Smile......Thank you!

May 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOLD DUDE

Sounds like a great day! And so wonderful to hear that the hostel is off to a roaring start.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSven Gustafson

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