Detroit Up North 2018.
Bikes & Coffee heads up north every year for a weekend away filled with friends and strangers alike.
We set off for Port Austin on Thursday to immerse ourselves in the last bit of summer “up north.” One last chance to check out before winter starts creeping in.
Just like previous years, we set up at the farmers market on Saturday, offering up cold brews and pour over coffee all morning. But this particular Saturday ended up being a bit different than the last few years. Little did we know while we were packing up and getting ready for the day, a local farmer was also loading up a box of kittens to bring down to the market.
A couple hours into the morning, sitting there, minding our own business, our friends Paige and Mike show up with the tiniest kitten in their arms. After only a moment we learned of the box of free kittens and ventured over to the table surrounded by people. We spot our friend Vince holding the tiniest little guy. I asked Vince, “You taking that one?”
“Nope, I’ve already got two cats.”
“Okay let’s go! I’ll have that one.”
I looked at the farmer told him that one was mine and it was all history.
We’ve acquired the kitten!
Back at the van, we’re hanging with our friends and newest additions. We spent the morning in awe of the little guy. After only a few moments of having him, I dubbed him the Mayor of Port Austin, “Mr. Port Austin, Himself.” and from that day on our guy “Port” was a part of the crew.
He wasn’t a part of the plan. He just happened to be there and with open arms we welcomed him into our lives. One month before opening the cafe might not have been the best time to grab a kitten and become a cat dad. But fuck it, when is the right time?
Fast forward. We’ve gotten through winter, spring has arrived and the kitten is loving his new life in Detroit. The day I grabbed him I had no clue how impactful he would be. I watched him light up people’s lives day in and day out. People of all walks would come to the cafe to love on Port. I’d watch grown men melt at his cuteness. People would bring the kids by for a coffee and a play date. Port was in heaven, spoiled rotten. He had to be one of the most beloved cats to roam the alleys of Woodbridge.
Unfortunately this story takes a turn for the worse.
I probably wouldn’t be writing about this cat if he was still with us.
At the end of July the little guy was struck by a vehicle in the alley and didn’t make it. He didn’t suffer. I bet he didn’t even know what hit him.
He was an Alley Cat, a shop cat, a best friend, a friendly neighbor, a wild adventurer and a cream cheese thief. He was “Mr. Port Austin, Himself.”
Although his time was short his impact was HUGE. I had no idea how far his reach was. He’d roam around Woodbridge terrorizing dogs, sneak into the neighbor’s house to nibble on their cat’s food or welcome you home after a long day of work. If you lived within a few blocks of the shop you likely crossed paths with Port. He made his daily rounds, possibly joining you for a smoke on your front porch or escorting you back to the cafe for a beverage. He really became a neighborhood cat.
I want to take this time to thank ALL of you! The love you showed Port during his short time here and the support you showed when we lost him. You’ve all been amazing. Amazing strangers, amazing customers and amazing friends.