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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Next Weekend, All Planned Out.

“Kindled by the dying embers 
Of another working day,
Go upstairs take off your makeup,
Fold your clothes neatly away, 
Me, I’ll set and write this lovesong 
As I all too seldom do,
Build a little fire at midnight
It’s good to be back home with you.” *

Goal, Relaxation

One week from today, actually one week from last Thursday, we will be at Shawnee State Park in southern Ohio. It might be a little premature for a kayaking trip but we can always light a fire, open a bottle of wine and relax. Sometimes it is good to just stop and take a breath. Life can seem like the episode of Star Trek with the tribbles, everything piles up too quickly, and you are buried under small, insignificant tasks. Life can be strange sometimes.

It is a small cabin, which, from the pictures on Instagram and Trip Advisor, is almost exactly like the cabins at Lake Hope. Small, comfortable, and wonderfully adequate for a couple of days of leisure. Ohio Department of Natural Resources really did a great job with these small treasures scattered around the state. When you look at the world from those windows you see the world, our country in a whole new way. The sense of isolation is palpable, just the two of us, in the wealth and glory of Nature’s splendor, and there is less than 100 feet to the next cabin.


To make sure we have all the information we need I put the Shawnee State Park in Entune on our Tacoma. I installed Portsmouth, the nearest real town, on the weather app on my phone, and check it often. Thursday is predicted to be 58 with a chance of rain, Friday cloudy and 53, Saturday sunny and 49 and Sunday cloudy and 60 degrees. It has changed several times in the last week. But, any of those days might work for a quick paddle around either lake. Or, they might stay in the back of the truck. We will be prepared though. 

Plus, I know exactly where the Kroger is in Portsmouth. My wife loves Kroger. She says they have the best deals and the most polite employees. She is a coupon clipping machine, and shops the sales with a keen eye for detail. I always check for a Kroger, anywhere we go. If the pictures are any indication the Portsmouth Kroger is much nicer than either the Athens or Nelsonville Kroger. It might even be as nice as the Kroger Marketplace in Gahanna, but I am not holding my breath. 

We will do some hiking, too, on the trails running through the ancient forests, with all of their secrets, and smells, sounds and natural mystery. But we will also walk along the river front and hike through downtown Portsmouth. Every town and city we have walked through had a story to tell, and it was always a good story. A tale of survival, struggling through difficult times, enjoying the wealth and warmth of economic growth. America lives and breathes on those streets, America will walk with you as you walk down those streets.  History at a relaxed stroll.

One of our favorite ways to find out about a place is to try appetizers at small local restaurants, local delicacies, born from legend or need, growing with the times, evolving from simple origins. You are what you eat, and you are definitely what you serve to people who happen in and ask what is good.

Taking a Detour
On the way home we are going to swing by Cincinnati and stop in at Jungle Jim’s (also installed on the navigation app in the pickup). It is a place we have to stop by whenever we can. It can be crowded, the help can be a little testy at times, but the place is spectacular. If it is food, and it isn’t at Jungle Jim’s it probably isn’t really food. They have miles of rows of shelves. We find things we can’t find anywhere else. Plus, it is just fun, wandering the aisles, looking at the selection, and thinking this is a crazy grocery store. It is a destination, we can kill several hours just looking, and we always find something we want.

Sometimes, I think we spend too much time walking through grocery stores. Maybe it is our way of reaching into our long lost past, hunter gatherers, making our way through life, harvesting our food, preparing to meet the challenges of the tumultuous week ahead. Work, alarms clocks, traffic jams, lunch in the break room, coffee in a mug you found in the the cupboard, it might be anybodies, the tension of the potential, “Hey, that is my coffee cup,” ringing through the building, everybody looking. So much tension, so much stress. Preparing for the awful requires dedication and calm. Zen and the art of grocery store browsing. I’m a subscriber.

* Fire at Midnight by Jethro Tull.