The Traveling Wall

Vietnam Wall --The traveling Vietnam Wall came to Chillicothe last week. I’ve seen it before and have been to the real wall in Washington but I will go every time it’s in the area. It’s nice to see this traveling memorial come to small towns across America and for so many people come out to see it.

People had left a few flowers and mementos.

There were people of all ages and backgrounds –  a man and his young daughter, retirees, veterans and families.

There was also a museum, military vehicles and memorabilia from Vietnam and World War II.

Plus the VA always looks so nice.

Seeing all those names – rows and rows of names – is a somber reminder of the price that was paid by so many.

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Chillicothe Ghost Walk

Yesterday I told you about meeting a ghost during my visit to Crosskeys Tavern. The rest of the ghost walk was pretty uneventful where the otherworldly are concerned but I had a great time anyway.

Thought you might enjoy a few more pictures from the tour sites.

The Majestic Theater is one of my favorite places in Chillicothe but I’m always a little sad at how unloved it has been for many years. Thankfully, there is some activity afoot and plans are underway to at least triage the grand ballroom upstairs. Community theater performances, comedy shows and bands sometimes use the stage here. About once a month they show old movies for just $5 a ticket. Go, if you can. There’s never many people and it’s fun to see movies like Pretty Woman and others on the big screen.

 

Plans to go inside the Foulke Block didn’t work out but we still had a great tour of the outside here. I had no idea that there is a walkway and basement access to storefronts underneath the sidewalk.

I’ve been by this staircase many times but never gave it a second thought.

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This is what’s happening underneath the sidewalk!

chillicothe faulks sidewalk use

One of our tour guides indicated that there once were more of these walkways in town but they have succumbed to age and progress. I’m not sure if it was this guide but I like his style and he did a nice job.

chillicothe foulks tour guide

I also thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Odd Fellows Lodge. This group is sort of a mystery to me but I know Vinton County once had three lodges. They’re all gone but the Odd Fellows continue to this day in other communities.

Chillicothe oddfellowschillicothe oddfellows floorChillicothe oddfellows altar and windowchillicothe oddfellows altar woodwork 2

 

I even got my picture taken standing on the gorgeous old altar of the Odd Fellows. If you’re an Odd Fellow, I’m guessing you will think this is sacrilege. My apologies but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

 

If you’re in the Chillicothe area the next time they have one of these Ghost Walks, my advice is to go. It’s just $10 a ticket and a fun way to pass an afternoon. I had to wait in line at three of five locations but the lines went pretty quickly. I think it took about four hours to do the entire thing and it was extremely interesting and a lot of fun. The event gives you a peak behind the scenes of places you might not otherwise notice.

 

I Met A Ghost Today

crosskeys building

I met a ghost today. At least, that’s what I think happened.

Before I continue, it’s important to note that I’m a pretty firm skeptic where the supernatural is concerned. It’s not that I don’t believe it’s possible, it’s just that I believe there’s usually a logical, scientific reason behind most things that people credit to the other worldly.

Chillicothe hosted a ghost walk today. The $10 admission got you into five buildings where you don’t usually get to go behind the scenes. It was highly educational because the tour guides give the story of each building and of the town which is rich in history. They also told some ghost stories which were fun to hear.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about these buildings and took some mediocre pictures along the way. Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop was once home to a brothel. The Majestic Theater is one of my favorite local places to see a performance but it was used during World War I to house and embalm the dead when the Spanish Influenza found its way to Camp Sherman. Horrifying things happened here.

I enjoyed each stop for different reasons but it was at the Crosskeys Tavern that I had an encounter that even my skeptical brain can’t explain away.

The building, which houses this Irish Pub, dates to the nineteenth century. The bar is spectacular and the public areas are quaint and fun. They call the resident ghost Harold and Harold is known to mess with the lights and electronics, to move things around and to simply be a little playful.

We toured the cellar which connects with a series of tunnels that run underground throughout the town.  On the third floor, there’s a large room that was last remodeled in the seventies and is both horrifyingly tacky and oddly fun to see.

Our tour guide shared with us a story about something that had happened repeatedly throughout this day – a men’s room door that latches when pulled closed but that almost immediately opens without assistance. I was the lucky soul standing closest to the door and she asked me to see if it was closed.

It wasn’t.

So I pulled the door closed. Felt it latch in my hand. Gave it a little push with my other hand and it didn’t budget. As I started to pull my hand away from the knob, it was like someone tugged the door open from the inside.

It was the craziest thing.

And the incident was repeated for a few others in my group. Pull closed. Give it a few seconds. Door opens. Almost without fail.

So there’s my big ghost story. Maybe it’s a flaw in the knob. Maybe there’s another explanation. Who knows? But I like the idea that Harold was having a little fun with our group.

Some people believe that Harold was a gambler who lost his life, cheating in a poker game. Whoever he is, the staff there seem to think he’s friendly and fun.

Since 1973, the Goosetown Astonishers have been playing Dixieland music at Crosskeys. I saw them a couple of times in college but now I want to go hear them play, have a little dinner and maybe meet Harold again!

What do you think? Are ghosts real? Comment and tell me about your personal experiences!

Crosskeys upstairs

1970s chic in the upstairs. 

crosskeys babes

I’m bummed because I didn’t get a picture of the door in question. However, I loved the Babes sign and did manage to take a picture. 

cross keys wallpaper

The fellow who hung wallpaper in the thirties signed his work. 

cross keys gambler

Was Harold murdered in the alley outside because he cheated at poker in this tavern? 

 

 

I’m Getting There

Arches and Canyonlands (22)

Standing on the edge of a cliff in Canyonlands National Park during this summer’s vacation. I’m afraid of heights!

This year has been a personal quest for self betterment. The goals are vast and open. The means to achieve them pretty loose. Get healthy. Learn new things. Explore the world. Make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Read. Write. Listen. Engage.

It’s all been part of a big picture goal to know myself, to be healthy, to be strong and to be a better person.

I’ve spent more time exploring than ever before and have sought ways to connect getting fit with exploring and exploring with spending time with friends and spending time with friends to finding things that inspire me.

It’s turned out to be a pretty good year.

As hard as I’ve tried, there have been some real gaps in the process too. People who are important to me but who make me feel stressed or inadequate are a real challenge. The thought of dating again was overwhelming. Wandering alone in the woods makes me happy but also conveniently removes people from the equation.

Along the way I have forgotten to stop and appreciate how far I’ve come or to realize that maybe I have arrived. That’s not to say that I’m done growing and learning and improving myself but I am healthy and strong again – both physically and mentally. Ha, ha… at least by my standards.

A friend recently recalled watching me work through my difficulties early this year. She said I “pushed through the pain with grit and determination.” It sounds silly but that was the nicest thing she could have said to me. Grit and determination. These are strong words and words that I will forever carry with pride. It was tough but I pushed through and made it out of the darkness and back into the light.

Today I’m holding my own and would venture to say that I’m ready to move on. Or I guess I’m ready to keep moving on. I’ve learned a lot from my successes and my failures over the years. The most valuable lesson is to never lose sight of who you are or to stop working on yourself because of a relationship, a job or for any other reason.

You are all you have at the end of the day and it’s vital that you be true to yourself. Be kind to your body, mind and soul. Look inward as you venture forward and you will better understand your place in the world and you’ll be happier for it. You’ll be a better person, partner and friend.

 

 

Today

Today was warm and humid but the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun was shining. Continuing in my efforts to say yes more often, I went hiking after work.

I breathe better in the woods. My feet were made for moving. I live close to one of Ohio’s most beautiful state parks.

Why wouldn’t I go hiking? 

And I’m so glad I did. The trail was completely empty save for the abundant squirrels, lizards, chipmunks, birds and butterflies. It was peaceful and beautiful and I need to do it more often.