Wednesday, May 21, 2003


I'm back from Ohio. Pat's wedding went just fine. I went to get my friend Carol up in Cleveland. On our first night in Cincinnati, the hotel was full of teenagers running around loose. Seems a high school band competition had just rolled in from Missouri. So we found a little place across the Ohio, in Covington KY, where they played some genuine New Orleans boogie-woogie piano. Not a bad gig.

Carol is one hell of a dancer, and I was meaning to invite her to meet my family for a long time now. They got on rather well. My mom is looking better following back surgery; if nothing else, she stands up more or less straight. My dad is about the same. I got him an early Father's Day present, something I had never gotten him before -- a tie. Not just any tie, but a really colorful one with illustrations of postage stamps. Dad has been an avid philatelist (stamp collector) since he was a kid, and he and Mom still keep up the work. While admitting that the tie was "not exactly my style," he agreed to put it on for the reception, where it became a good conversation starter. What a good sport.

I got to see some aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in awhile, including Uncle Roger, a farmer who has no plans to retire. On the Rosselot (pronounced ROSS-uh-low) side, the tradition of the family farmer contines, with one of Roger's boys and three of the late Uncle Bernard's still behind the plow -- so to speak.

Carol and I put on a zydeco and swing dance demonstration that wore us both out, but got the crowd's attention. Meanwhile, the hotel where the bash was held was full of kids from a high school band competition from Missouri, and one of the girl's mothers -- Jody was her name -- was watching us from the wings. When I went out into the hallway to rest, she begged me to take her back in and dance with her. Seems her daughter was too embarrassed to let Mama join in her festivities.

Who was I to say no? She later said (and I'm not making this up!): "You made my night." It can happen.

Come Sunday, I took Carol into the city, and we gazed down upon it from Mount Adams, an historic hillside neighborhood just east of downtown, in front of Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, the famous "Saint Mary of the Steps." From there is a breathtaking view of downtown and the Ohio River.

After leaving Carol in Bay Village on the west side of Cleveland on Monday, I visited my former mother-in-law. It had been a couple of years since I had seen her last, and the visit lasted for about half an hour. Such was the result of an agreement reached some years ago with the family after my marriage broke up.

While in Pennsylvania, I stopped at a few places to go antiquing. When the subject of inheritances comes up in the family, I tell them I only want the family bible and the big screen TV. Of course, I've already got dibs on the depression glass collection, and used to display it in my home when I had a bigger place. I was tempted to expand my collection (Floragold, made by the Jeannette Glass Company in the 1940s and 1950s) at a place in Bedford, PA. It can wait.

A number of subjects have come up in the last week. I'm taking them all in this entry...

"Will you miss me when I'm gone..."

June Carter Cash
, daughter of "Mother Maybelle" Carter and wife of Johnny Cash, and a country music legend in her own right, died last Thursday. She was 73.

The Delta Queen

A steamboat that has graced the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for much of the last century, and which counted Cincinnati as a home port, has been saved from bankruptcy:

"Sixteen months after its 'final' voyage, the 76-year-old National Historic Landmark is back on the river and, say longtime fans, better than ever."

I've never ridden her before, but I may do so if I go back to Cincy this fall for the quadrannual "Tall Stacks" celebration. Should be quite a shindig.

Less Is More (well, more or less)!

From 1950 to 2000, the square footage of the average home in the USA doubled in size, and held half as many people. This trend toward excess showed signs of continuing, until recently.

"The ready-made mansions are still marching on suburbia, but some move-up buyers are rejecting them in favor of scaled-down homes with features tailored to their personal tastes, says architect and author Sarah Susanda in Raleigh, NC... whose books, including The Not So Big House, promote a scaled-down school of thought.

This has long been a big subject with me, and may be touched upon later this year on this weblog. There is a rapidly diminishing number of single-room-occupancy (SRO) housing in the nation, which I believe has contributed to the current homeless problem.


Life is settling back to (???) normal. We've got a five-night zydeco dance marathon, starting tonight. Sure hope I can last that long. There's always Memorial Day to catch up on my sleep. Stay tuned...

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