Yesterday, July 17, I had both a physical therapy appointment in Greenfield and a car repair appointment in WCH. With a two hour separation, I decided to take advantage of the blue skies and drive the hills around South Salem and take the back roads to Court House.
The trip began with driving to Salem via Lower Twin Rd and doing the covered bridge. In town, I turned onto Mt. Olive Rd and then Salem Rd over to SR 41. Most of that was as I recall from recent years, a few new homes along with a few in greater disrepair. Before SR 41 I turned left onto Upper Twin and at the top of the hill, I turned left onto Mt. Olive and stopped for a few minutes to take in what is one of the most spectacular views in our area, the valley below that stretches well beyond Good Hope in the far distance. I always wanted to build a home looking North at that location.
Mt. Olive brought me back into Salem and I turned right onto Lower Twin Rd and proceeded to Morgan Rd. It was at the corner of these two roads where I saw my first Ohio deer in 1970 while driving my school bus route. It was in the middle of the road and when it saw my yellow brick it leaped a fence and disappeared into the closest woods.
Morgan Rd. has changed a lot. When I drove a bus on it, it was all dirt and at times dangerous. I succeed in putting my bus into a ditch on two successive days and at the end of the year was presented a trophy, courtesy of Norman Gingerich, and Dave Watts, of a bus being pulled by a wrecker. Several of the homes I picked up kids at have since been torn down.
At SR 28 I turned left to Westfall Rd. and then left onto Parrot, which was a part of Joe Current’s route. I wound my way over those hills and at SR 138 I turned left to Lyndon Rd. where I turned right and made my way to Good Hope.
Years ago some wise sage advised me to never pass up a chance to take a whiz and I had passed up too many. I found myself pulling into the cemetery outside Good Hope in search of a tree. The canopy of old maple trees made the detour well worth it.
An hour at Doug Marine’s and I was back on the road taking the most direct road back home but firm in the renewed knowledge that we live in a beautiful part of the world if you just take the time to go look at it.
Upon waking this morning the news seemed focused on Bubba Wallace, Confederate flags, and Bubba’s need to apologize to his fellow NASCAR drivers. The truth is, until a noose was discovered in his garage I wouldn’t have known Bubba Wallace from Bubba Gump or some guy who runs a gasper goo catch, clean, and cook show on YouTube (now you have something to Google). But, it got me thinking about hangman’s nooses and how I came to become proficient in tying them.
I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s when the main recreation for young boys was listening to Tom Mix on the radio and going to double feature Saturday matinees at the Lyric or Rand theaters. Most cowboy shows had plots that focused on some crooked rancher or banker who had a gang of thugs doing his evil deeds and at its worse, a hero always rode into town and saved the citizenry from these evildoers.
It’s been difficult for me to watch very much of the protest video because it is both disturbing and it reminds me of how little we’ve improved since the days of Bull Connor in the early 1960s. My friend and colleague, Susan Long recently remarked how she thought we’d moved further away from those days.
It wasn’t too long after the 1970s 10-speed bicycle craze got going strong before a number of Americans decided they wanted to beat the gasoline lines with a motorized vehicle rather than something that was leg powered. Well, along came the moped.
Mopeds were already popular in Europe and Asia but were somewhat new to America. The simplest of them weren’t much more than a bicycle with a small 2-cycle motor. Back in the 1950 kids played around with a motorized bike called a Whizzer. Well, mopeds weren’t much more than a slicked up Whizzer.
My granddaughter posed the emerging garter snake video on her Facebook page. I don’t know when or where it was filmed but it reminded me of something I and my students observed in the spring at the South Salem Cemetery. The emergence of hundreds of Gartner snakes from hibernation and the formation of a breeding ball. The smaller males surround a single, larger, female, each trying
As far back as the early 1960s, I heard about Amish barn raisings. Where an entire community of church members would come together to build or repair a member’s barn. The women would spend the morning preparing a large meal for the men and the men would divide into teams with each assigned a task to get done before sunset.
While I’ve seen many of the results it wasn’t until recently that I actually was able to witness the real deal. I was even invited to lunch but unfortunately, wasn’t able to match my schedule up with that.
Texas has brisket, the Carolinas have whole hog, and Lousiana has crawfish. They are famous for these regional foods and people from all over the world come to partake. So, what does Ohio have? I’ve often asked that question and finally decided, well hell, we have Cincinnati chili and it’s unlike chili anyplace else in America, maybe the world! It’s unique, it’s flavorful, and it comes five-ways, which is something Texas doesn’t give you with brisket.
I recently found myself in the area that was once the location of the McClain Mansion and decided to snap a few photos of what remains still exists. When I was a kid in the late ’40s and ’50s all that remained was the iron fencing along Washington Street, the entrance steps, the exposed basement, and some sidewalks. Off of 4th Street, there was the wooden home of the McClain’s chauffer and an attached multi-car garage.
I had coffee with a fellow Greenfielder recently and he mentioned a person who ran a mailorder business selling hunting dog equipment and remarked how this guy was ahead of his time. The company was Boatman’s and for several decades it sold, among many other things, a powerful flashlight, Dynalite, specifically aimed at coon hunters.
Several years ago we attended a performance at Southern State Community Collins featuring the author and actor, Susan G. Banyas presenting her play, The Hillsboro Story.
The story recounts the efforts of a group of African American mothers, The Marching Mothers, going to war with the town’s all-white school board with the goal of forcing the board to comply with the decision made in the earlier, 1954 Brown v. Topeka desegregation case.
I was an early convert to folk music back in the 1950s and one of the first songs I learned to play on my cheap Harmony guitar was Freight Train. Like so many folk songs I just assumed the author was long gone and long forgotten.
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I discovered Elizabeth Cotton, the very old and very talented lady who on her cheap Sears & Roebuck guitar, wrote the folk classic, Freight Train.
I don’t know if I ever shared this but several years ago I got interested in making primitive stringed instruments from mostly found objects like cigar boxes and tin cans.
When Blake’s Coffee Shop was demolished I scavenged through the debris looking for pieces I could incorporate into primitive stringed instruments. I ended up making three instruments from what I found, a one-string diddley bow, three-string lap steel, and six-string lap steel. I kept the six-stringed lap steel but gave the others away. One may have gone to the Greenfield Historical Society.
I’m really not sure but I think these photos are from the first McClain All-Class Reunion that was held during the summer of 1999. The Clyburns permitted the temporary conversion of their restaurant into a make-shift Penny’s and it quickly became a major gathering place during the weekend. The Penn family loaned the
Jerry Falconer had told me of the plans to begin demolishing the old building that for decades sat on the corner of routes 753 and 138. Over the years the building was home to many things but for most people, it is remembered as being the original home of Charlie Beechler’s Market.
I went to town yesterday to video some of the project and parked in the lot at Smitty’s Auto Sales. The video is about an hour long and I realize that is too much for most people. However, I was going to watch as much as time permitted so it mattered not that my camera was running.
So, watch some or watch all but, I’m betting most of you will have some emotional moment while watching it. Lots of Greenfield’s memories are tied to that building.