Ohio, July 2017

I estimate I have made this trip about 50 times, roughly thrice a year since Fiercely was born, give or take. That’s a lot of miles!! Each trip has memorable and forgettable parts of course. We took a different route this time, a welcome change from the way I usually get there. I’m still not happy about having to drive at all after literally going around the planet with almost no driving, but we always have a good time once we are there. This time, we saw some Amish areas, did some Jazzercise, went packrafting, and had a garage sale and a surprise party. 

As for getting there, we took the turnpike, NOT recommended since it costs close to $40 and drivers are subjected to overpriced gas and food in the service plazas the whole way across Pennsylvania. On the positive side, it did lead us to some nice country roads as we meandered north and east after entering the Buckeye State. One was Middlefield, 4th largest Amish settlement in the world, according to the sign we passed. Horses and buggies sharing the road, laundry on the line, houses without electric wires, more buggies in driveways, and miles of pasture and cultivated fields. We saw plenty of non-Amish Ohioans on riding mowers on this sunny July day as we ambled along. We saw a lot of gardens bursting with flowers and vegetables. July is such a beautiful time of year in rural Ohio. 

This buggy was parked behind me at a store!

One morning, we joined my about-to-turn 76 year old mom at Jazzercise. This was a stark contrast to a quiet, contemplative yoga class I had taken a day or two earlier. Thumping pop music, relentless Midwest cheerfulness, bright and optimistic faces from our leader and us, sweating in the little Knights of Columbus building on Mentor Avenue. Here we are, three generations in spandex and sneakers.

Then we were back at the suburban subdivision. The heyday of the neighborhood garage sale seems to have passed for Concord Township, at least in my parent’s area. There weren’t as many sales or customers as in previous years, according to my Dad. We did, however, get to haul out a lot of stuff to the driveway and wear gorilla suits with the neighbor kid. Dang-can’t find the photo! Maybe later…

The surprise party turned into a reverse surprise party! Family dynamics being what they are, it happened that the object of the party had to be informed to make the timing work out and to keep the main party planner happy. There were still many surprises such as a homemade tiramisu cake and some friends who stopped by. And we got this family photo-so rare for us all to be together- my parents, siblings, and kids. Yes, I have the only grandkids unless you count pets!

So many parks! Hoping to go kayaking and packrafting with my brother, we drove back to Middlefield area to Headwater Park where there are free kayaks but no swimming. We passed at least three other parks on our way to Headwater. On this sunny July Sunday it was packed with a long waiting list so we headed to Fairport Harbor where we could take turns on Jonathan’s two packrafts and also swim and play at the beach. Kayaks there were also unavailable with so many people enjoying the beach that day. We took turns and enjoyed Lake Erie, watching the other kayaks, a sailboat or two, and the lovely sky.