MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday morning on the deck

Rain looks like it could come pouring down upon us at any moment, but radar shows it thirty minutes away. The 64 degrees and a passing breeze make it comfortable, but the steel gray sky is ominous. The radar indicates heavy rain or a storm.

The morning is a bit quiet. No birds are soloing or joined in chorus, a faint chirping is in the distance, and the Shroyer Road traffic is minimal. I had a nice forty-five-minute chat for our Boston, London, and Kettering quintet which we have nicknamed BoKeLo, or KeBoLo, or LoBoKe, LoKeBo. Whichever name was adopted, it’s cute. Perhaps we should have T-shirts made up.

Yesterday, at The Park, The Atrium was fired with miniature train displays and enthusiasts. there was no opportunity to have a seat and I stood the entire time. Still, I was not to be “derailed.”

At the close of the model train festival, there was still an hour before the park, itself, closed. We began tearing down the tables and stacking the chairs on the portable racks. I’ve not done that much lifting in quite some time and probably should have not done so as my body was pleading physical retirement then, and is rebellious this morning. I also mowed my backyard and my front easement before getting ready for my shift. Last evening, the gut reared its ugly head adding to this morning’s discomforts but all in all, I feel well enough to embark on research and writing.

Mama Kay has taken a slight break from suburbia to spend time at the lake with friends. In her absence, she offered the keys to her car to use at my disposal. Yesterday, for the first time, I did not take the bus to The Park. I felt like a teenager driving to high school for the first time. While driving felt natural and familiar, I last drove a car in January 2020 when I went to Indiana to visit my Aunt Joyce, as well as my sister and her family for a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

Saturday evening was a mixture of relaxing with body aches, a pooped brain, and desperately wanting to research and write, but my brain was limited for any study. I think I was in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 PM and only recall two visits to the bathroom throughout the night.

So, here I sit on this dull-looking Sunday morning, glancing to either side to see a lavender wisteria bloom or a bright pink Rose of Sharon bloom. Chief is in his familiar Sphinx-like pose as he guards the backyard from atop the steps and all three girls have retreated inside.

On with planning my day around the approaching elements. Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Frosty Monday

We just had a strong snow shower move through the area, covering everything in a nice thin sheet of white.  It doesn’t feel too cold, but the heavy dark sky makes it appear so.

OMEA was a success, and I am proud of all the students who worked hard for and participated in this event. I am very appreciative of all the accompanists and choir directors who made it happen.

Now, we are busy with school musical auditions, this week and next. I am hopeful it will be a clean sweep with goals met for each student.

I was productive today, and made progress with cleaning the kitchen, bedroom, washing dishes, and two loads of laundry wash, dried, and put away. Now, it is nearing time to teach from 4 PM – 11 PM.

MONTHS by Sara Coleridge

January brings the snow,
makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
stirs the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daises at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy damns.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hand with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit,
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasants,
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Posing four dogs… I don’t

Folks are always asking me how I get The Quartet to pose for their group photos.

Easy answer…

I don’t.

The pooches pose themselves. It usually comes to this: I am photographing one or two of the beasts and the others hear what’s going on. Not to be outdone by any of the others, they will photobomb the original subject. Great.

I don’t get the artistic look like Barb Siler, Amy Tschirhart, Amy Kress, or Brent & Stephanie Kane, but I take what I can get. I wish I knew what Barb, Amy, Amy, and Brent & Stephanie did as they’re each the Olan Mills of pooch portraits.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday, January 28th

It is a bit warmer today at 45 degrees and five more notches to climb by mid-afternoon. The sky is dull, but I will still take the warmer temperature.

I am feeling a bit better, today. Yesterday was a battle of fatigue, sinus pressure, and some achiness. I still have sinus pressure but the fatigue has lessened.

Today, my maternal great-grandmother, Mary Belle Jones Clary, passed away in 1969. I still remember Grandma Belle and can remember her sweet smile and adorable nature. She was the daughter of Joel Monroe Jones and Anna Greenlee Jones, and the wife of John William Garrett Clary. Belle and Garrett had three children, Ronald, Donna (my grandmother), and Joyce.

I have been receiving updates from my students attending the OMEA (Ohio Music Education Association) solo and ensemble contest and from the nine students for today’s event, eight have reported with a Division 1 rating. On February 11th there will be four more students in a different district. They should be in similar standing.

In a short while, I will be heading down to Centerville High School to see a student in the lead female role for the understudy performance of RADIUM GIRLS. It’s quite a show. The set, as always, is incredible. I am looking forward to seeing Sarah in this role.

Time to get ready for the show.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: RADIUM GIRLS poster; photos of my great grandmother.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: John McCrory of Scotland & Indiana

John McCrory is my 6th great-grandfather.

John McCrory

BIRTH: 1778, Scotland DEATH: 30 Jul 1868 (aged 89–90); Fayette County, Indiana BURIAL: Glenwood Union Cemetery, Glenwood, Rush County, Indiana, USA

John McCrory was born about 1778 in Scotland where he grew to manhood. Emigrated to Country Antrim, Ireland where he met and married Lillie Aken. Sailed from Belfast with wife and 4 children 1811, age about 33. Shipwrecked. On ocean 6 months. Arrived Philadelphia, Pa., 1812. Lived in Pa. for 7 years. Came down the Ohio River on a flatboat to Cinti. From there to Fayette County, Ind., by wagon arrived in 1819. Tailor by trade. Blind in one eye. Daughter Margaret married Alexander Gillispie Saxon. His wife died in 1843. Died in 1868. Buried in Glenwood.” [John McCrory photograph and information c/o great-great grandson Arthur Richard Saxon.]

“Connersville, Indiana. R. R. #1 November 21, 1962.

My Dear Son Arthur: Your letter and pictures arrived in the mail yesterday. The pictures were much better than I had expected them to be and I am proud of the job you did this is the STORY to the best of all information I have.

JOHN MCCRORY was born about 1778 in Scotland where he grew to manhood and emigrated to County Antrim IRELAND where he met and married Lillie AKEN. He died July 30, 1868, in Fairview Township, Fayette County, Indiana at the home of his daughter Margaret, wife of Alexander Gillespie Saxon, and was buried at Glenwood, Rush County, Indiana. His wife died October 23, 1843, and was buried beside her daughter, Jane, who died at the age of three years, on the spot where the first cabin was built on land entered by John McCrory in 1820, NW 1/4 Section 30 Township 14 Range 12 E. The graves are marked with a large boulder to replace the marble markers which were destroyed… In the latter part of 1811 John McCrory with his wife and four children, Robert the oldest was 13 years old, Samuel the next, William born in 1804, and Margaret born in 1809, set sail from Belfast, Ireland for America and six months later landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after being shipwrecked once off the Portuguese Islands where they were obliged to burn butter for fuel and pray for help until a Portuguese ship came by picked up the crew brought them on to Pennsylvania after being searched three times by a British Man of War trying to put Robert 13 years old in the British Army on account of the war of 1812 brewing. The family lived in Pennsylvania for seven years then came down the Ohio river on a flatboat to Cincinnati and from there to Fayette County, Indiana by wagon in 1819. They entered land in 1820 and took possession in cold weather with ten inches of snow on the ground by a large walnut tree that had fallen to the ground. They scraped the snow away from the tree, and built a lean-to of poles, brush, and bark for a roof with a fire in front for heat, cooking and dishwashing, and any amount of other useful things to be used … John McCrory was a tailor by trade and could make as fine a suit of clothes or white shirt as any man could demand of him, also he learned boxing in IRELAND but said little about it in America until at a Log Rolling when some men got to picking on him for a fight. Being a peaceable man he refused and said he did not want to hurt anyone. Not satisfied they kept on until he made up his mind to accommodate them which he did so well and quickly they never asked for another fight. When he died his tailor iron was left in the closet under the stairway … until Father took the Taylor Iron to the blacksmith and had it shaped into an iron wedge. … I believe you will be able to find all you want from the above lines. Your Father A. G. SAXON”. [Copy of typed letter, A. R. Saxon files.]

“Connersville Township… land sales… section 30 sold in 1814, 1820 and 1823 to …John McCrary …”; p. 166 “… John McCrory, an Irishman from Pennsylvania, settled where James Ochiltree now lives. He was a tailor by trade and a good citizen. He lived until a few years ago, and died leaving a number of descendants, most of whom live in this county.”; p. 292: “… John McCrory, a native of Ireland (sic-Scotland), where the latter married Lillie Aken, and in 1812 emigrated with his wife to the United States, remaining first in Pennsylvania, whence in 1819 they moved to Fayette County, Ind., where they resided until their death. The mother died October 23, 1843, and the father July 30, 1868. They were parents of five children: Robert, Samuel, Margaret, Jane and William.” [1885 History of Fayette Co. p. 164.]

‘Original Land Purchases of Fayette County’ p. 9 McCrary, John page 26 Nov. 2, 1820; ‘Early Landowners of Fayette County’ p. 37 McCroney John & Lilley D85; McCroney Samuel – son of John & Lilley D85; McCrory Robert E 254; McCrory Wm. E 77. [Fayette County Court House Recorder’s Office typed transcriptions booklet Landowners of Fayette County.]

“Early History Of Fairview Township Given In Fayette Atlas — First Settlers Listed Following is the early history of Fairview township as recorded in the Fayette county atlas published in 1875: … In 1822 came John, William and Samuel McCrorey, natives of Ireland. John was the father of Robert McCrorey, who still resides on a fine farm in the southwest part of the township. …”. [Connersville news article re p. 14 1875 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Fayette Co., IN.]

“Township 14 North, Range 12 East Section 30 sold in 1814, 1820 and 1823 to William Sparks, Jonathan Eddy, Ira Wilcox, John McCrary and John McMillan.” [Barrows, 1917 History of Fayette Co., IN p. 223.]

FamilySearch 1850 Connersville, Fayette, IN Census William Mccleary household (John Mccrary M 69 Ireland). [McCrory]

“Reunions John McCrory. The reunion of members of the John McCrory family was held at Memorial Park, New Castle, Sunday, with 60 in attendance. A basket dinner was served at noon after which a business session was conducted by Mrs. Lucy Simmonds of Tipton, vice president. Mrs. Herschell Rose conducted memorial services for Moses Poff, president, who died this year. For the program A. G. Saxon gave a short history of John McCrory who migrated from Ireland and settled on a farm west of Williams Creek in Connersville township, Fayette county. Officers were elected: A. G. Saxon, president; Miss Nannie McCrory, vice president; Mrs. Francis Link, secretary-treasurer. The program committee for the 1941 reunion is Mrs. Omer Warnake, Mrs. Lucy Simmonds and William Saxon. The reunion will be held the third Sunday in September at Memorial Park.” [Connersville News Examiner 9-16-40 p. 2.]

“John and Lillie Aiken McCrory Scotsman John McCrory met and married Lillie Aiken in Ireland. The McCrory family, including children Robert, Samuel, William and Margaret, emigrated to America in 1811, surviving a shipwreck and three searches by sailors from a British Man of War. Thirteen-year-old Robert was of impressment age for the coming War of 1812. The family safely arrived in America in 1812 and lived in Pennsylvania for seven years. In 1819 the McCrorys traveled by flatboat down the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio then by wagon to Fayette County, Indiana. Great grandson Arthur Gillespie Saxon recalled a story about John noting that ‘…at log rollings, those pioneer events that combined business and pleasure, one of the pleasures was boxing. His neighbors didn’t know that the quiet McCrory, a tailor in his native land, had also been trained in the science of boxing. He resisted urgings to get in on the fun, knowing how easily he could handle any of them, but they finally made it so hot for him he had to wade in, and in nothing flat had taken care of all comers.’ Ninety-year-old John died in 1868 and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Rush County. Sixty-six-year-old Lillie died in 1843 after a fall into the fireplace where she had been cooking. She was buried beside youngest daughter Jane, who had died at age three, on the land where the McCrorys had built their first cabin. That land north of Indiana Highway 44 and west of Bunker Hill, purchased by John and Lillie in 1820, was owned for over one hundred years by family descendants through five generations. John and Lillie were neighbors to the Alexander and Mary Baldwin Saxon family; a son and daughter of the McCrory family married a daughter and son of the Saxon family. Robert and Salina Saxon McCrory’s children were John, Mary, Annie, William, Margaret, Samuel, Clayton, Jane, Kate, and Salina. The 1917 Barrows History documented that ‘Robert McCrory … a native of Ireland walked from Cincinnati to the land office at Indianapolis and there entered a quarter of a section of land two and one-half miles northeast of Glenwood in this country, where he established his home. He married Celina Saxon, who was born in Georgia and who was but a child when her parents came to Indiana, settling in Fayette county at a time when Indians still were numerous hereabout. The Indians at that time were continuing to give such cause for apprehension on the part of the settlers that the little Celina was not permitted to wander far from the house in her play, lest she should be stolen by the Indians.’ Robert and Salina Saxon McCrory descendant surnames include Ball, Murphy, Marks, Ochiltree, Alexander, Rea, and Crawford. Alexander Gillespie and Margaret McCrory Saxon’s children were Jane, Selina, McHenry, John, Annie, William, Savanna, Robert, Samuel, James, Mary and Elizabeth. In 1869 the Connersville Examiner reported ‘Our estimable lady friend, Mrs. A. G. Saxon, met with a severe accident some days since by being kicked by a cow while milking, dislocating the knee joint, which has been very painful ever since. She is about sixty years of age, which will prevent a speedy recovery, though she is improving as rapidly as possible.’ Alexander Gillespie and Margaret McCrory Saxon descendant surnames include Shortridge, Jeffrey, Hinchman, Lewis, Dawson, and Maze. Direct line descendants of Alexander Gillespie and Margaret McCrory Saxon’s son Robert, Fayette County farmer and livestock trader, include his son Arthur Gillespie, Fayette County farmer, ditcher, blacksmith and gun maker, grandson Herbert Leslie, Rush County farmer and painter, great-grandson k.e.s. … and great-great-granddaughter j.m.s.r … almost two years old when she first visited many ancestor sites in Fayette County as her paternal grandfather recalled the McCrory family history. … Other McCrory descendant surnames on the Herbert Saxon line include Coan, McDowell, Wondra, Phillips, Resler, Banta, Manochio, Nigh, Whitaker, Reynolds, Leising, and Bischoff. Ancestors John McCrory and Lillie Akin McCrory left quite a legacy!” [Article submitted for ‘A Family and Community History of Connersville and Fayette County, Indiana In Commemoration of Connersville’s Bicentennial Celebration 2013’ by great-grandson k.e.s. c/o great great granddaughter j.m.s.r.]

“JOHN McCRORY As an early pioneer in Fayette County, Indiana, John McCrory’s actions exemplified the desire to live in the freedom offered in America and early Indiana. The pioneer spirit, fortitude, stamina and initiative of John McCrory and other members of his family helped lay the foundation for those of us who follow as proud and resourceful Hoosiers.”

“JOHN McCRORY As an early pioneer in Fayette County, Indiana, John McCrory’s actions exemplified the desire to live in the freedom offered in America and early Indiana. The primary source for the following narrative concerning John McCrory was a letter written in 1962 by one of McCrory’s great-grandsons, Arthur Gillespie Saxon. John McCrory was born about 1778 in Scotland and emigrated to County Antrim, Ireland where he met and married Lillie Aken. In 1811 John, his wife, and four children set sail from Belfast, Ireland for America. During their voyage, they were shipwrecked and rescued. In addition, the British boarded their ship three times searching for British subjects to impress into military service during the War of 1812. Since 13-year-old son Robert McCrory was with them this was particularly stressful to the McCrorys. Some six months later the McCrorys reached America when they landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After seven years in Pennsylvania, they traveled down the Ohio River on a flatboat to Cincinnati, Ohio. From there they made their way by wagon to Fayette County, Indiana. John McCrory and his family settled on land west of Connersville in 1820. They took possession in cold weather with heavy snow on the ground, scraping the snow from a large walnut tree that had fallen and making a lean-to of poles, brush, and bark for a home during the winter of 1820-1821. That spring McCrory built a cabin for their home. Great grandson Arthur Gillespie Saxon recalled a story about John noting that ‘… at log rollings, those pioneer events that combined business and pleasure, one of the pleasures was boxing. His neighbors didn’t know that the quiet McCrory, a tailor in his native land, had also been trained in the science of boxing. He resisted urgings to get in on the fun, knowing how easily he could handle any of them, but they finally made it so hot for him he had to wade in, and in nothing flat had taken care of all comers.’ John’s sixty-six-year-old wife Lillie died on October 23, 1843, after she fell into the fireplace where she was doing the family cooking. He buried her beside a daughter, who had died at the age of three years, on the spot where their first cabin was built on that land entered by John McCrory in 1820. Ninety-year-old John died July 30, 1868, in Fairview Township, Fayette County, Indiana at the home of his daughter Margaret McCrory Saxon and was buried in Glenwood Union Cemetery, Glenwood, Rush County, Indiana. The pioneer spirit, fortitude, stamina, and initiative of John McCrory and other members of his family helped lay the foundation for those of us who follow as proud and resourceful Hoosiers.” [Nomination and article submitted to the Pioneer Founders of Indiana project by great-grandson k.e.s. 9-12-2013.]


John McCrory’s stone is to the left of the shared stone for his son Robert McCrory and daughter-in-law Salina Saxon McCrory.

John McCrory (1778-1868)

Robert McCrory (1801-1879)

Mary McCrory Ball ( 1828-1903) m. William W. Ball (1822-1909)

Prudence Anna Ball Greenlee (1851-1929) m. Andrew Taylor Greenlee (1847-1943)

Anna Greenlee Jones (1875-1950) m. Joel Monroe Jones (1872-1946)

Mary Belle Jones Clary (1897-1969) m. John William Garrett Clary (1897-1997)

Donna Mae Clary Barmes (1924-1992) m. Leroy Delmar Barmes (1921-2004)

Diana Kay Barmes Haas (1945-2019) m. Danny Lee Jolliffe, David Lewis Haas

Darin Lee Jolliffe-Haas (1964-)

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Erma’s previous owner reaches out

The big topic on social media is the impending snowstorm arriving in The Miami Valley within the next twenty-four hours. It really won’t impact me for travel purposes, except maybe Thursday morning when I take Mama Kay to the hospital, but I am betting things will be back to normal on the roads. I am, however, grateful that I will see my OMEA soloists by the end of this evening so that doesn’t impact their in-person lessons as it did with Sunday’s crew.

Yesterday morning, I received the neatest surprise. I got a note from Erma’s previous owner. I had specifically given SICSA permission to share my contact information should the lady wish to keep watch over Erma. The following day, I sent my contact information to SICSA and included my blog site address with a plea to please share my information. I knew the lady was in a place where surrendering Erma was her only option, and I respect that. It was so nice to hear from her and to learn about my girl when I didn’t have her in my life. This lady was the second owner for six to eight years, and Erma’s original name was “Smoothie.” The lady didn’t like the name and renamed her, “Precious.” I would say Erma has been a great sport accepting her names.

It is time to shower and get ready for Mama Kay to return from Noon Mass so we can grab Taco Tuesday. It will be the first reunion of our regular Taco Tuesday gang in several weeks and I am eager to see everyone and enjoy some Mexican food.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: What a snowstorm!

The big topic on social, the news, and basic chatter was today’s snowstorm. Last evening, schools began closing by 5 PM. I think these closing notifications, some arriving during students’ lessons, was a great motivator.

Well, when I checked outside around 3:30 AM, I was beginning to figure out that the weather reports were a bust. When I let out the dogs at 7:15 AM, I was in the kitchen and saw someone walking along the sidewalk. They tried to open my trash container, to throw away an empty coffee cup. When he could not get the container lid open, he threw his cup on the ground and yanked my container over. I put on a pair of jeans and boots and set the container back up.

I spent the remainder of the morning working from bed with Bailey and Harrigan pressed against me. It was a productive morning for research. Last night, I discovered the 1899 Sanborn Fire Maps for my hometown, Elwood, Indiana, and I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the nineteen sections. The home in which I grew up at the southwest corner of Ninth and Main streets originally had an attached kitchen and a substantial carriage house.

I began writing this blog at 11:15 AM and forgot all about it because I became so engrossed in research and discussion of Elwood’s history on Facebook with some friends.

Make it a great day!

PHOTO: 1899 photo of where I grew up from 1964-1983.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday morning

Thursday morning delivered the lightest dusting of snow. The day promises to be cold and grey. Hopefully, in about six weeks we shall begin to see hints of spring and that will do my heart a wonder of good.

I cannot seem to make a dent in my personal emails. More and more arrive, and even as organized as I am, it’s still kicking my butt. I am taking my laptop and other items with me today to keep me busy while Mama Kay is in surgery. We will leave here at 9:30 AM for to arrive at her expected 10:30 AM check-in with surgery scheduled to follow two hours later.

Tonight, I have a ZoomFest with fellow Lincoln family historians and I cannot wait for that to begin. Tomorrow, Laura and I shall see RADIUM GIRLS at Centerville High School and I will return Saturday afternoon to see some students in the understudy performance.

And that is all I have to report. I am thinking I may swing in a nap or two this morning as I slept for a total of about four hours through the night.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: The Quartet

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MY DAY: Surrounded by love

Several photos of The Quartet.

Bailey snuggling with me. Later, Bailey snuggling with Chief while the pooches nap in my study.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: The end of the week…

I packed a lot into my Thursday and all in all, it was such a good day.

Mama Kay breezed through her foot surgery. We were at Sycamore Hospital for less than three hours. Before taking her home we ran thru the KFC drive-thru so she would have some food. I checked on her last night and a short while ago and she was doing fine and managing the discomfort with just Ibuprofen.

Last night was a Mary Lincoln Coterie meeting and chat session and it felt so good to immerse myself in the conversation of friends and colleagues. We accomplished a good deal of planning and creative discussion. However, within a few minutes, those of us gathered online were searching websites for information. We go down a multitude of rabbit holes each time and I love nothing more than to explore history.

Earlier this week, I learned my grandmother’s first cousin, Judy Jones Sanders, had passed away several years ago. I had reached out to her daughter in 2017 and at the time, Judy had stopped using her computer. I wish I had known of Judy’s passing but during Covid’s quarantine, life was a bit whacky. Judy and my great-aunt, Joyce Clary Riser, were the last surviving grandchildren of Joel Monroe Jones and Anna Greenlee Jones. Judy was the daughter of my great-grandmother’s (Mary Belle Jones Clary) youngest brother, Harry H. Jones and Vivian L. Silvey Jones.

This past year, I have noted a number of Facebook memories where I discussed various health items that I now recognize as different signs of my MS. For many years, things would pop up and they were deemed to be other things. On this date in 2017, I wrote:

“I am moving toward being 52.5 years old this March 25. The past month, I’ve noticed walking through the house, I proceed a little slower. Sometimes, going up and down the steps is not as quick as it once was. Eating takes a little longer and sometimes I have difficulty with liquids flopping up into the nasal cavities.  Tying my shoes requires extra effort. Loading or unloading the dishwasher isn’t as quick as it once was. Some routine tasks now mean I’ve got to spend additional time on them. I don’t feel older (well, some days I do).”

I find all this to be fascinating because I just believed it was part of the aging process. However, there have been many signs since my mid-twenties that we now know were specific signs of multiple sclerosis. My sister’s MS is different from mine in many ways, but we also have several similarities. Again, it is fascinating.

I need to return to my writing for the next 90 minutes before it is time to get ready for a show tonight. Tomorrow, I will see a matinee of a student in RADIUM GIRLS at Centerville High School.

Sunday, the new weeks will commence with three days of teaching, taking Mama Kay to her check-up appointment, and then the two days of back-to-back anniversaries remembering the passing of Don Parker, Thursday, and my younger brother, Destin Haas, on Friday. However, Friday afternoon, there will be an update to The Haasienda. Stay tuned.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: Erma & Bailey, 2019

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MY DAY: Bailey…

Bailey, after nine years, still struggles with basic commands like sit and stay. However, she can sneeze on command (yes, you read that correctly), and she gives kisses to Erma and Chief. Her kibble doesn’t reach the top of the bowl but Bailey is such a sweetheart.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Hugs, kisses, and “I love you”

A hug. A kiss. “I love you.”

This was my life as a child with my parents, my siblings, my Mother’s parents, my great grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, and my cousins. It is still practiced and with the newer generations of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Growing up, Mother always received a hug, kiss, and an “I love you” before I left for school, when I got home, and before going to bed. Mother oft loved sharing that even through adulthood, I would spontaneously hug her and say, “I love you.” Now, Mama Kay gets the hug, kiss, and “I love you.”

My sons were raised with the same routine of a hug and “I love you” before leaving for school, and again before heading upstairs to bed. No. 1 and No. 3 were always forthcoming with additional hugs and an “I love you.” I regularly receive a text message or a recording from my London-based son with “we love you” from Joshua and Dave.

Mother’s side of the family was demonstrative but only a few of my paternal family was. Mother and my great-aunt, Lois Stack Richardson, entered the family giving hugs. It caught on, some, but I remember my great grandparents, Ernest & Garnett Richardson celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. My great grandfather leaned in to buss my great grandmother on the cheek and she growled, “Ernie, the kids are here!” Their children were in their forties through their thirties!

Hugs and kisses and “I love you” are such wonderful things to share.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: The A&W Root beer stand

As a small child, I loved going to the A&W Root Beer Stand in East Elwood. I got to press the speaker box button so my parents could order.

Before the updated the eatery with attached food tray holders, the trays were clipped to the car door’s window. I especially loved this when I was younger because I could reach from the backseat to grab hold of my tiny frosty mug.

Whenever I’d watch THE FLINTSTONES opening credits, I’d always identify the one moment with going to the root beer stand.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Treasures from the dump

My great grandfather, Virgil Barmes of Elwood, Indiana, loved going to rummage through the city dump. Yes, it was gross but the gentleman retrieved so many things which he repaired or fixed up.

The big prizes were bicycles which he could easily repair, repaint, and give away to family and friends. I was the recipient of two bicycles.

The other thing from which we benefited was lawn chairs. We had tons and tons of lawn chairs. Many folks would simply throw them out rather than repair the webbing. Grandpa Virgil salvaged the metal frames, rewebbed them, and gave them away. I know my grandparents always had enough chairs for large family gatherings, as did my parents. I had a small chair that Grandpa Virgil repaired and it was used for several generations beyond me.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: The eyes have it

I learned that my grandmother’s and Aunt Joyce’s first cousin, Judy Jones Sanders, a granddaughter of Joel & Anna Jones, died from Covid in 2020; none of us had any idea Judy had passed away.

I looked at a photo of Judy’s son, Brent, who is a year older than me but second cousins with my mother. 

Grandpa Will Ball’s eyes were striking and strong throughout the generations. Grandpa Ball would be Brent’s 3rd great-grandfather.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Who ate my sandwich?

I nibbled at a sandwich while working from my desk in the study. I rose to get something from the kitchen and returned within thirty seconds to discover an empty plate.

“Who ate my sandwich?”

Bailey’s response:

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Monday afternoon

It has been a day alternating in attending to items around the house mixed with some napping while my DLJH Favorites playlist continues. Right now, “Angus Dei” by Karl Jenkins is resounding throughout the house and it is perfect.

I finished my pill packing for the month. I detest that day when it arrives but I prefer to have my morning and evening meds prepped for the entire month rather than each week. It is done and will wait for another month.

I begin teaching at 4 PM today because students are in rehearsals for shows. Sunday was a never-ceasing round of preparedness and individual growth. Several students were battling cold and sinus issues but were troopers every second.

There is very little to report today other than closing my bedroom gate after ordering Harrigan and Bailey into the hallway so I could sit on the floor and love on Erma and Chief without The Sisters’ overpowering energy and wiggling. They each act as though I never give them any attention and go nuts when I love on Chief or Erma. Bailey and Harrigan sleep beside me every night and just forget about all that attention!

I have fifteen minutes until it is time to teach. Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday snow

On the stove is a very large pot filled with chopped cabbage, onions, sausage, two containers of Chinese hot and sour soup, garlic, seasoning a can of fire roasted tomatoes, a can of Italian seasoned tomatoes, and a can of tomatoes with chili peppers and onions. The aroma is satisfying and inviting.

When I let the dogs out to potty at 7:15 AM, the snow was just beginning. The weather forecast said the winter storm warning would continue until 7 PM. By 10:30 AM, when I looked outside I knew it was to be a Zoom lesson day for students.

I cranked up the speaker for my “DLJH Favorites” playlist which is a plethora of songs from classical to Meghan Trainor. I seldom have music playing while I am working but today called for it.

I am attaching photos of the snow that joined us today. I hope it is out of the way as it’s a terrific week of things to do: two shows, three Zoom events, taking Mama Kay to the hospital for outpatient surgery, and something else which I cannot recall at the moment.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday with The Quartet

In thirty minutes, I will meet Mama Kay for post-Mass dinner, and I am still contemplating a return to The Schuster Center tonight for the Sondheim tribute with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and some incredible performing artists from Wright State University. It is unlikely it will happen, but I am still considering it.

It’s been a productive day but I feel unaccomplished. I have attended to a few household tasks and dallied in some research but nothing I consider to be major strides.

The Sisters, Bailey and Harrigan, are different than most dogs. At nine years, they’re still hyper and filled with tons of energy. I think they remain trim due to all the wiggling they do, especially Bailey. While they are devoted to one another, they are terribly territorial when it comes to me. If one is snuggling with me and the other approaches, there is growling and even the snarling of teeth. Bailey sleeps on my pillow with me or wedged into my chest. Harrigan stays at my knees or feet. However, if one moves, the other’s head pops up like the periscope of a submarine on a mission.

When they return from pottying, all four dogs go to their positions and sit without fail. I don’t make Chief sit for his treat as his hind legs are giving the old boy trouble. Bailey is generally the last to sit. When I remind her to “sit,” Erma, who has been seated from the start, slams her butt against the floor so that I am assured she is sitting.

There are days when I laugh a lot at their antics. Each has a unique personality and that allows me and each pooch to have a different relationship than the other three. It really is a great deal of fun.

However, they are all seniors and moving in on fourteen, thirteen, nine, and nine years. I know there will be that day…

It is time to start watching for Mama Kay to pull into her driveway so we can head out to eat.

Continue making it a great day!

PHOTOS: A) Bailey woke up close to 3 AM and as she sat up, the one cover was still on her head. She stood like this for the longest time. B) The others.

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: An orchestra, some college students, and Sondheim…

Tonight was utterly remarkable watching a stage filled with some of the Miami Valley’s most exceptional performers gathered to celebrate the genius and the music of Stephen Sondheim. On the Schuster Center stage was assembled the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Patrick Reynolds, and performers from Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Picture supplemented by choral students of Wright State University’s Department of Music.

Saturday, January 21st, you still have an opportunity to grab your tickets for this 7:30 PM repeat performance. I am trying to figure out if I can revisit the program again.

For the past twenty years, I have seen countless professional performers on the Schuster’s stage in musicals and performing with the DPO. Tonight, I didn’t see students from Wright State University’s theatre department, I saw performers just as capable as those professionals who pass through on national tours. There was a beautiful balance of artistry shared by Wright State University theatre students and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

There were some powerful moments throughout the program that overpowered several disappointing sound operation gaffes. “Our Time” from MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG and “Sunday” from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE closed both acts with WSU choral singers joining the theatre students for high-quality choral singing under the direction of the new director of choral activities, Nathan Nagir. “A Weekend in the Country” from A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC lit up the stage, as did “Get Married Today” from COMPANY. “Not While I’m Around” from SWEENY TODD with soloist Ben Ohnemus and Alexis Ariana singing “Send in the Clowns” from A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC gave me chills. But there were a number of other soloists and small ensembles that made me love, all the more, what Wright State University contributes to our world of musical theatre.

Stage directors, Joe Deer and Greg Hellems, along with musical direction from Wade Russo and Matt Ebright are several of the personnel and education examples that demonstrate why those students were so extraordinary. Rather than the usual concert protocol of waiting for a performer to enter or exit the stage before beginning the next selection, the transitions flowed seamlessly between numbers.

There was one moment I found very touching. After the mass of Wright State performers bowed and departed the stage, conductor Patrick Reynolds called them back for an unexpected final acknowledgment from the enthusiastic audience. From the top balcony, you could feel Mr. Reynold’s pride and fondness for these young performers. I think we all shared his sentiment.

Dayton, Ohio. Yes, this took place in Dayton, Ohio. Our magnificent orchestra and a remarkable local university musical theatre program blended to honor a renowned artist. I think Mr. Sondheim would have wiped away a tear or two for such a tribute.

If you don’t believe me, grab Saturday evening’s performance at The Schuster Center for the Performing Arts.

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MY DAY: A kaleidoscope kind of day

What a kaleidoscope day of events and experiences!

Mama Kay surprised me with a drive toward the Dayton Mall and lunch at O’Charley’s restaurant. I enjoyed a sirloin steak, baked potato, and loaded potato soup. I love it when others join us for meals, but every now and then, it’s nice to have Mama Kay all to myself because our conversations are freer and it’s very much like a mother-son chat.

We exited O’Charley’s and by the time we headed to Sam’s Club for gas, the temperature had dropped, tumultuous dark clouds were rolling through, and the wind was quite strong.

After the dogs ate, I sat at my computer to write for the next hour. By 4 PM, the sky was black and the rain began. At 4:30 PM, everything went dark inside. I have lived on Shroyer Road for almost twenty years, and we’ve lost power very few times, even when others in the neighborhood are without power for several hours. During Hurricane Ike’s vicious pass-thru, we were only without power for less than four hours and others throughout the Miami Valley were without power for nine to fourteen days.

I sat at my desk for ten minutes, hoping the power would return. It did not. I was stumped as to what I should or could do. I was thrilled that no power also meant no sweeping and with it nearly pitch black in the house, dusting was also eliminated from my list of hoped-for items to attend to. I checked the AES site, and they confirmed that the power would be returned by 6 PM. The only thing I could think of doing was take a nap. And I did. I turned on my lamp beside the bed to hopefully stir me when the power returned. It did not. By 6:30 PM, I had determined I was not going to head next door to attend the Lakota West High School’s forty-minute preview concert for their upcoming presentation at OMEA conference. I spent the next ninety minutes writing before the Zoom writing seminar, featuring local author, Katrina Kittle, began. Ms. Kittle lives south of town and they were still experiencing the foul weather at 8 PM. The power was secure for the next ninety minutes.

Katrina Kittle is not only a solid teacher, but an incredible motivator. The lack of power did not motivate me to clean the house, but Katrina motivated me to write.

Since I am working on a project in which the story begins in 1904, I am conducting a good deal of historical research. One thing that’s been a blessing is having social media groups to assist me with my research on various topics and I am so grateful to the members of these groups who willingly and excitedly share their passion. Three check in with me each week or so to see if they can assist me with anything from The Palmer House in Chicago to items regarding the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Tonight, I explored the internet about Barney & Smith passenger cars, designed and constructed in Dayton, Ohio, and Pullman passenger cars. When I could not find results about how and when the two companies were used with different railways, I took to my social media groups. No one has answered my query, but these folks will come through by tomorrow morning.

It’s 10:50 PM and I am pumped up with Trader Joe’s black tea, an old-fashioned wild blueberry pie from Kroger’s bakery, and Katrina Kittle’s inspiration.

PHOTOS: Barney & Smith passenger cars. You can tour a Barney & Smith passenger car at Carillon Historical Park.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A beautiful Thursday

I could not ask for better weather. The sun is blasting us with its bright golden rays and the temperature is nearing the mid 50s.

I was up late last night working on my Boone Township project and finally crawled into bed around 2 AM. My day had been a mixture of lunch, grabbing a few groceries, writing and editing, enjoying g the pooches, and making a huge batch of cabbage vegetable soup. I took several containers to Mama Kay who was recovering from a tooth extraction from the day before.

Tonight, I will attend a 40-minute concert next door with the Lakota West Symphony Band as they prepare for their OMEA state conference presentation in early February. After the concert, I’ll rush home to participate in the Phoenix Writer Conference featuring Dayton’s very own, Katrina Kittle, an outstanding author.

Very shortly, Mama Kay will arrive in her driveway and we shall lunch with her resident niece and visiting nephew I’m enjoying the weather seated on Mama Kay’s enclosed side porch until she arrives from Mass.

Make it a great day!

PHOTO: Erma & Chief

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Ancestral homes in Boone Township

My family were early pioneers of several townships that are nestled in the northeastern corner of Madison County in Central Indiana.

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP

BOONE TOWNSHIP

The Ball Family home looking east. This property is directly north of Forrestville Cemetery.
The Greenlee Home owned by Andrew Taylor Greenlee & Prudence Ball Greenlee; southeast of Forrestville Cemetery.
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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A mild Tuesday afternoon

I have a few windows open to invite the comfortable breeze inside to hopefully air out the house. I spent about thirty minutes blowing a ton of leaves from the front yard to the easement. These leaves are from the huge walnut tree that has ivy surrounding it; however, the leaves are not from the ivy, but another vine intermingled.

The sun has lifted my spirits and being outside aided the spirits a bit more.

Several students are down for the count due to whatever crud is going around in their schools. Since they each have OMEA solo & ensemble contest the last Saturday of this month, I will try to schedule them into a make-up lesson, even if it is Zoom.

I am going to work on a few things before students begin arriving in an hour.

Make it a great day!

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: The Greenlee wedding anniversary

PHOTOS: Andrew Taylor Greenlee as a young man; Prudence Ball as a young woman; Andrew Taylor Greenlee & Prudence Anna Ball Greenlee; the Greenlee tombstone in Forrestville Cemetery,

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday afternoon

After going to bed a little after midnight, I sprang awake at 3:30 AM and remained so until time to feed the dogs at 7 AM. I opted to skip the London/Boston/Kettering ZoomFest to grab some sleep. I wrestled with actual sleep until Noon and I finally gave in and officially started the day.

Last evening, Mama Kay and I went to Laura’s to see her youngest son, Michael, and her granddaughter, Emily, in from North Carolina. We got another surprise when Jodi Harney, Laura and Michael’s step-sister, daughter of Janice Moore, came up to hug us. Jodi decided to swing up from Florida to join in on the fun. We went to El Torro’s new location at The Greene, the former Mimi’s. We returned to Laura’s for more chatter until 9:30 PM.

I begin teaching at 3:30 PM, and thanks to Rita, my sudden hole-filled schedule was compacted. Several students avoided telling me they were to be gone despite it being on The Studio’s calendar with reminders going out that I would be teaching today and tomorrow. I always continue teaching on Monday holidays and have for many years.

I have been practicing exercises for my left arm. During the festival at The Park, I did something to my upper arm or shoulder that resulted in a stiff shoulder with cold, tingling hands and fingers. The heating pad helps and I am continuing the exercises which also seem to help. I wish there were an easier way to grow older; however, these little physical kinks occurred when I was younger.

I am loving my work with the Boone Township writing project! That will be a focus this week, as well as an online writing conference featuring local author, Katrina Kittle. Friday evening, Laura and I will attend the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s presentation of Stephen Sondheim selections that will feature the amazing talent from Wright State University’s theatre department.

Muse Machine’s production, THE LITTLE MERMAID, brings down the curtain and I’m sure the students from throughout The Miami Valley, who have invested time, energy, traveling miles to and from rehearsals and performances are sad to see it end. Since 1992, I’ve consistently had students in lead roles, supporting roles, or understudies to the lead and supporting roles, as well as ensemble and orchestra. I admire the tremendous work that goes into the productions by both the youth and the adult leadership. Dayton is truly fortunate to have such a program to impact so many young artists in a variety of avenues.

It’s time to prep the studio and front room for students.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: One of my students, Isabel Rawlins, who played Ursula in THE LITTLE MERMAID; an overhead area of the new El Toro location at The Greene.

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