Category Archives: bicycling

World Views

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When people give me a film recommendation, I take this with a ‘grain of

salt.’ There are so many different interests, particular patterns to people’s

choices in what they choose to watch. This is true of television, movies,

theater, music and cultural events. There are some universal choices that

almost everyone enjoys once in awhile. International movies, where the

cinematography and images are breath-taking and fantastic, are ones that

I am thrilled to receive from someone I admire and pass on to others, too.

My friend, Beth, who writes about all kinds of international subjects,

along with her home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan and her little ones

that she teaches, included “Vivan Las Antiopodes” as one of her posts.

Here is her blog:

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com

We have some kindred sisterhood, which I admit I have been close to

several other bloggers along the way, with similar tastes and interests.

Beth has a reason for her interest in Australia and grandchildren, yet

even I am sometimes surprised at such details as liking the same kind

of ice cream that we have connections beyond what I generally find in

my community and home town.

So, to get this movie, I had to mention my interest to the librarian,

who got online to seek whether it was located in our own library or

a part of our district library in Delaware County. Nope! It was from

Greene County, Ohio, the town of Xenia, where this film was sent for.

I watched it and took notes. I then re-watched it while eating dinner

the next night. It is awesome, beyond description in its simple theme

of how across the world, we are all similar. It is complex, in its terrains

and cultural differences. These four cities, chosen because they are

exactly diametrically opposed on the globe, are called, “antipodes.”

If you watch this, the picture gradually slants from the one place to

glide effortlessly, circuitously into the other one. It is hard to explain

but it shows the world on its axis, so to speak, literally turning from

the one location to the next. The dizzying effect is exhilarating!

 

Then it is philosophical, here in my own words, I try to explain the

effect this film had upon me:

 

“We are all mankind.

Look at us, trying to eke out existence where there are few resources.

This is for the desert and sparse land where hardly any green exists.

Where there are miles between homes, across divergent tundras of land.

Trying to make our way among a crowded city, winding between others,

taking care not to enter the personal spaces, but sometimes colliding.”

 

I felt the movie has themes that are universal, no need to try to interpret

or have the languages translated. Why worry about the subtexts? Just

watch this movie for all the reasons Beth mentioned, along with this

short summary of textures I tried to capture in words. There are so many

dimensions, you will see this if you check out Beth’s post on this, too.

 

Swans

Birds

Giraffes

Farmers

Workers

Shearers

Sheep

 

Joy

Dances

Ukulele

Expressions

Discordant tones

Musical instruments

Melodic chants

Staccato “coos”

Dissonant

Calm

 

Round

and

Round

 

Sparse

Simple

Solidarity

Separate

Solitude

 

Fluid

Flows

Frost

Foliage

Fields

 

Round

and

Round

 

Carts

Riders

Walkers

Bicyclists

Complicated

Intertwining

Rickshaw

Vehicles

Trucks

Cars

 

Stark

Rocky

Barren

Beauty

Splendor

Horizons

Grassy

Beach

Lush

 

Men

Women

Diversity

Young

Old

 

 

 

 

Cleveland and the World Sports

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This is a great day for sports around the world. The beginning of “Le

Tour de France,” the Sprint Cup, following NASCAR rules at Daytona

Beach, the continuation of the World Cup FIMA Soccer rounds, and

last but not least, I have to hope that the Cleveland Indians will ‘rally’

and win against the Kansas City Royals.

I will be seeing KC Royals vs. Indians game, down in the nicely positioned

Progressive Field, hoping that the local Clevelanders are ‘wrong’ and that

we won’t experience any more ‘stage fright!’ We lost last night’s game,

with the score of 7-1, in our game against the Royals. We went into our

July 4th game, with some good statistics. Our Tribes held a .543 average

winning percentage of 83 wins to 74 losses.

I am looking forward to the firecracker display over Progressive Field,

with my brothers and sister in law. One in the group, complaining that

the music of KISS will be accompanying the fireworks. I am hoping my

presence alone will help us win! (Ha ha! This little Cleveland native, who

was baptized in Parma, Ohio, will have to cross her fingers, just like the

rest of the fans!)

I was sorry to read that the 22 year old Brazilian soccer player,  Neymar,

was seriously injured with a broken vertibra, changing the chances of his

team. The four goals he managed to accomplish in the first 3 World Cup

matches, has created a stronghold of youth who are very disappointed.

The Brazilian ‘hero’ will be still admired, kids will continue to be proud

of his accomplishments and be hopefully inspired by his abilities.

In Leeds, England the Tour de France started, a tradition since 101 years

ago. This race, as you know, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, goes

from England through the countries of Belgium and Spain, circling through

France. In the first leg or “Stage” the candidate favored to win, is Mark

Cavendish, who has had 26 times won this victory. It goes from Leeds to

Harr0gate, where his mother was born.

The other possible winners of the Tour de France are Chris Froome, (29 year

old from Kenya, raised as a Brit), from “Team Sky” and 2 time Champ, Alberto

Contador, (31 year old from Spain) from “Tinkoff-Saxo Bank” team. Or you

could wish to see the Italian, Vincenzo Nibali or one of the other Spanish

contenders, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez. I like to watch the

bicyclists, but mostly watch the unusual terrain and scenery. The cobblestones

and the different summits, throughout the European countrysides are so

beautiful to see. Many of the challenging roads that the cyclists tackle are ones

from the beginning race, since 1903.

Following NASCAR rules at the Daytona International Speedway, there were

two laps that had to be postponed due to weather. The setting is one that my

coworker, Kent, loves to watch with his wife. They have been down, almost

every year for the past twenty to watch! I am sure there are a few of you who

may choose this sporting event to watch over the sedate 181 miles of the first

“Stage” of Le Tour de France! It ends on July 26, 2014.  Much faster, right?!

On the last note for this post, my Mom has been a ‘trooper’ throughout all

of her Dr. appointments, the most painful being the podiatrist. She has had

to soak her toes in vinegar water, painting them all except her left big toe,

with a liquid to prevent any infection or fungal growth. The poor left toe,

which was infected, had to have its toenail removed, then we are carefully

drying it, putting a Band-Aid on it, and allowing it to ‘scab over.’ Gross

details, but important to let all of those know that are caretakers, to keep

an eye on your elderly family member’s toes. This could have led to an

infection that may have got into her bloodstream, leading to her heart. We

all tend to think of the teeth and its possibilities of gum disease, but feet

are also important to take care of.

I want to share something special about my Mom, every day is filled with

little moments where she looks so filled with wonder. I think that losing

some of her memory means that she ‘hears’ things that she exclaims,

“I never heard that bird’s song  before!”

Or when she sees some colorful flowers in a garden or in a bouquet at

the bank,

“I have never seen such a gorgeous collection of flowers before!”

These are what carry me through some of those moments when she is

childish and refuses to carry out Dr.’s instructions! It helps to remember

that I was once rebellious and annoyed my Mom, no end!

Go Mom!!

Go Tribe!

Bridges to Span

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In the snap of a finger, poof! Life is too short to worry,

wait on that special thing you wish to do or not cross that

bridge… This is about what chances that you must take,

face what obstacles you reach and tackle them: Head on!

My daughter in law, Trista, left me a text on Wednesday,

it asked for me, the family photographer, to check on any

photographs of her stepmom, Chris. I have known Trista for

almost seven years, her stepmom, six and a half years. Last

Christmas, Chris was told she had anywhere between four months

to a year to live. I snapped several photos, each celebration,

this year, birthdays, Easter, summer pool party, county fair

week, after Thanksgiving party was the last one I took a few

photos of Chris. Trista sounded cheerful in her text message,

“Check in your ‘arsenal’ of photos for ones that have the

kids with Chris.”

I texted her back at lunch, saying: “I will be going to the

library, have Felicia coming over for a movie and Mom night,

will look for pics while watching our Christmas movie.”

Everyone in the family knows we absolutely love the movie,

“Love Actually!” (Warning: it is rated “R” for some very

frank parts with female breasts and the “F” word is used

liberally. But, seriously, it is the BEST Christmas movie,

ever, for adults. Lots of stories weave around the theme

of “love.” We watched it, I found nine very nice photos of

Chris, told Trista that I would stop by on Thursday, after

work.

If you are a “regular” reader, you will note I did nothing

on my wordpress, yesterday. I did post something about Brad

Pitt on Wed. evening before heading home for dinner, snuggles

and a slumber/movie party with the youngest daughter.

Upon arriving at Jamie and Trista’s home on Thursday, I was

sprinting up their stairs to their porch, waited for the

inevitable child to unlock the door and was pounced on by

one of the three dogs. The hugs were pretty long lasting

from my M & M girls. Then, Marley released me, looked up

into my face and said,

“At least you are not dead!”

I looked at Trista, who was working on her homework on her

laptop, and she nodded with her lip trembling just a bit.

“When did this happen? I thought you wanted photos of Chris

because you were making a collage or montage photographic

masterpiece for her Christmas gift?”

She told me,

“I didn’t want to text or call you but Chris passed away on

Wednesday.” (Guilt rose up in me, so ashamed that I didn’t

call or ask what she was needing the photos for.)

Trista quietly said, “It is okay, she is at peace and don’t

feel guilty! I heard from them early in the morning, wanted

to take off with all four children to see her, since the

Hospice caretaker said it would be ‘soon.'”

She added, “Dad told me to take the kids to school, not to

rush and come with the little ones, that would cheer Chris

up. She died while I was on my way to pick up Theresa who

had dropped Hailey off at school, too.” (Theresa is one of

Trista’s best friends.

Jamie peeked out of the delicious and aromatic kitchen and

asked me, “Can you stay for dinner with us, Mom?”

I said, “I can help however I can and of course, I would

love to eat dinner with you!”

We ate grilled steak fajitas filled with rice, corn, onions

and tomatoes. There was a spicy sauce for those of us who

like a little spice in our lives! Smile!

The kids seemed to be doing all right, I told them each I

was so sorry for the loss of their other grandma, “Grammy

Chris.”

After dinner, the kids went outdoors to shoot off these

rubber band ‘rockets’ that Trista and Jamie had purchased

at the dollar store. I asked Trista when the services were

going to be, told her that I was going to have to work on

Sunday while they were going on. I offered to watch kids

on Sat. from afternoon until evening. She declined, said

they were still going to Dayton to see my ex and his wife,

‘Mimi’ and ‘Poppy.’

There are only a few memories that I would like to briefly

share, since this is about life and bridges to cross. I know,

and believe with all my heart, that Chris is in heaven. I

am sure that there would be others, looking from a distance,

at her wild and checkered past, her marriage to Trista’s

Dad and their continued addiction problems as ‘negatives’

but Chris’ heart was always in the ‘right place.’ She

absolutely loved helping others and gave a lot of her

time and energy to her grandchildren. When we hugged the

last time I saw her I told her that I loved her and would

pray for her. It was that Saturday after Thanksgiving.

She had the “Grace” to admit,

“I’ll take all the prayers you can give me!”

When I had the most fun time with Chris, was on Trista

and Jamie’s wedding day. We had a huge pile of folding

chairs, card tables and rented longer tables. People

knew it would be outdoors, so most were bringing a

covered dish to share and their own portable chairs.

We had the stack of tablecloths to put on each table,

late September and we were battling a breeze so were

anchoring each with a heavy rock, then taping the

white plastic tablecloths with packing tape and then,

replacing the rocks with vases of flowers filled with

water, they seemed ‘heavy enough’ to hold and not flip

over. We were laughing, we stopped and went up into

Trista’s Grandma Judy’s house and have a cup of coffee

and peeked at the triple decker, gorgeous cake that

Jamie and Trista had made. I told Chris that I had tried

the icing and the cake of their “practice” cake a week

ago. The white chocolate fondant icing was ‘to die for!’

We went back to struggling with the weather to get the

tables set up, the beautiful table for the wedding party

of three young women and three young men plus my son and

his soon to be wife looked ‘professional’ we agreed, once

we were finished.

Chris had dark hair and glasses, was a thin and tall woman

with a friendly and sweet face. She had small features and

while guests arrived throughout the day, many asked who did

not know us, were we sisters? I would like to say we became

that close. Not quite, since it was not the stuff of calling

each other on the phone, nor the going to visit each other’s

home… It was each and every occasion for the years we knew

each other, knowing we could go in the bathroom together,

I would like to say we ‘could count on each other’ to say a

nice compliment and hug each other upon greeting and leaving.

Some say there is a tunnel while dying and that you will see

a ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ I have mentioned that once

my Dad’s heart stopped and my Mom ran into the hospital hallway

to yell for help. It was late at night, that once he arrived

“back” from being revived, a clear four to five minute gap,

the machine started beeping and his heartbeat started again.

Dad joked in a jovial way the next day, while we all arrived to

see him,

“Hey, I went to heaven on a space ship! I rode it through a

warm, brightly lit tube and once I got there, I saw my father

and mother, other’s hands reached out to touch me,” Then

my Dad would add, “And I guess if the likes of ME can make it

into Heaven, anyone can!”

I hope that Chris crossed over a bridge or up a tube or into

the Light. I would like to add a few bridges I would like to

cross. Maybe this is my new “Bucket List!”

Bear Mountain Bridge, New York:
This bridge spans one of the narrowest spots along the Hudson
River. It is surrounded by mountains. It is considered one of
the most ‘picturesque bridges in America.’ If you drive up the
winding road to the top of Bear Mountain, you will see a most
beautiful sight of Manhatten, 45 miles away. (Free)

Old Seven Mile Bridge, Florida:
This bridge was laid by railroad tycoon, Henry Flagler.
This is the only roadway to Key West made over 100 years
age. In 1982, the old bridge was replaced by a new one
only a short distance to the south of the original one.
You can still walk or bike across the first one, more
than 2 miles into the ocean, where you may spot pelicans,
sharks and dolphins. (Free)

Perrine Bridge, Idaho:
This is a steel bridge that arcs like a rainbow, 486 feet
above the Snake River. This is the only bridge where someone
can parachute from a fixed object, called BASE jumping.
This, amazingly enough, is allowed year-round without a
permit. A short distance of only one mile to the East,
you can still see the dirt ramp that Evel Knievel made
his attempt to jump the Snake River canyon, (Free)

Wheeling Suspension Bridge, West Virginia:
This is the oldest bridge in my choices of wishing to
cross large and exciting bridges! This 1,010 foot long
bridge was opened in 1849 before the Brooklyn Bridge
was built. This one was the ‘example’ possibly for
the B.B. looking very similar in appearance. Walk
halfway across the moving, undulating bridge to view
barges passing below on the Ohio River. It would be
wonderful and exciting to view movies or listen to
concerts on the waterfront below. (Free)

Royal Gorge Bridge:
This bridge is high above the Arkansas River, 1053 feet!
You can take an incline railway to the river below, for
$26 to the bridge, park and railway. There is a theme park
adjacent to this 1929 wood-planked bridge, but crossing this
would be much scarier than any rides! This is the only one
I would need to bring my wallet for!

Whatever your beliefs about dying are, we all will experience

this through losses of loved ones, both family and friends.

We eventually, inevitably will face this one day for ourselves.

I guess “We’ll face that bridge when we come to it.”

Compromises move us along

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Have you noticed I have been silent awhile about dates? I have been talking

to someone who started calling me in February… from my recent past! I am

interested in him more now than the first time I met him. He was on the

“back burner” of my brain but once we started chatting, I started thinking

about him more.

Let’s just say I goofed up a bit when I met him. I was divorced but not ready

for anyone “steady.” I also had made a list that included all the characteristics

that I thought I should find in my lifetime (for the rest of my life) partner. When

I was out with this man, Roger, I was telling him some of the ‘lofty aspirations’

I would like to have happen in my dating and love life. It included going to the

symphony, (he said, “yuck!”), going to sit on a blanket in Schiller Park to watch

live dramas by such authors as Shakespeare, (“not my cup of tea,” he said) and

going to my best friends’ house as a couple and watching OSU, Nascar or another

sport on a large screen t.v. on their deck (“I hate college football and don’t really

care for Nascar! he declared).  Needless to say, I did not continue on with my list

of my “dream guy’s” interests.

We tapered off from dating into friendship. We drifted for awhile, with intermittent

phone calls, but I was getting a lot of attention from what I considered “much better

potential partner material” from match.com dates.

Roger is a great name:

Roger Miller was one of my Dad’s favorite casual listening singer, “Trailer for Sale or

Rent.”

Roger Daltry is a member of one of my old favorite bands and did well in his solo singing

career.

Roger begins with “R” and my brothers and parents all have “r’s” in front of our names.

Roger Moore (in my humble opinion) was a hunk and I liked his light hearted version of

James Bond.

This time, when Roger called, I was much more humble and yes, a little weary of the

dating scene as it had been pretty much discouraging! I was thinking that his voice sounded

more upbeat and his tone pleasant, and I felt like saying “I miss you.” What a corny thought!

I started by saying in February that I was glad to hear from him, that I was looking more

for someone to spend outdoorsy things and going for a walk in the winter would be fun

sometime.

Well, he right away said, (can you believe this?!) “I missed you.”

I actually said, “What?”

He repeated those words and added, “Do you know how many women play games out

there?”

I answered, “Probably as many as the men who play games and actually two-time their

dates!”

We enjoyed complaining and then, when that was over, he said going for a walk could

continue this conversation and we met. We went off and on to parks on nice weekend

afternoons, while I still had a few dates interspersed with the few remaining guy friends

that put up with that.

I told him that I had always liked to fish, my Dad had taught us up on Lake Erie and had

also learned to boat, as I was one of the first “girls” to join the Explorers’ Boy Scout Troop.

I also filled him in on other personal interests while he told me some of his. We shared an

an interest in animals. Roger likes cats mostly while birds are some of my particular

favorites. Not just due to my namesake the robin but because of my cardinal story, too.

He liked my cardinal story, (check out that post, if you wish…)

Soon we were talking about grandchildren. I felt that he had never been close to them, from

our earlier conversations.

Roger admitted, “That is true. I am ashamed of that.”

I was a little relieved but said, “Do you think I am too blunt?”

He answered with a big smile, “I would not recognize you if you didn’t tell me what you thought.

After all, I have heard about why you are the way you are, scientist and teacher parents mean

that “facts are important.”

Wow! I was lifted up by that. I almost believed I could start being more of myself with him. We

seemed to have passed a test or a hurdle.

After March through half of April passed by. There were a lot of phone calls and casual dates

like playing cards at the local coffee shop. We found out we like a few of the same comedies and

Roger would come over once in awhile to watch a t.v. show with my youngest daughter in our

little apartment which we like to call our “dorm.”

I have to tell you that one of his visits the first time we dated, he accidentally put his foot in his

mouth. I smile because my brother while I was in high school used to say, “When Robin opens

her mouth, it is to change feet!”

Well, Roger had said, “Your place is kind of cluttered!”

Needless to say, some people let these things roll off their shoulders. I am one who will try to

figure out why someone said that and maybe get a little defensive. We did not do well the first

time around on so many levels. Sometimes, I had thought we were polar opposites. I may have

purposely pushed him away, but now he was back!

We also had a difference about going out to eat. Apparently his last girlfriend had thought it

was too expensive and maybe not hygienic enough. I love to go out to eat! (Almost as much as I

love my kids and grandkids! Just kidding!)

All those years of doing child care, then the last few years of my marriage where we were

struggling on my two jobs and he was getting unemployment; I had vowed to have a man

who would take me out to eat!

Also, I am one who will throw a $10 or $20 on the armrest in the car, (never in public in the

restaurant to embarrass a guy, but I would offer to help out, just to get to go out to eat!) After all,

I had two brothers who thought equality meant sharing money and not women getting all the

meals for free!

This time, Roger brought it up while we were at his apartment, he was cooking pork chops, with

onions, garlic and soy sauce for the entree. He had bok choy in a pot boiling and two baked

potatoes in the microwave. I think MY not having to cook was the thing I wished for! Not

necessarily going OUT to eat! Anyway, Roger said, “I like to cook Sunday dinners at my apartment

for friends or if I have a girlfriend. I don’t mind going out once in awhile to eat, though.”

Breakthrough on that subject led to many others, too numerous to count.

I would like to mention a romantic (semi) current song that is named, “She will be Loved.” In it,

the man says “Compromise moves us along.” It also has a line, Its not all just butterflies and

rainbows.” (Maroon 5 sings this.)

I feel that the compromises have brought us closer, so that this summer along with sharing fun

times with my guy friends, Bill, Gary and Steve, I may have a few extra dates with Roger.

Do you know what? I told him when I lost the house this past divorce, that I lost a nice 3 speed

bicycle. Roger listened and bought me a beautiful Hawaiian red and white printed Schwinn

7 speed Cruiser bicycle (it is named Admiral) with a nice comfortable seat, a clip on the back

if I go to the library I can put a book or DVD on it, and easy to reach handlebars.  He also a

month ago saw an antique silver spoon ring in a thrift store and I said that I used to have a

spoon ring and bracelet back in the 70’s. When I wandered off in the store to look for a jacket

he bought it.

These are the silly words that make me smile, “Will you go steady, Robin?”

If anyone thinks this man sounds like someone else: Roger has a bunch of many men packed

inside of him, some that I actually like!”

Lonnie and Sherry: 50 Years

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I think it is terrific when I hear of a long-lasting married couple

(fifty years later this year!) who still enjoy their times together.

Lonnie and Sherry met while he was only 21 and she was even

younger, at age 16. They would talk to each other while supervised

by her parents or her brother, as time went by. They even had to sit

one in the front driving (Lonnie) and her brother, Joey, in the

“shotgun” position. Sherry and her friend, Julie, would be in the back.

I am so surprised that their parents even let a 16 year old out with a

man five years older!

Lonnie brings this up abruptly while strolling down my lane in the

distribution center during the first year I was struggling to work there.

It was a sweltering hot day and he was as cool as a cucumber! He tells

me that the weather reminds me of the time he met his wife.

I welcomed the stories since they managed to get my mind off the heat.

I was just adjusting to lack of air conditioning and the heavy work load,

too.

Lonnie is almost 70 years old now. He works the job for the health and

life insurance, part time for 30 hours a week. He has told me they are “set”

in their finances and have a great retirement amount waiting. He adds, he

has decided that will be at age 72!

Now, just so you know, he used to do my job, which is admittedly harder

and requires heavy lifting at a faster rate. I feel he has done his time, so

he deserves a less stressful position. Now, he is called a “put away” man,

which its department is referred to as, “replenishment” or “replen.”

Lonnie told me the first time he met me that Sherry’s parents were hoping

someone would “rescue” her. She was a beautiful young woman with raven

black hair that she now softens with a reddish toned hair dye.

Lonnie has shown me his wife as a great grandmother in pictures. I have

seen photos of the two of them in matching dancing outfits. Also, he has let

me hold his well worn, ragged edged photograph of her as a sweet, innocent

16 year old beauty. Her looks equaled many movie starlets of that period.

“Why did she need rescued?” I queried.

Sherry’s family lived in the rural part of a backwoods Kentucky county. Their

home was hid up in a hill where there were plenty of rusty, old and used cars

piled up around trailers and simple houses.

Lonnie swears Sherry’s family “saw him coming a mile away.”

Lonnie was a “city slicker” with an associate’s degree in business from a local

college. He was selling products at night and working a day job. His goal was

to:  “Get out of Kentucky and live in a big city in Ohio.”

Lonnie was out at a local bar near his college when he met Joey. Both were

equally loquacious and gregarious. I am using my big words to indicate they

were super outgoing and friendly with the ladies! In their eagerness to conquer

the room full of young women, they became fast friends. Not too many days

later, Lonnie found his way over to Joey’s house up in the hills. He had come

to ask him to join him for a drive in his new car. (Oh, oh! guys don’t get mad, I

am sure that Lonnie told me the type of car and it was a really cool kind of car.

Not a convertible, but it was supposed to be the impressive kind in those days.)

Lonnie happened to be introduced on this occasion to Joey’s parents and his

one and only sister.

“Big mistake!” Lonnie said, “I was a goner from the moment I spotted Sherry!

She stole my heart on that hot summer night!”

Joey and Lonnie went off to a local watering hole. Lonnie pelted Joey with

questions about Sherry, as they played several games of pool. Joey said that

Sherry had never been out on a date, she was allowed to be “friends only”

with boys. Their mother had been pregnant with Joey at Sherry’s age and

would not want her history to repeat itself.

Lonnie did not wait until Sherry was much older before he started courting

her. He tried to persuade her parents to allow her out with him alone; that

was not going to happen! So, he cooperated by taking Joey and Sherry’s best

friend as chaperones.

One year after the courting stage went on “forever” in Lonnie’s rakish mind,

Sherry’s father was asked to meet with Lonnie. He decided to pick her father

up, take him to a very fine restaurant in those parts, and they sat and talked

“man to man.” Lonnie showed her father his bank account that had $1000

in it. That was ‘like a million to them,’ he recounted. Sherry’s father asked if

his intentions were “honorable” like the fathers in old black and white movies

used to do.

Lonnie told him his dream was to marry Sherry and to take her to Ohio where

they would own a nice home and invite her parents to come and visit often.

He wanted to be given permission to ask for her hand in marriage.

Lonnie’s long range plan would be to someday have enough money to have

her parents move up North and live down the street in a house he would buy.

Then, Lonnie and Sherry would have children together. Their grandchildren

would be close for them to play with and enjoy, he told Sherry father.

He painted pictures in the air like crazy and Sherry’s father granted him

permission to marry his daughter. He was very happy that Sherry would be

given such wonderful opportunities.

Lonnie asked Sherry to marry him and it was not as smooth as he had planned.

He had picked her up and brought her to the nicest restaurant, the one he had

taken her Dad out the week before.

These days, he supposes, people would say, “It didn’t go down like he thought

it would.”

Sherry looked down at her plate. She looked up at Lonnie’s eager face. She

glanced around the restaurant. Finally, she swallowed and said, “I am not sure.”

Sherry liked Lonnie but he was the first she had really kissed and she felt she

was still young and attractive enough to have more choices. She said, “Thank you.

You are sweet, Lonnie.”

Lonnie spent another six months trying to win Sherry over before she turned 18.

He knew there were more fish in the sea. He also knew she could have her pick

of them!

Lonnie had permission to take her to movies, to restaurants and they also would

stop on the way home on a cliff overlooking the little town where she had been

raised. He was five years older and more experienced. He admits he started to

use a little more technique and he tried to “put the moves on her.”

Eventually, whatever button he pushed, Sherry capitulated and said, “Yes.”

They married, they moved to a nice house in Marion, Ohio along the main tree

lined boulevard. It had taken him a few trips to find a good paying job. He also

made arrangements to bring his evening sales job up to Ohio. He felt that they

were on the path to forever and he was so happy.

Like I started this story, every time I see Lonnie he tells me a little more about

his life with Sherry. I have known him for five years in June, 2013. I have yet

to meet Sherry but I do know she never worked in a job outside of her home.

She is a big gardener and cans vegetables still. I have had pickled beets,

banana peppers, and applesauce, among many other items Lonnie has

brought to me in a paper bag. I send little notes of gratitude back to Sherry.

Sherry bakes bread, makes cookies and I have also been the beneficiary of these

delicious treats. I am not sure why Lonnie (who is only 13 years older than I)

has taken me under his wing. I think, somehow along the way, he has heard

me say, “My life is much more simple now.”

Or I may have told him on a winter’s morning, “I miss my garage!” I speculate he

thinks of his wife’s and his own comforts and just feels like sharing them.

I am thankful for the friendship and also, the wonderful story that is now almost

told.

They live deliriously happy and have nights where they win dancing contests,

days where they are on cruises or cruising on their tandem bicycle to the library

to pick up some books and films to watch. The couple have her mother still around

and her father has been buried in the local cemetery. Their only son lives not too

far away with his wife and family.

Sherry’s brother, Joey, and his wife, Julie, also live up in Marion. It is very pleasant

to know another happily ever after story.

Lighter hearted topic: My month with 3 Dan’s!

Standard

Last year right before I started blogging, I met three Dan’s.

My grandkids made up little chants, “Dan, Dan, the bike shop

man” for one. “Dan, Dan, the motorcycle man” for another. And

the third one we could never quite figure out what would be a good

little way to include his diverse thinking and interests.

Anyway, I met Dan who owns a bicycle shop in a nicer suburban area

at a park with his nephew and niece. He was pushing them on the

swings on a particularly warm late winter day. He started asking me

about my grandson, who I was pushing, who was three years old. I

told him he was my grandson and he was sweet enough to say I looked

“too young” to be a grandma. Micah told him, “She’s not my grandma!

She’s my Nana!”  We all laughed.

I am going to fast forward to where I am giving him my cell phone number

and he was going to call me. We ended up having one nice date. He was

also a big caller that month. We never finalized a second date, but I have

to admit I found out through a long phone conversation, he was a seriously

religious man. He also was not in the same frame of mind about politics as

I am. Dan was a nice man, but I am going to have to say I ‘blew him off’ by

being busy. I won’t call him a ‘holy roller,” but he was definitely more than

I could handle in that area!

The second man, Danny, I met downtown in my small town at a local

watering hole. It is so small, it takes “cash only!” He was younger, wearing

a black leather jacket and had a quiet nature. I did enjoy some casual dates

and our best but craziest date was going on his motorcycle all the way to

Old Man’s Cave in Logan, Ohio. I will tell you that is about a 3 hour drive

one way! One funny (now) thing that happened that killed my interest in

EVER going on a motorcycle again was while we were driving through

Nelsonville. I saw a swarm of insects, I thought, coming our way, but

guess what? They were bees!! And 3 bees were inside my helmet and while

I was tapping and tugging on Danny’s jacket trying to get him to stop

the motorcycle. He waited until he saw a little park, driving straight to

a rest room area. I could understand he thought that is why I was so

strenuously trying to get him to stop! But I was stung by those darn 3 bees!

He saw the red marks on my face and my tears as I took my helmet off. He

felt so bad and we did have some fun finding an ice cream place to cool my

face off. We also walked a bunch of times after that but I found out he was

into smoking pot and I realized I was a little too old for that again!

The last Dan, the one who is hard to label but I called him “Daniel” because

of his serious nature and so I could differentiate my strange month of dating

the 3 Dan’s. I am not making this up and if you ever were to come to Ohio,

to my town, I would have one of my three kids tell you, “Mom is not making

this stuff up!”

Daniel was out on a path in a woods that is by Blue Limestone Park in Delaware,

Ohio when I met him. He was hiking with a backpack, had a water bottle in his

hand and was holding a weird tool in his hand. I saw him from a distance and

believe it or not, I turned around and decided to retrace my steps on the path.

I did not know what or why he was looking downward nor why the tool, he

was a little off the path, and I guess I could have passed him, but my better

instincts were carried out. As I started to increase my pace going back to

where there were fishermen and the playground where plenty of parents

were supervising children, I heard him call my name! I slowly turned and

saw still an unrecognizable man. But I did stop to listen to how he knew me.

Daniel’s father had been in the nursing home I worked at for 4 years, one of

my many odd jobs in my pursuit of my final teaching job. He said I had been

a “lifesaver” for his Dad, a volunteer we called “Sarge.” And, I responded by

saying, “How do you know me and I don’t recognize you? I do remember your

father and mother, Alice, too.” He said he had stopped by one time at his Dad’s

house after Alice, his mother died and seen me getting into his Dad’s car. He

said he also had seen a picture I had painted in his Dad’s den, entitled “Alice’s

Garden.” Sarge would never take hand outs for our activity trips, if there was

a charge like for going to the Clippers baseball game, he paid it. So, after talking

to him a lot after Alice died at the nursing home, I had suggested he come volunteer

and also, that I would like to do a painting as a gift. He said, “make a beautiful

garden please where my wife in Heaven is taking care of it. You know she was

my angel.” Daniel was a coffee shop worker, a spelunker, and an Indian relic

seeker. He showed me one time cases of Indian arrowheads. He was and is a

very good friend. He has moved into my apartment building and we talk about

once a week. Although we decided to not date, we have an affinity for the memory

of his parents. He has listened to my stories of dating, my father’s death, and

my children’s lives. Strange but we just feel like “brother and sister.” Good friends

are always needed! Never can have too many.

That is the end of the month of Dan’s where only one remains in my life.