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: Saturday morning… barely

It’s about ten minutes before Noon on this last Saturday of November 2022 and I am only an hour into my day.

Last night, The Park closed at 10 PM Friday night but my shift did not conclude until 11 PM. Lochlan was kind enough to drive me home and after letting out the dogs, I ate two hotdogs and crawled into bed. It was an incredibly busy night with almost no breaks and lines sometimes wrapping around a lap. Lochlan was supposed to be in The Roundhouse with me but at the last minute he was moved to another site, much to our mutual disappointment as we developed a smooth working process. Last evening, despite great Guests, it was not as exciting as the previous Wednesday shift, and the flow was often a bit rugged.

The nice part of being in The Roundhouse is the number of steps I am logging. I have been getting off the bus on Main Street and Stone Mill so I can take the leisurely walk over to The Park to get some fresh air and exercise. Wednesday, I got 9,829 steps and Friday ended with 9,412 steps. A nice accomplishment.

Tonight, my shift ends at 11 PM and I don’t return to The Park until Monday. Sunday and Tuesday are my days dedicated to tightly packed lessons.

I need to spend a bit more time with The Quartet as I know they have missed me greatly Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. They don’t understand my new schedule and the lengthy amounts of alone time. I leave at 2 PM for 3:30 PM shift starts and then Canine Crew members come around 6 PM to feed and potty the pooches. It’s another five to six hours before I return. I don’t think they’ve ever had this much alone time.

I need to attend to some things before getting ready to leave for The Park.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thanksgiving 2022

The day could not be more beautiful and unseasonably warm for the end of November and Thanksgiving Day.

Throughout my life, I have always leaned toward a sense of daily gratitude. Thanksgiving Day has simply been a day of spending time with loved ones with a nudge and more appreciation for so many things in life. Today, I will spend time with loved ones at Laura’s and the usual suspects; Laura’s children, Jozi and Kelley, Mama Kay, Laura’s dad and stepmother John and Janice Moore, Mama Kay’s niece Joyce, and Kelley’s girlfriend Kerryn. This gathered crew always makes me happy and feel especially loved.

My orange-flavored cheesecake is chilling in the refrigerator and I am chilling, too, until time to head to Laura’s. I am a bit tired, perhaps from last evening’s shift at The Park.

Make it a great day!

PHOTO: Chief and Erma watching me prepare the cheesecake.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Wednesday & “A Carillon Christmas”

I cannot believe we are to reach 54 degrees today. Right now, it is 50 degrees, and I am loving it. The past few days have been stunningly beautiful with the bright sunshine spending most of the day with us.

Today, I start my five-week stint in the Round House (Transportation Museum) at The Park running concessions.

I will leave on No. 17 at 2:04 PM (unless I have the slow bus driver) and arrive around 2:40 PM before my 3:30 PM shift begins. I am expecting the evening to be busy as it will give many locals and their Thanksgiving guests something delightful to do. I know Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving will be a huge crowd. The big plus is that the temperatures will be hanging in the mid-50s for the remainder of this week, with Thanksgiving hitting almost 60.

My Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday shifts run until 10:00 PM. Unfortunately, No. 18 does not arrive until 11:23 PM but I can always keep busy while waiting. Fridays and Saturdays I work from 3:30 PM until 11:00 PM. On these nights I won’t return home until almost midnight. Sundays and Tuesdays are completely devoted to full days of packed teaching. It looks grueling in writing but it’s only for five weeks and it will keep me occupied.

I have been sleeping well the past several nights and adjusting to no early shifts at The Park. This will allow me to sleep a little more during the mornings since I will have two late nights of teaching and returning home late on the remaining five nights.

I am going to walk the dogs (one or two at a time), and then get ready for the first shift of “A Carillon Christmas.”

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: “A Carillon Christmas” and my 1st time in The Roundhouse Cafe

I had an absolute BLAST!

It was a long first day, 3:00 PM until 10:00 PM but it was so much fun. Running concessions, fun? Yes. Most often with parent boosters, I would get assigned in leadership areas but I always wanted to work parking or concessions. Even when I signed up for those areas I would be asked to please switch to something else.

My partner for this shift was an Oakwood High School graduate, Lochlan Hendrix, who is now a sophomore at The University of Michigan. We clicked and really had a great time working together. He is scheduled for Carillon Cafe for Friday and Saturday and is hoping to switch to work with me in The Roundhouse Cafe.

The Guests could not have been more gracious and delightful.

Since I am over 21, I got to be bartender which I found to be an absolute hoot. I didn’t realize you could add liquor to hot chocolate! I was ready to start tossing those bottles like a regular Tom Cruise!

As Lochlan and I walked to the parking lot, we got to see the Carillon tree of light got the first time. It was a nice way to close my first day of “A Carillon Christmas.”

It’s 11:06 PM and I’m in bed with The Sisters snuggled closely to me. My legs ache, terribly, but that is nothing new.

Time for sleep.

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MY DAY: On a walk

I stepped off No. 17 on Main Street, adjacent from the Marriott Hotel so I could enjoy the fresh air and warmer weather. The best part of this walk is the beauty of this afternoon.

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This was a pretty nice biographical sketch of the master showman, Fred Waring.

The Life of Fred Waring

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday, November 19th

It’s 21 degrees and bitterly cold. I truly dread heading out into this weather an hour from now. 37 will top off the temperature for the day.

Last night, I went to see TUCK EVERLASTING at Centerville High School with Karen McLain and Linda Utt. It was a great performance.

After I finish up at The Park, today, Laura and I will go see BRIGHT STAR at Wright State University. I am really looking forward to seeing this show again.

One hundred fifty-nine years ago, President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address to dedicate the new national cemetery in the little hamlet of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday morning, November 20th & BRIGHT STAR

It was 19 degrees when I left the house at 7:20 AM for my Sunday morning breakfast haunt. My weather app now says it’s 18 degrees. But, despite the frigid temperature, the sun is blasting its brightness, just little warmth.

Last night, Laura and I enjoyed a great Mexican dinner at Don Patron near the Bob Evans across from Wright State University.

The performing arts center’s lobby was buzzing with people and activity with SISTER ACT playing on the main stage, BRIGHT STAR in the Herbst Theatre, and another concert. I loved seeing all the activity and aliveness of the performing arts.



It was one of the most incredible productions I’ve seen.

I’ve been attending WSU productions since 1991 and I always give their productions an A or A+. Through the years, some standout shows for me have been CHESS, BRIGADOON, their more recent INTO THE WOODS, PETER PAN, LES MISERABLES, SOUTH PACIFIC, OKLAHOMA!, and RAGTIME.

BRIGHT STAR, which became one of my top favorite shows after seeing Megan Wean Sears’ production two years ago, hit an all time high for me last evening. I cannot come up with the best words or adjectives to entirely describe how much I loved what was handed to me last night. Twelve hours later, I am still numb from the multiple waves of emotion felt from the writing, the directing, and that damned phenomenal cast.

Go see BRIGHT STAR at Wright State University. Go immediately to their website and grab your tickets. The show runs through the first weekend of December.

I’m halfway home, riding No. 17. I have a number of things to accomplish before beginning my afternoon and evening of teaching at 3 PM. Wednesday, I begin my temporary manager position at The Park throughout the five week festival, “A Carillon Christmas.” I will be heading up the concessions in The Round House, otherwise known as The Transportation Center. I will be working five days a week, 3:30 PM until 10 PM for three days and 3:30 PM until 11 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. I will be doing this from November 23rd until December 30th.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: from the BRIGHT STAR director’s Facebook page

Really, go see BRIGHT STAR!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Chief & Navi’s 12th birthday

Chief and Navi were born on an east central Indiana farm on November 17, 2010.

Sadly, Navi left us on December 21, 2013, after a tragic accident. But, nevertheless, she is always remembered on this day.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Thursday is in the books

I have every reason to feel accomplished with this day. It was long but so gratifying.

The unseasonably warm weather seems to have boosted my spirit and energy. While I have taken time to rest, I have also taken the time to accomplish as much as I can.

I took the No. 17 bus downtown, and due to having a different driver, it was running on time! Amazing! En route to lunch at my Chinese buffet, I strolled through the Oregon District with my camera snapping away. I came upon two Boxer dogs who were, fortunately, moving on along a street that was blocked off from traffic. After a few minutes of not knowing what to do other than keep an eye out for them and try to keep them in the area, a young girl came outside and coaxed them back to their yard.

After lunch, I took a different walking route back to the bus depot and continued making the camera’s lens work its magic.

By 2:00 PM, I was blowing the leaves in Mama Kay’s driveway, and that of the fairly new neighbor beside her. I wrapped up the leaf collection by 4:00 PM to feed the dogs and nap before getting ready to walk to Fairmont High School’s auditorium to watch an evening of three one-acts. Daniel Breslin, the youngest of the impressive Breslin troupe, and one of my Canine Crew members was hilarious in the final one-act. There were times I thought he was going to begin singing, “I got to Kansas City on a Friday; by Saturday, I’d learned a thing or two…” from OKLAHOMA! – he was so much like the character Will Parker.

Since returning home from the show, the kitchen has been cleaned and a load of dishes is now in the dishwasher. Tomorrow, I am planning to research and write as much as possible before heading to dinner and The Dayton Theatre Guild with Laura.

Now, to work some more the remainder of this evening while listening to A LIFE PORTRAIT OF JOHN ADAMS with David McCullough, several years before his book on Adams came out.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Monday is moving right along

It is a bit chillier than previous days but the sun is out and the day is still gorgeous.

My energy is fighting to be heard. Time changes tend to block my energy and today I feel a bit sluggish. I’ve kept busy reading, watching some documentaries of interest, and sketching out drafts for students’ college recommendation letters.

The pooches have been glued to me. Poor Chief’s hips are creating difficulties for him. He is especially stubborn with some medications and I have tried a variety of sneaky tricks to get him to eat the hidden medications. I just ordered a new treatment and I am hoping it will help. He turns twelve at the end of this month.

Yesterday’s return to teaching was excellent! It was good to see the students after a week’s break.

Tomorrow would have been my grandfather’s 101st birthday. When he was my age, 58, his eldest grandchild was sixteen years old. I was fortunate to have parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who were the eldest and on the younger side when I was born.

It’s nearing time to get read to teach.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Thursday & in from the yard

Yesterday, while it was still warm, I hoped to tackle Mama Kay’s leaves, but she was hosting a card party and I didn’t want to disturb them.

This morning, I took to my backyard at 10:00 AM to blow leaves and mow. By 10:45 AM, I was working on Mama Kay’s yard and by 4:30 PM, it was looking smashing. It is done, with the exception of touch-ups, now and then.

I am including some photos of Mama Kay’s hydrangea that is still tossing up some blooms with the unusually warm weather.

I ordered Chinese from Door Dash and I did not receive what I had ordered. I reported it and they immediately offered me a $28 card to use. I reordered my original menu item and hopefully, it will be correct this time. It was not Door Dash’s fault – it was the restaurant’s. I have been faithful to this eatery for nearly twenty years but for the past two years my orders have never been correct, or they are terribly late.

We have rain forecast to arrive around 3:00 AM and I am especially glad the leaves are completed. Tomorrow, I shall research and write. I may try to travel downtown to the Miami Conservancy District’s office to check out some items of interest. I am still not finding an answer to one particular question regarding the Great Miami River’s actual depth in the years preceding and just after the 1913 Dayton Flood.

My reordered food has arrived and it is time to eat and relax for the remainder of the evening.

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This dark, rainy fun day may need to be curtailed as I do not want to go outside in the wet weather. I am still feeling triumphant that Operation Leaves is completed and just in time for the rain.

Today is Veteran’s Day and I am grateful to all the Veterans who have served in any capacity for they have afforded me so many opportunities. I am especially thankful to my family members and dear friends who have served over the years.

In 1918, as thousands of soldiers returned from Europe following the November 11th Armistice, our nation was thrown into a resurgence of the Spanish Influenza with which it had been dealing since February 1918. I found this interesting link to the history of that pandemic.

1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline

It’s now 8:15 PM and I have things I need to do before the morning gets away from me.

Make it a great day!

Family members who served or continue to serve in our US military.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday morning

So much for daylight savings time… it’s dark at 7:15 AM. It’s actually just very dark gray but it suits my grumpy mood for the morning.

I was lying in bed with a list of documentaries, plus the last two episodes of Season Five’s THE CROWN, by 7:30 PM. I am sure there was a good two hours of sleep that overcame me before letting the dogs out one final time around 10:30 PM. The night passed with little interruption and a comfortable amount of sleep. Still, I woke on a less than cheerful side, growling at the dark and chilly morning, and the fact that the dogs began practicing their cleaning ritual by 5:30 AM, followed by the exasperating moaning and whining that it was feeding time – they’re still on their former time.

I’ve only a half day in The Park and then I will have a few hours to rest before dinner and a musical at Centerville High School.

Yesterday, Mama Kay, Ann, and I took a Mexican lunch and then visited one of our friends, Patricia Nagel. Patricia and her husband live in the Stroop family home off Tait Road and it is one of my favorite places. “Six Springs” is the name of the home and grounds since there are six active springs on the property. In the early 1920s, The Olmsted Brothers designed and landscaped the property as they did with nearby properties owned by Edward Deeds, Charles Kettering, and other prominent inventors and citizens. I love chatting with Patricia and absorbing all the history. It is the only large historical estate in the area that is still privately owned.

Well, it is time to prepare for my shift at The Park where my good humor will hopefully be restored. I fear the blustery day will keep Guests away.

Make it a great day.

PHOTOS: Six Springs, the former Stroop estate in Kettering, Ohio.

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MY DAY: Tuesday evening; November 15th

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Cold & bitter Sunday

Saturday morning was just one of those “damn it all to hell” mornings with my crabbiness. Once I got to The Park for my four hour shift, I was fine and happy to see Guests from the Hudson Valley region of New York, all over Ohio, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Vermont. One couple from near Ann Arbor, Michigan toured The Park because they were always busy with events when their two children were students at The University of Dayton.

I reached home at 2:00 PM and the plumbers, who arrived at Noon, were still working on my new faucet. The old one had corrosion issues making it a monster to remove. By 4:00 PM, they were packed and exiting The Haasienda.

To go along with my “grrrr of a Saturday morning,” I stepped on the bus and realized I’d forgotten my backpack cooler with my two water bottles, Veggie straws, and morning peanut butter crunch snack. I’d eaten breakfast but usually by 11:00 AM, I need some boosting. Fortunately, I already had a water bottle in the freezer at The Park.

When I arrived home, there was a pleasant surprise from Emily Webb! A jar of homemade soup and some iced walnut cake. Since the plumbers were in the kitchen the cake helped me survive until 5:00 PM when I left for dinner.

Laura and I ate at La Piñata and then attended TUCK EVERLASTING at Centerville High School. I will see it again this Friday.

While waiting for the show to begin, two former students, Brad, a student at Miami University and Steven, attending The Ohio State University, texted me a photo of them meeting up at an a cappella festival at The University of Cincinnati. I truly appreciated that photo.

This morning I fed the pooches at 7:00 AM and opted to leave early for breakfast instead of joining the ZoomFest between Boston and London. Breakfast was okay but I finished in time to grab a few items from Walmart before rejoining the bus line for home. No. 17 just passed over the Patterson Street Bridge which crosses Mad River, giving me a brief glimpse of the area I’ve been researching.

I shall easily be home by 10:30 AM. I plan to attend to some household items before teaching begins at 3:30 PM.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Wednesday wonderings

There’s not much to report. The time change still makes me feel a bit sluggish no matter how I try to maintain my energy.

Teaching had so many highs over the past three days and I finished last night with a strong feeling of accomplishment. This week begins Grand Nationals for marching bands in Indianapolis and I love that exciting feeling when it rolls around each mid-November.

Leaves… I am almost done with Mama Kay’s leaves and her tree is 99% barren. Yay.

Several students have shows and major music events this coming weekend and I will be at several.

Tonight I will Zoom with several Lincoln colleagues and I couldn’t be happier to meet up with these three.

In the meantime, I shall do everything I can to make it a great day.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday, November 6th

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday morning

I am awake and alert despite losing sleep Thursday and Friday nights. Thursday, I barely managed four hours. I fell asleep and woke around 2:00 AM and could not recover continued slumber until 5:00 AM. Last night, the play did not end until 11:00 PM and it was midnight before I climbed into bed with only six hours of sleep to follow.

The fierce wind kept the five sets of wind chimes engaged in some exotic dance throughout the night and the dry blowing leaves often sounded like rain pounding the deck. The wind continues and the lengthy band of rain storms bisecting the Midwest may reach us in the late afternoon.

Neil Simon’s BROADWAY BOUND is now open at The Dayton Theatre Guild and it is outstanding. Each individual actor is solid in their role. The set and costumes were right on target. However, where I really need to tip the hat is to the properties! Laura and I were seated in the last row next to the kitchen door giving us a direct bird’s eye view of the dining room bureau. When the drawers were opened, they were filled, not just containing the required prop. And, the honey was delivered in a time-appropriate Ball jar! Kudos!

It’s time to prepare myself for a day at The Park. I am hoping the impending rain storms do not deter Guests from joining us. Tonight is a tavern dinner and I worry about those preparing the event as they continually move in and out from the pioneer village to the education center.

The time change to fall back an hour is set for tonight. The next few days will be an adjustment for myself and The Quartet. I detest the time changes. A lot.

BROADWAY BOUND at The Dayton Theatre Guild. Go see it!

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Figuring out the leaves

I am one happy camper!

After nearly twenty years, I finally applied a system for raking Mama Kay’s yard that was much more expedient. Her tree sits at the corner of her yard where Rockhill Avenue runs into Shroyer Road, and it is always one of the last trees to empty. I have learned that it is much easier to clear up the dropped leaves in several stages throughout the raking season so that there is not so much work at the end of the season when it is usually colder and damp. Actually, it is a repeat process as the tree is huge and always full.

In years past, I have simply used the leaf blower 95% of the time and raked it to tidy up. Blowing the leaves was always cumbersome because the layers pile up becoming heavier to move with the air. There were times I felt nothing was really moving the process along.

I remembered seeing my neighbor, Kate, from across the street, raking her leaves onto a large sheet and dragging them to their destination. So, I grabbed a canvas from the basement and raked the offensive walnut tree stems onto the edge of my hill to make their piles easier to maneuver. It was easy.

I blew the thick layers of leaves in Mama Kay’s yard into levees, banked next to the sidewalk. Nearly three-fourths of her yard is on a slight incline, like mine, and the extensive wall of leaves ran along Shroyer Road and for about sixty feet on the Rockhill Avenue side.

I raked the leaf levees into huge piles onto the tarp on the sidewalk, secured the end with a bungee cord, and used another bungee cord as a handle with which to drag the contents. It only took FIVE tarp-filled trips to the easement alongside Rockhill and I had the majority completed. I’ve only a small strip at the corner of her yard to complete.

When Mama Kay returned home I was fairly giddy due to not only the accomplishment but also the decision to make levees and use the tarp, saving an immense amount of time. I worked from 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM and believe I’ve reached a landmark completion time.

Phase One of Project Leaf Patrol is done!

PHOTOS: Two “before” photos and the remaining are the results. You can see just how many leaves remain on the tree!

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Flyer at Wilbur Wright’s grave

This was a typical visit to Woodland Cemetery with Flyer. We’d always stop at the Wright family plot just as we did that first day before bringing Flyer home. The ten week old puppy hopped out of the car, scampered over to Wilbur’s head stone, and sat down. This became a ritual for our weekly Woodland hikes for thirteen years.

PHOTO: Flyer at Wilbur Wright’s grave, November 2, 2003.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Wednesday with Silent, cool Calvin Coolidge

It’s been a slower start to my day, and I earned my additional snoozes after Zooming with my London son and feeding the dogs. Normally, I feel guilty for wasting time, but I do not. My body was nudging me to get more rest and I obliged.

Whenever I am shoulder-deep in a project, I often juggle several other sources to free my brain from the topic that consumes me. I’ve been reading Donna McCreary’s MARY LINCOLN DEMYSTIFIED, dabbling in research of the Wright Brothers and John Augustus Roebling, and as of last night, listening to the audiobook, COOLIDGE: AN AMERICAN ENGIMA, by Robert Sobel and narrated by Charles Brice.

When I figured out Calvin Coolidge was president when my maternal grandmother was born, on May 8, 1924, I began researching him. I also became fascinated with President Truman when Grandma Donna shared that she and Truman shared May 8th birthdays.

I am finding it quite interesting how this unassuming, excruciatingly hushed gentleman climbed as high as he did. But, Calvin Coolidge worked hard and earned his success.

He was quite witty and I love the amusing anecdotes between Coolidge and his extraordinary and vivacious wife, Grace Goodhue Coolidge. Mrs. Coolidge graduated from the University of Vermont majoring in education and began teaching at the Clarke School for Hearing and Speech where she taught deaf children to communicate by lip reading rather than using sign language. Shortly after moving to Northampton to assume her teaching position, Grace met and married Calvin Coolidge and taught him how to communicate with sign language. The White House staff and servants were either amused or insulted when the Coolidges would stop speaking and turn to sign language in their presence.

Other entertaining Coolidge stories I have enjoyed through the years:

The day after winning the Northampton, Massachusetts mayoral election which he served from 1910-1912, a Democrat friend passed him on the street and offered his congratulations.

“I see you’re elected mayor [of Northampton], but I did not vote for you.”

Cool Calvin Coolidge simply replied, “Well, somebody did.”

At a White House dinner, a female guest leaned into the president and said, “You know, Mr. President, when I explained to my friend that I was to be seated next to you at this dinner, she made me a bet that I could get you to speak more than three words.”

Without missing a beat, the tight-lipped Silent Cal quipped, “You lose.”

I am three and one-half hours into this audio biography and I am enjoying it.

Today is a day to accomplish much around the house, beginning in a short while with tackling the leaves in mine and Mama Kay’s yard. I have stayed on top of mine, but I need to rake those tiny, aggravating walnut tree stems that do not submit to the pressure of the leaf-blowing machine. Thursday and Friday bring busy days but evenings spent watching Fairmont High School’s AN EVENING OF ONE ACTS, and seeing Dayton Theatre Guild’s production, BROADWAY BOUND, with Laura.

Now, off to the yard to pile some leaves.

Make it a great day!

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O, FOR HISTORY: Roebling Wire & The Wright Brothers’ gliders and fliers

A year ago, I posted something on social media about the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, and my friend, Diane Householder, added to the post with information about the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge which spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. Nearly twenty years before the Brooklyn Bridge was opened, The Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, as it was originally known, opened on 1 December 1866.

Johann August Röblin, better known as John Augustus Roebling, was born in Prussia, on June 12, 1806, and emigrated to The United States in 1831. Roebling died in 1869, and his wife continued with the plans and construction of The Brooklyn Bridge.

While I was working at Carillon Historical Park, Monday, 31 October 2022, a very knowledgeable Volunteer, Dennis Palmer, a specialist in numerous exhibits throughout The Park, asked about a “tidbit” regarding the Wright Brothers. Dennis said he had read, somewhere, that the wire used for the lacings in the Wright Brothers’ gliders and fliers was made with Roebling wire.

I immediately pulled up information on my laptop and learned Roebling developed a 7-strand wire rope on his Saxonburg, Pennsylvania farm. This wire rope was used in the design and construction of his suspension bridges. Still, I could not locate specific information regarding Dennis’ query. I contacted the Roebling Museum in Roebling, New Jersey, and received a quick response that it is believed the Wrights did indeed, use Roebling wire.

One source was from Charles E. Taylor: My Story. Charlie Taylor, May 24, 1868 – January 30, 1956, was hired by the Wright Brothers in 1901 to serve as a machinist in their West Dayton bicycle shop, receiving five cents more on the hour than he made at Dayton Electric Company.

“I was a machinist and had done job work for the boys in my own shop,” said Taylor. “Once I made up a coaster brake they had invented, but they dropped it later. I knew they were interested in box kites and gliders, and that they had gone south to Kitty Hawk, NC, in 1900 with a glider. I didn’t know anything about the stuff, but I did know something about the bicycle business.”

By 1902, after successful experiments at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, with their glider, the Wrights turned to Charlie to create an engine for their first flying machine. Mr. Taylor drafted and built an aluminum and copper, water-cooled, four-cylinder engine in less than two months that produced 12 horsepower.

In the article about Charlie Taylor that was supplied by the Roebling Museum, Mr. Taylor stated, “The chains to drive the propeller shafts were specially made by the Indianapolis Chain Company, but the sprockets came ready-made. Roebling wire was used for the trusses.”

It’s been a satisfying day knowing that Dennis Palmer’s question led to another learning adventure and making historical connections to our shared passion for Wright Brothers’ history.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Holding on to the branches

One of the most beautiful trees in the neighborhood, and one of my favorites, is the very large tree at the corner of Mama Kay‘s yard. as one can tell from the photographs, it fills up quite an amount of space as its large limbs reach out in all directions.

This tree remains 85% full until the last minute of the season and then immediately dumps its entire fullness. It’s always a race with the clock to get the leaves moved over to the easement on Rockhill Avenue in time for the city’s leaf vacuum to haul away.

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MY DAY: Fall is falling

While at The Park this morning, I looked outside the entry into the actual park and saw tons of leaves drifting to the ground from the perch they’ve held since the spring. While it is common to see leaves dropping, there’s sadness as they bid farewell now that winter is on the wing to join us in a little over a month.

Since the leaves are still too heavy with wet from this morning’s rains, I am retreating from this Halloween evening to one of my favorite haunts to write and eat, and spend some time enjoying some alone time. I love Carillon Historical Park, but it does vacuum the energy being Mr. Rouke, a nickname from several Volunteers referring to the television show, FANTASY ISLAND.

And for those wondering why I’m not home to greet Trick-or-Treaters: we never get any. When we first moved to Shroyer Road in 2003, I was all prepared for a festive onslaught of beggars. We had one. The following year I observed that the evening marchers headed east from Rockhill Avenue and turned north or approached from the north and turned west onto Rockhill. Although Mama Kay’s front door is on Shroyer Road, the same as mine, she and her family hosted the event from their driveway which pours out onto Rockhill.

Therefore, I began a tradition of taking The Boys to a movie after they finished Beggar’s Night. We’d return home via way of Bill’s Donuts and feast on a late supper and treats while watching the DVD, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Yes, it was late and usually on a school night but it was once a year and something to remember. Also, most of my sons had never gotten to experience the Halloween rituals with their biological families or foster families.

As I look out the bus window, I can see more and more outlines of limbs and branches inside the trees. They, too, have their own beauty and not only when they are sporting flowery spring buds or colorful autumn foliage.

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