Ok, I’m a little late to say it – I am THRILLED that the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.

Today they bring home the 35-pound gleaming trophy to parade through the streets of downtown Detroit in 90-degree heat. Wednesday night, I let my kids stay up until 9 to watch the game.

“This is boring,” Eliana said. No princesses on ice.

“Go Red Wings!” Shaya’s fists pumped into the air, his belly protruding from his Gap shorts pajamas. “Woo Hoo! Go Wings!” I would’ve captured his cuteness for posterity but Avy took the video camera.

“Now they only need to score two more goals,” Asher said philosophically after our first puck in the net. He was up until after 11 on Monday, into the first OT, watching that disappointing game with me.

“They don’t have to score three times,” I said. “I don’t care how many goals they get as long as they have more than Pittsburgh.” He still didn’t get it.

They grabbed fistfuls of popcorn from a blue glass bowl. Eliana toted a bucket of dried cranberries. They danced around the room as outside, a gray night descended beyond the doorwall. 

We won, the newspapers were splashed with red and white, and this broken city is reveling in the feeling of triumph.

When I moved back to Detroit in 1996, my East Coast friends couldn’t understand why. I said the usual things – family, I’m a Midwesterner at heart, I like a slower pace, more affordable living. But what I discovered after I was back here was that I really identify with an underdog city.

Once, I had lunch in New York with a mentor. As I told her about the different articles I was writing – about Avalon International Breads in Detroit, about Rafal Spice Shop at Eastern Market, about blueberry picking at orchards in Livingston County with my kids, about Steve Yzerman’s ethics – her eyes went wide.

“Wow, I never thought Detroit was so exotic,” she said. “You should write a book called Exotic Detroit. Show the world there IS a reason to travel there.”

Everyone knows New York and Los Angeles and Chicago have impressive restaurants, gleaming skyscrapers, and cutting-edge culture. What do people know about Detroit? Riots, corrupt mayors, diminishing urban population, open fields where grand Victorian homes once stood before they were burned beyond use.

But I take the time to really know my home. I explore the streets of Detroit. I’m not afraid to venture downtown. I discover all of the secrets in the cornerstones. They’re there – if you care to see them.

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