Rainy Day Breakfast with George, Stevie, and BB

Rainy day in Eastern Market

“I should have stayed in bed. This was the perfect day to stay in bed. Oh great, my jacket is leaking.” Yesterday started out as one of those days where you could swear the universe lined up a nice, little series of tests to check your spirit. And man was I failing.

Having already pushed things too far with aggressive use of the snooze button, I was late for boxing and also had a serious summer downpour to deal with. I wanted to quit, bail, and crawl back under the covers right then. But coach was expecting me, and I couldn’t call off. I didn’t even have his number. As I begrudgingly pulled on my rain gear over my workout clothes and prepped for a hot, sticky ride, I already hated everything about this Monday. “Couldn’t we just have one more day in the holiday weekend?”

The rain continued and filled the rutted streets with lakes of indeterminable depths. I was sure I was going to dump myself off the bike and break an arm. I’d forgotten to fix my front fender, and the rubber splash guard flapped precariously and threatened to fall off. “Why did I get rid of my car? It would be nice to have a car. My feet are soaked.”

Had there been anyone around when I rolled up to the parking lot, they would have heard my heart sink further: the gate was still locked. Nobody was there. “Great.” Seeking shelter under an overhang, I Instagrammed idly in an attempt to make myself feel better and pondered just how long I had to wait before I could ditch with a clean conscience. When a fellow gym mate pulled up and relayed the message that coach was stuck in traffic and would be another 20 minutes, that was it. This was just not going to happen. Soaked and feeling sorry for myself, I grumpily rode off toward a nearby coffee shop to grab a cup to go.

But it was still too early, and they hadn’t opened yet for the day. “Of course they’re closed.” The gremlins in my brain gained real strength, and I was in the full throes of One of Those Days. At this point, I should have made a u-turn toward home. Instead I kept riding toward the end of the block, noticing, “Ah hah! Russell Street Deli is open.”

And that’s when the day turned on a dime.

Inside out at Russell Street DeliFor those of you that don’t live in Detroit, Russell Street Deli is a fixture in the city. On the weekends, they crank out omelettes and pancakes for swarms of locals and tourists who clog the sidewalk out front happily waiting in line for upwards of an hour. During the week, they serve to-die-for soups and sandwiches to downtown workers who pop over to Eastern Market for lunch. To get in without a wait is amazing.

To walk in and be the only customer there is shocking. Mentally letting go of the workout session that was never meant to be, I embraced what was most definitely about to be: breakfast! My server was happy to have something to do and quickly rounded up the coffee which I so desperately needed. Coming out of the haze of my own pity party, I sat and watched the market workers on the wet sidewalks. They rolled in and out with dollies of produce from idling trucks double-parked in the street. The smell of frying bacon filled the cafe, and the rain was letting up.

Fully out of my former grump fest now, I noticed the music for the first time. “Is that George Clinton? Is he singing about… a monkey? Who is happy with his peanut machine?” Sure enough he was. Parliament’s “The Goose” was followed up by Stevie Wonder who insisted girl, you’ve “Met Your Match.” Olu Dara, Shuggie Otis, Sam Cooke, BB King, and Ted Hawkins kept it coming.

“What had been my problem anyway? Wasn’t I used to riding in the rain after all of those years in the Pacific Northwest? Who cares if the gym was closed? You didn’t even want to go in the first place.”

Then I found myself commenting out loud to nobody at all, “What a great morning! I love this town.”

Coffee and breakfast possibilities at Russell Street Deli

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