Memorial Day

There’s no better time than the present to remember that freedom isn’t free. I found this man in the far corner of a cemetery on Sunday. I don’t know his story but am grateful that there are still veterans organizations and volunteers who make sure that he is remembered.

Have a good day, friends. Let’s all take a moment to remember what Memorial Day is really about.

Happiness Is…

Happiness is a homemade meal that comes together in mere minutes. This veggie enchilada dish allowed me to use up odds and ends of yellow squash, onion, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and spinach that might have been wasted. It took just a few minutes to prep and twenty minutes to bake!

Happiness is also homemade “Nicecream” made in the blender with just three ingredients – all of which have names you can pronounce!

Go For A Drive

Because a pretty barn deserves to be seen! This one is somewhere between Marietta and McConnelsville in Ohio and encourages the sale of Melo Crown Stogies.

Go for a drive today and see what you can see! It’ll be a hike and a drive for me and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s time to get out of the house for a little fun!

Small Town America

I’ve been on a sort of quest for the last couple of years to find and informally document small town America. It’s fun to listen to the breakfast conversations of strangers and to chat with the shop owner who knows the story behind the painting you’re buying.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the people I’ve met and places I’ve been and wonder how they are and how badly they’ve been impacted by the pandemic.

Many of the people I interact with on the road are diner waitresses and small business owners. They’re not wealthy in the first place and their businesses are dependent on tourists.

Unemployment is slow. Stimulus checks only go so far. I hope they’re ok and look forward to getting back out there on the road to meet more folks and leave a little money behind.

The picture above is from downtown Mansfield, Ohio. The diner is a local greasy spoon where the waitress automatically poured a drink for the elderly woman at the table next to mine. It’s nothing fancy but the service was good and the prices fair. I hope that elderly lady is ok too.

Across the street there’s a gorgeous carousel where kids of all ages can take a ride for just a buck. My own mother took her first carousel ride there last fall at the age of 67.

Across town is the Ohio State Reformatory, an old prison that caters to tourists who flock to where they filmed the movie Shawshank Redemption.

Small town America is filled with places and people just like those in Mansfield. All those jobs depend on visitors who can’t come right now. Lots of people like me are dying to get back out there for tours and rides and fun. Let’s hope they’re able to survive and open up again as soon as it’s safe.

Post Covid Bucket List: Travel

I’ve been allowing my mind to wander toward all the places I might physically wander this year.

I’m supposed to fly to Denver to see a friend and then road trip home this summer. The likelihood of that happening seems less and less with each passing day.

Another friend and I were talking about road tripping to DC this year.

Even if states don’t have in place quarantine measures for interstate travel, I question the safety of commercial flying. Not to mention, will the museums and things I want to see be open?

As a thinker and a planner, it is hard for me to have so many questions that are unanswerable today. Flying by the seat of my pants isn’t my way but that’s where we are right now.

If that big trip doesn’t happen, I’m thinking about some fun things to do around Ohio and neighboring states. I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get to see my friend out west this summer but there will be other trips.

What are your 2020 travel plans?

New Plymouth, Ohio

New Plymouth, Ohio was once a busy little place. Like most small towns, there were more people and businesses that have quietly been lost as times have changed.

There’s not much left today but there is still a post office, the one nod from the outside world that the place and it’s people matter.

Driving by one blue sky day, I couldn’t resist stopping to snap a picture of this old school pump outside the post office. It’s one of those scenes unique to rural America. I bet a lot of kids haven’t even seen this style before!

From A Scare To Happy Days

Scout and I had a scare a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful spring evening and I had opened the window for him to enjoy the fresh air and bird song. It’s hard to tell what happened but he somehow pushed the screen loose and tumbled out the window.

I heard it happen and was able to get to him pretty quickly. He was sitting on the ground right where he had landed, looking dazed and confused.

I live in a rural area, surrounded by woods, but the road is busy. Any direction he could run would be dangerous for a cat that has been inside since he was a tiny tot.

He’s fine but we’re both a bit traumatized. I avoid opening any windows and he avoids sitting in that one in particular!

We made a little trip Saturday to the Humane Society in a neighboring county. They were micro chipping pets in a clinic for just $25. So Scout now has a tiny chip in the back of his neck that connects him to some important information including my name and phone number.

If we’re ever separated and he’s taken to a shelter or vet, they’ll check him for a chip and be able to return him to me. He has a nice collar and ID tag but pets are pretty good at slipping collars.

I tell you all that to tell you this.

If you ever find a stray animal, take it somewhere to have it checked for a chip. There could be someone out there desperate to find their pet and that chip is their lifeline to being reunited.

So Scout made new friends at the Humane Society. They told him he was a beautiful boy, he enjoyed chin scratches, and he even got a treat. On the trip home, he napped with his mousie and was ready to help with chores when we got back.

He’s pictured above supervising the changing of bed sheets. His quality control inspection slowed down the process but I didn’t have the heart to make him move. He rolled around in those dirty sheets for a few minutes before taking a cat nap.

We were both home together and all was right with the world.