Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Remembering Dad

Today would have been my Dad’s 79th birthday. Dad liked nothing better than having a steak for his birthday. Mom likes a Ribeye, but not Dad, he liked a T-Bone, the bigger the better. In recent years, the local steakhouse closed down, reopened, closed again, reopened as a church, closed again and has now reopened as a Mexican restaurant.

Confused? Me too!

So, in keeping with the family tradition, we’re going out for T-bones at the new Longhorn that has opened near where the old steakhouse once stood. (Once the snow and ice melts.)

I’m sad you can’t be with us but we know you’ll be watching. I don’t know if you ever got to eat at Longhorn or not but I hear they cook a really mean steak.

We miss you.
Gopher

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sleigh Riding On Cherry Fork Road...A Cherry Fork Road Memory

****Since it's the winter that won't seem to go away, enjoy this classic post about sleigh riding on Cherry Fork Road.****


One of the activities that I miss the most since I grew up and moved south is going sleigh riding. I grew up on a small farm in southern Ohio. We had two driveways, one that led up to the house of course, and the other that led up to the barn. Our house and barn were located on the top of a small hill with a gradual incline down to the road. Whether going to the left or to the right out of the driveways you immediately had to start going uphill.

When we were younger, nothing gave my siblings and me more countless hours of enjoyment than an old boring piece of plastic. The neighborhood kids would always come to our house because we lived on top of a hill. Plus, our parents were usually at work. Riding the piece of plastic down the hill was especially dangerous. There was a fence at the bottom that separated the field from the creek. But, there was a couple of bumps near the bottom of the hill that if you hit them just right you could go flying over the fence and into the creek. This amazing feat happened to me on more than one occasion and was always accompanied by shouts of “AIRBORNE” from the barnyard animals and visiting neighborhood children. Most times though, we just plowed into the fence at the bottom and hoped the barbed wire wouldn’t cut us as we disengaged ourselves from the fence. Honestly, I shredded my fair share of mittens to say the least and I do have a couple of faint scars from barbed wire puncture wounds.

As I grew older, the allure of Cherry Fork Road began to call. For Christmas that year, I had gotten a real sled, the kind on metal gliders that could be steered by hand. Oh, my goodness, it was a beauty. The directions told me to use wax and rub the blades until you could see your reflection in them. The better the blades were waxed, the faster the sled would go. That’s what the instructions said anyway. Now, all I needed was some snow.

It finally snowed enough sometime late in January to give the new sled a test run. There are several ways to ride the classic flyer sled. You can sit down on it and have others give you a push. If you are a little adventuresome, you can lie down and have others help you out by giving you a shove. But, the best way to get going is to get a running start, jump on it and then hold on for dear life. On more than one occasion, I landed with a thud as the sled darted out from under me or I ran into the ditch because I couldn’t steer it properly.

Everyone was having loads of fun with the new sled until the day we almost got run over by the snow plow. After that, no more riding on the road. We tried to ride down the hill in the field but the blades always got stuck in the high grass. One day, my friend, Tonya, who was considerably younger and smaller than me was complaining because we couldn’t ride the sled on the road any longer. Suddenly, I had an idea. I would lie down on the sled first and then my friend would get on my back facing the opposite direction to watch for cars.

It was brilliant!

Dad didn’t think so. He thought we were just being annoying. No riding the sled on the road; it was too dangerous. After huddling for a few days, we came up with a slightly better version of our original plan. We would do everything just the same, except for the time of day. We were going to go sleigh riding at night. We took the new plan to Dad who thought we were both nuts. He approved it and we made plans for the next evening.

It was a clear, crisp night. The waxing moon gave us just enough light to see where we were going. I got on the sled first and then my friend piled on top facing the opposite direction. We checked for the lights of any oncoming cars and then shoved off. The sled took off and down we went screaming and laughing the whole way. We made it halfway up the next hill and we both jumped up and ran the rest of the way up the hill. I don’t know how long we rode the sled that night on Cherry Fork Road but mom had to come out and get us. I do remember it being a lot of fun and we rode the sled that way for several years.

Riding a sled, in the dark, on Cherry Fork Road is one of my favorite memories from life on the farm. With the recent weather the north is having, it might just be the time to find that old flyer and soap up the blades. It’s been 30 years since I have been on a sled; I bet I could teach my niece a thing or two.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Once Again

Well, if you're reading this post, then I have successfully returned from my trip of a lifetime. In a three day period, I went from Paris, France to Paris, Kentucky, and trust me, they look nothing alike.

Mom and I were up for nearly 48 hours. That's not something that I want to make a habit of doing, either. I like my sleep too much. Mom really hung in there, too, but by the end of a ten hour transcontinental flight she had begun to see little green men out of the corner of one of her eyes.

(Actually, she had picked up some kind of bug somewhere along the way and had green ooze coming out of her eye. The doctor saw her right away the next day after we landed and gave her some antibiotics.)

After resting for two days we travelled back home to southern Ohio to visit with our family. Sadly, we lost my mother's brother while we were away. Albert Keiber lived in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, spent several years in the Air Force, worked at Western Electric, was a valued member of his church and could fix anything. He leaves behind his wife, Carol, and daughter, Alicia.

We spent a week in Ohio and returned to Georgia a week before Christmas. I had intended to have my Christmas tree up before I left but time got away from me so there I was out at Jack's tree farm late one afternoon hoping that there might be a tree left for me. When I pulled up, the owner, Jack, hopped out of his truck and greeted me with a big wave. "Well, there you are. I thought you might have moved or something."

"Nope. Just been doing some travelling. Went across the pond to check out the Christmas markets on the Danube River."

"You don't say," he said.

"Yes, we had a really good time. We were gone for about 11 days and then travelled back home because of a death in the family."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's sad to lose somebody, anytime, especially this time of year."

"I know. You never get used to it." Looking around the field, I took note of the many empty spaces where Christmas trees once stood. "Looks like you've been picked over," I said.

"Yeah, we have. I don't get many coming for trees this close to the actual day. In fact, I hadn't planned on opening today because I didn't feel that well. I think I got a bug or something. I know you like a white pine as your tree of choice--look at that tree on the other side of my truck."

I glanced in that direction, "Looks kinda big," I said.

"It's pretty good size. I need to get rid of it; next year it'll be too big to be used as a Christmas tree. It's the last tree in this area, I'm going to replant the whole field. What do you think? I'll let you have it for half price."

"Sold! I'll make it fit," I said with a chuckle. Leaving him standing beside the tree, I started walking back through the field.

'Where ya going?" he asked. "I thought you wanted this tree."

"I do," I said. "Now, I have to go get my mom a tree."

"Oh," he said. "Where does she live?"

"Just up the road," I said, "in the next town."

"Well, that's nice of you. I'll tell you what--what ever tree you pick out I'll let you have it half price, too."

"Wow! Thank you, Jack. I really appreciate that."

I picked out a tree for mom and got it loaded in the trailer with the other one. I definitely had a full load. Even after cutting off several of the limbs and trimming the trunk, I was worried that the half priced white pine wouldn't go into my house. "Good luck with that," he said. "I hope you get it inside."

"Me too."

"Let me ask you a question," he said.

"What's that?" I answered.

"That trip you took with your mom--was it the trip of a lifetime?"

"Indeed, it was," I said. "You should go if you get the chance."

"Oh, I don't know," he said. "Who's gonna run my Christmas tree farm?"

I just smiled and said, "I know. I'll see you next year."

"See you next year."

Sometimes, things don't always go as planned.

But sometimes, they go even better!



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Brother's Birthday...Year VI


Now, it's time for another birthday. My big brother is celebrating his birthday today. His nickname is Boy, sometimes called Big Boy.

Boy is a fan of WW II and can give you all the information ever needed if you are building a house since he has a background in construction.

He taught me how to play football, throw a baseball for a perfect strike (complete with a full wind up) and how to play chess.

He also taught me how to chew tobacco, scratch my butt, cuss a blue streak, burp the alphabet, throw cow patties, use the tractor and manure spreader to drive to town for hot dogs and Sour Cream Doritos when Mom and Dad were working, castrate a hog and spit and catch loogies.

Most of these tricks I have since out grown! (Most)

However, it is good knowledge to have. You never know when you might need to do some castrating.


So here's to you! Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister's Birthday...Year VI




Today is my sister's birthday. In case anyone wants to know, her nickname is Big Red. Yep, she's got red hair and a fierceness to go along with it.

She resides in the frigid north where it snows all the time. Yuck!

I won't tell you how old she is (29) because that wouldn't be sisterly. She is older than me though.

Happy Birthday! May you have many more and continue to do things that make me laugh.

MAFW

P.S. Your present is still on my counter waiting to be mailed.

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