Hey, did you guys miss me?
Nah, didn't think so. After all, I'm on the "B" list, right?
Anyway, I got back on Wednesday night, and I've spent the last couple of days around the house puttering around. The big news in Cincinnati -- besides the Bengals totally humiliating the Washington Redskins last Sunday with a score of 19-3 -- is that "the Queen City of the West" is finally getting its first IKEA store. A place to spend money that's more creative than Wal-Mart. Now that's one step closer to civilization.
Cincinnati is located in the southwestern corner of Ohio. It is approached by two Interstate highways within the state; I-75 from the north, and I-71 from the northeast. The area between the two that lies outside the Bypass (I-275, or what we used to call the "Circle Freeway"), is the fastest growing part of the metro area. It is there that IKEA is breaking ground, and there that we stayed with my kid sister Pat and her husband Ed. Coincidence? You decide.
I visited my folks in Milford (at the eastern end of the Bypass) both Monday and Tuesday. They appeared in high spirits, which is remarkable considering Mom's arthritis, which has been a continual source of, shall we say, redemptive suffering. They managed to sit in rapt attention on Monday's visit as I went on talking about life in Washington and the state of the world in general. In other words, nothing much. Tuesday was a bit more crowded, when my other sister Mary showed up. She's a geriatric nurse, and the primary overseer for Mom and Dad's care. For some reason, we started reminiscing.
There was that time when we were shooting hoops in front of the garage. The ball went up into the gap where the garage door was raised. Steve went up to get it; he must have been about ten or eleven at the time. Anyway, as he was getting the ball, his knee when right through one of the windows on the garage door, cutting a gash at least several inches long and two inches deep. I don't know how we got him down, but Mom remembered that I was able to apply pressure at the source of the main blood vessel as well as cover the wound itself. Mary mentioned how in retrospect it probably saved him from bleeding to death. I still don't remember what I did (although I can pretty much imagine how), but I do remember him saying, "Wow, you can see the meat!"
By the way, he's doing fine now. What can I tell ya?
Monday was when I paid my only respects to a fellow-St Blog's parishioner, namely Rich Leonardi, author of Ten Reasons,and now the proud father of Offspring Number Six. I recommend six more, 'cuz Rich is on a roll.
Tuesday was the Feast of the Assumption. I went to Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson Township on the lower eastern outskirts, not far from my old high school, and where my old buddy Father Jan Schmidt rules the roost. It's one way to keep an eye on him without waiting to return a phone call. After all, when a priest is the best, everybody wants a piece of him. That evening, we went to the Hyde Park section of Cincinnati, where we turned the corner and came across the famous "mushroom house," the work of a local architect, and which is currently on the market. Sal was sufficiently impressed, so I pulled over, and took some pictures of her with it. Then we met my brother Steve and his family for dinner at a Thai restaurant. (I know what you're thinking; no, I didn't tell that story over dinner.) The boys are doing great, and the middle one is getting settled in at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design as this is written. You get 'em, Scooter.
Wednesday morning saw us heading back to the Nation's capital. I wanted Sal to see what a New England town displaced in the Midwest would look like, so we got off I-70 east of Columbus to visit the village of Granville. We also got to see the parish church of St Edward the Confessor. I must admit a fondness for the old brick-and-stone church, but they've done an impressive job in expanding it to a larger and grander structure. No sign of Dick Vosko's influence here, Deo gratias.
No matter how much one enjoys a vacation, though, there's a great feeling associated with coming home again, even when it's here. I went to Mass this morning at the Cathedral, and wouldn't you know, the assisting celebrant was none other than Father Rob Johansen of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and author of the weblog Thrown Back. We had a nice chat. Too bad he's leaving tomorrow.
Now then, all that's left is to start working for a living again. Sure hope I remember the way into town.