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Posted by: Joe on: February 17, 2015
Posted by: Joe on: December 14, 2014
Proud Father’s Note: Chloe wrote this as a gift to me for Christmas this year.
The Sister’s Night Before Christmas
Christmas Eve rolled around again, and all was quiet. We had just hung up our stockings and laid out the milk and cookies, hoping that presents were gonna appear. My brothers were curled up in their beds, dreaming of who-knows-what. I was in my plaid, next to my books on their shelves, ready to get a good nights sleep. After I couldn’t get to sleep, I was shaken with a noise from outside. I peeked out from under my pillow, then couldn’t see anything so I got out of bed to pull aside the curtain.
There, gleaming atop the moonlit snow, was a sleigh. With 8…Reindeer? Then I noticed the man in the sleigh as he called out something. I raised the window to hear better. “.. er! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixon! On, Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!” Somehow that sleigh came to rest on our roof. When the sleigh bells stopped jingling, I could hear the reindeer pawing restlessly, then a THUMP. I ran downstairs as quietly as I could, heart pounding excitedly, then stopped when I saw the bright red suit, now dulled with a filmy grey veil.
Spilling out from the bag at his boots was an assortment of stuffed animals, Barbie dolls, little green army men, board games, and all manner of books. My eyes couldn’t take it all in. A merry, round face and an also merry, also round, belly turned toward me. I ducked into the kitchen so he wouldn’t see me. A rustling noise aroused my curiosity, and I peeked around to see him attending to his duties, then picking up a Christmas cookie, disappearing into the dining room, chuckling as he passed our ‘historical’ tree. I followed him into the dining room, then stared as he cocked his head, looking at our ‘travel’ tree. I ducked back into the kitchen as he began to turn back around again.
“You know what they say,” He called out in a resounding but somehow calming voice “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” He paused, his smile getting wider “ and I would say, you are most certainly awake.” He paused once again, this time gesturing towards our ‘travel’ tree. “You seem to be quite the traveler.” I nodded, too stunned to speak as I stepped out from the shadows. “Ah, you look just like your mother when she was your age! And your grandmother too, ya know.” I kept staring. My Grandmother? How old was this guy? “But you seem more like your father, eh? Ever the mischievous one!” I nodded, blushing.
“How’s your arm feeling? Took quite the tumble earlier this year, didn’t ya? In July? Foot slipped out from under you as ya fell down the stairs, huh?” My mouth flopped open. “I’ll tell you a secret,” he beckoned for me to walk over, “Your father broke his nose walking into a closed glass door, and your mother, well, she fell into the bucket bobbing for apples when they were both your age!” I giggled as he walked me into the living room. He pressed something into my hand, picked up his sack, then whispered loudly, “Now get to bed, young lady. You’ve got a long day tomorrow. I’ve ridden the drive done to Virginia, and it’s a long one!”
I ran back up to my room, giddy with excitement! It was only then that I looked at what he had pressed into my hand. There, dangling from a thin silver thread, was a rosy cheeked, golden haired, perfectly poised, ice skater. A voice rang out, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” My brothers were going to be so, so jealous. Or maybe not. Maybe, hopefully, this was my little secret.
Hope you liked it!
Merry Christmas, Dad!
Posted by: Joe on: September 13, 2014
We recently traveled to Tanzania to visit some dear friends and it was a wonderful trip that we will likely never forget.
We also spent time in the Serengeti.
And on our way home, we stopped over in London to see the sights.
Posted by: Joe on: July 14, 2014
Posted by: Joe on: July 13, 2014
In 1890, Harding and Florence Kling DeWolfe designed the home on Mount Vernon Avenue and arranged for its construction, in anticipation of their marriage, which took place in the large front hallway of the completed house in July 1891. When the principal contenders for the 1920 Republican presidential nomination deadlocked, party leaders picked Harding as the compromise candidate.
During the campaign, Harding spoke to thousands of people from the wide Colonial Revival front porch of his home. So many people came to hear him that the family had to replace the front lawn with gravel. (source: www.nps.gov)
The Harding Tomb, also known as the Harding Memorial, is the burial location of the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Kling Harding. It is located in Marion, Ohio at the southeast corner of Vernon Heights Boulevard and Delaware Avenue.
$977,000 was raised to have this monument built for a resting place for a man that was president for 2 years before he died of a heart attack.
On the shoulders of her father, Anna’s grandmother attended Harding’s memorial service in 1923.
Begun in 1926 and finished in the early winter of 1927, the structure is built of white marble. Designed by Henry Hornbostel, Eric Fisher Wood and Edward Mellon, the structure is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet in height. (source: wikipedia.org)
In July 1985 Anna’s family visited Harding’s home and burial site when she was 9 turning 10 in August.
28 years later she returns with her children.
Ironically, Clark is 9 turning 10 in September.
“Hey, kids have you ever seen a covered bridge?”
“Me neither. Let’s go see it!”
We turned down a windy, country road and discovered our first covered bridge.
The Parker Covered Bridge crosses the Sandusky River in Wyandot County and is located in Crane Township on Township Road 40. It’s a little tricky finding the Parker Bridge, but well worth the effort. The Parker Bridge was built in 1873, but burned in 1991 and was renovated in 1992. (source: blog.tiffinohio.org)
No photography was allowed in the home so I have no evidence but the interior was quite impressive.
The original structure received additions twice resulting in 18 bedrooms, large rooms for entertaining, and an elevator.
My favorite touch was the small engraved door knockers on each bedroom door so the guests would know which bedroom was theirs eliminating any confusion.
Hayes loved books and had a library with 13’ ceilings with books from floor to ceiling.
The kids hopped back in the van making plans to add more bedrooms to our house so we could house more guests!
On the way to our next historical spot we passed through Tiffin, Ohio. As we were making our way through this quaint town we spotted a 9/11 memorial. Curious we turned around to investigate why such a memorial would be in a small Ohio town.
We discovered that several hundred towns in America had requested a piece of the World Trade Center.
Only a handful of towns were selected and Tiffin, Ohio was one such town.
We knew we were in the right town when we saw the street lamps were made to look like light bulbs which is Milan’s proud way of honoring Edison.
The Vermilion Lighthouse is a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie in Vermilion, Ohio. It is situated on the grounds of the Inland Seas Maritime Museum near the mouth of the Vermilion River. Erected on 23 October 1991 and dedicated on 6 June 1992, the lighthouse is illuminated by a 200 watt incandescent light bulb with a 5th order Fresnel lens. The lighthouse’s United States Coast Guard-mandated light color is steady red. (source: wikipedia.org)
Posted by: Joe on: July 13, 2014
Usually we need shorts and a t-shirt for the 4th of July but this year we dug out our jackets to combat the high 60s we woke up to that morning in Ohio. Our American celebration started at a local small town parade in Bellville, Ohio.
Chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, lobster tail. In classic American fashion, we indulged on much food that was spread out on the wagon Grandpa had made prior to July 4th.
Alas many kites ended up in the trees but all were retrieved so the fun could continue. After a couple of hours of kite flying, we had a quick baseball game before loading up for a wagon ride.
Posted by: Joe on: June 28, 2014
On Tuesday, June 17th, we toured the TN Governor’s Mansion with a group of friends.
The residence was built in 1929 by the Wills family. Memories of the Wills family remain with a ‘W’ in some of the light fixtures and ‘W’ on the door knockers.
The State of Tennessee purchased the property in 1949. If my memory serves me correct, the State paid $125,000 for the house and its 10 acres! Prior to this time, the Governor’s Mansion was located in two other locations in the Nashville area.
After our group had lunch at the Puffy Muffin, the kids and I headed downtown. We popped into the TN State Museum and then walked over to the Capitol. We were just in time for a tour.
The Bicenntennial Mall from the balcony of the Capitol.
Posted by: Joe on: May 27, 2014
In 2011 when we started homeschooling we decided to discover Tennessee and learn about its history. We had a great time touring the major cities in our great state. It’s three years later and we’re back on the road discovering Tennessee. This time we’ve taken to the back roads! We chose to start off our summer of Tennessee history visiting Pall Mall, Tennessee. One might wonder, as we did, “Just where is Pall Mall?” Pall Mall is a sleepy community with a volunteer fire station and a post office on the Tennessee/Kentucky border north of Cookeville. And again, one might wonder, “Why would we spend Memorial Day in Pall Mall, Tennessee?”
We thought it fitting to visit the home of a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor on the day that America sets aside to honor our fallen heroes. Alvin C. York came from humble beginnings in Pall Mall and returned from WWI, with his humility, as a hero.
A few days prior to our Memorial Day trip, we visited the Tennessee State Military Museum in Nashville. We were able to see a few of York’s personal belongings, but most interesting were his Congressional Medal of Honor and his Croix de guerre. We also found York’s name mentioned along the Bicentennial Mall’s timeline wall.
We also walked over to the statue erected in his honor on the grounds of the Capitol.
After arriving in Pall Mall on Memorial Day, we picnicked by the Gristmill at the Wolf River which the York family owned for a number of years.
The York General Store, that Alvin and Gracie ran, still has the feel of a small community store. Today it sells souvenirs and visitors can watch a short film on the life of Alvin York.
Across the street is the home Alvin and Gracie York which was given by the Nashville Rotary Club. Our self-guided toured ended with us speaking to Alvin’s son, Andrew Jackson York. He’s an 84 year old gentleman that retired last year as a park ranger, but occasionally works at the house. We were blessed he was there during our visit.
Mr. York asked Chloe to play a tune on the family’s piano.
We took a half mile walk down the nature trail to a swinging bridge.
York’s grave site.