Thursday, June 14, 2007


As noted before, I returned to Ohio to visit my parents and to help celebrate my mom's retirement from public schools.

I did very little at first. If this was going to be my one vacation for the next six months, I was going to relax. Mom and Dad took me out to lunch right away to Rothschild's just outside Urbana (in Champaign County oddly enough). My bar-b-q chicken wrap was decent. The "kettle chips" were not "kettle chips". I was able to sip on an excellent brew from the fine Great Lakes Brewing Company out of Cleveland. The Dortmunder Gold Lager proves my theory that lagers can be good...if they are not "American style" like Budweiser for instance.

The lunch wasn't even the most remarkable thing about our trip through the country. Apparently, it is in vogue in west-central Ohio to place a rather large star on one's house. I don't know if it's patriotism (unless the star is painted red-white-blue all over) or religious or country-kitsch, I just know that it looks odd. These giant 32-inch bronze bar stars (as Lowe's calls them) were on nearly every house we passed. I wonder if someone bought their bronze barn star in order to identify their house for guests. Then all their neighbors followed suit creating confusion for all involved.

The strange thing was that some of the stars were painted to represent the American flag. I figure that it's only a matter of time before people start to put up stars decorated to represent the current holiday season. There will be orange stars with black triangles like a jack-o-lantern for Halloween, green and red stars for Christmas, and the image of a resurrected Jesus for Easter. The bronze barn star is this year's cement goose.

Moving on...

Much of the weekend was spent reminding myself how old I am.

The first instance of this was when I accompanied my folks to Staples in search of a printer for my mom. After looking at office furniture for myself, I was surprised to find two of my former students were working at this particular Staples. Now, I've had former students graduate, but this time I saw them in the flesh. Both girls were just stretched out versions of their fifth grade selves. One was even married. It was fun to see them, and I'm glad they're doing well.

The second instance of my coming to terms with my rapidly advancing age was a high school graduation party for a daughter of a woman who used to work with my mom. I don't really know the girl, except that I changed her diaper while babysitting in high school. (This was a fact I chose not to share with her so as not to creep her out.) Her brother was a kid I babysat for on numerous occasions. Now the kid is bigger than me and working on political campaigns. I remember him puking grape juice all over me on the way to Gettysburg once. When did I get so old?

During the days at home last weekend, I sorted through old papers, pictures, and childhood collections. I discovered I had some excellent baseball cards, even a Barry Bonds rookie. Baseball cards were big business when I was collecting them, but their value has really dropped off. All the money and time I spent on that stupid collection I thought would pay off someday is hardly worth posting on eBay now. Oh well. My comic books aren't worth much more. There's no market for GI Joe comics. Who would've guessed?

That was my weekend. I spent the time reminiscing and re-discovering where I came from. However, I was not done. I still hadn't taken in all that is West Liberty. There was still some tourism to be done.

To be continued...

No comments: