Signs Of The Times

Sign messages can be great fun. They typically give general information but occasionally provide profound wisdom and encouragement. For example, the one above tells us that it’s sweet corn season. Also, Ohio is now under a mask mandate so this Somerset, Ohio grocery owner is telling us to mask up before coming inside.

And the local elementary school reminds us that kindness is important. A church in a neighboring town had a good message too.

Live at peace with everyone. More good advice.

So what’s the takeaway?

Wearing a mask is now mandated in Ohio. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t but I fall into the better safe than sorry camp and tend to believe it’s a minor inconvenience if it can slow the spread of Covid and save a life. If you think differently, that’s your business. I honestly don’t care.

However, it’s not the fault of the small businesses and certainly not their low paid employees that you have to wear a mask inside their establishment. I have heard horror stories about bad customer behavior in stores and restaurants across America. So please do all those people who are just doing their jobs a favor and be kind.

And if that’s a struggle and you believe in God, I suggest you refer to the third sign. “Live at peace with everyone. It’s how Christ lived.”

The Nerdmobile

The Nerdmobile doesn’t get much recognition but I couldn’t do my backroads wandering without it. It’s an Elantra so it’s too low to the ground to safely take on many backroads but we still make it to most places I wish to go.

Truth is, I’m dying to have a Jeep or something a little higher for my adventure trips. I sometimes pass up an enticing road because I don’t want to tear out the underneath of my car.

However, I like the fuel efficiency of the Elantra and am otherwise perfectly happy with this little car.

In fact, it’s probably for the best there are some limitations to my wandering. I’m just grateful that I recognize them!

Hamden Gas and Oil

Even the vacant old gas station in the neighborhood needs some attention once in a while. Those old gas pumps are the best!

This is one of many things I drive by frequently but never stop and really appreciate. The sky was brooding and beautiful that day so I just had to pull over for a quick shot.

It’s For Sale!!

This little gem is parked along the National Road not far from Hebron, Ohio. Best of all, it’s for sale! Who needs a fantastic old tow truck for their collection? The sign in the window says $7,500.

The truck speaks for itself so here’s one more picture. Enjoy this day, friends.

This Old Store

It looks like a place where kids once gathered for penny candy and bottles of Coke. You could probably get a Grape Nehi and a couple slices of bologna wrapped up in wax paper too.

The owners likely swept the sidewalk every morning and knew customers by name. Many tall tales were probably told by men on a bench out front. News was exchanged here in a day before the internet gave us instant access to information but little knowledge of what really matters.

It looks sad today but this old store was once a proud member of a community, a hub for goods and news and human connection. What a joy it would be to go back in time and be a fly on the wall!

Broken Bridge To The Past

Last year I took a walk across the pedestrian bridge that connects Marietta with Old Town. It’s an old railroad bridge that crosses the Muskingum River and it is scary.

While the terrifying aspects of the trip were no fun, this bridge offers great views of the city and the river so I recently went back, planning to brave it once more.

And it was closed.

That’s right. My belief that it was a death trap was accurate. The bridge is now closed. The owners are so adamant about the closure, they actually disconnected a section and turned it around.

The bridge has an interesting history. The piers were built in 1857, according to the local paper. It replaced a covered bridge that once spanned the river. The iron work is old as well. It was last replaced after a big flood in 1913some 107 years ago.

The paper also said that it is one of the oldest swinging railroad bridges in the country and it is the only one of its kind that still turns.

Officials estimate restoration costs to be between two and four million dollars. I cannot imagine where that amount of money could be found for a pedestrian bridge but we can hold onto hope, I suppose.

When I saw that a section had been turned, I was overwhelmed with emotion- first shock because I had no idea that an entire section of bridge could just be turned like that. Then I couldn’t decide if I should be happy because I couldn’t take that long and scary walk, sad for the people who rely on it for utilitarian purposes every day or devastated that a piece of our history is at risk.

And part of me was irritated that I couldn’t face a fear that day.

It was quite the roller coaster of emotions as I stood on the shore, gaping at this spectacular piece of our heritage – literally a bridge to our past broken and possibly soon lost altogether.

And that just made me sad.