The Journey — Part Three

It’s hard to believe, but my latest crazy venture is winding down. Monday I wrapped up the third leg of the journey, departing Ohio. The plan was a stop at a friend’s house in neighboring Indiana for the night, but Annie was sick — ucky, flu-like sick sick — so I postponed the stop when I found out somewhere around Fort Wayne, switched directions and went to my next destination – oldest son Joe’s house in Kentucky. Angelina and I will call it home for the next couple of weeks.

Some of you who follow my adventures on other social media platforms may have read about the latest leg {sorry}. So this recap is for the rest of my followers. I’m spending about two and a half weeks with each of my kids/grandkids/great-grandkids, with Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio now in the rear view mirror and holidays in Kentucky and South Carolina through the windshield.

The bookends to the Ohio trip — an eventful start and the detoured finish — keep the meat of the Buckeye story in perspective. While commotion of Massachusetts and New York subsided, it was 18 days of busy. My older daughter is a planner {not something she got from me} and had a series of activities to keep me engaged — both with family and friends.

But, let’s start with the trip from New York to Ohio. It was interesting, to say the least.

Aside from a couple of turkeys crossing the back roads, things were going well until I spotted flashing lights in my side mirror {didn’t see them through the rear mirror; car was pretty well packed}. As the stylish late-20ish state trooper sashayed to the window with a cheerful “Good morning, sir. It still is morning, right?”

I shared pleasantries as she continued, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“I haven’t a clue,” I responded, although I really thought it was a visibility issue {did I mention the van was packed almost solid?}.

She asked for my license and registration with a smile, then tried peddling the fact I was going 57 in a 45 school zone. Okay, I was going 57, on a state highway that just happened to pass a school. “Did you see the school zone sign?” she asked.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I did, but the lights weren’t flashing. Usually, at least where I’m from, enforcement is when the lights are flashing.”

She looked at my license. “Where is Ovid?” she asked.

“And this is a rental?”

“No, it’s’ my son’s.”

“And where are you heading?”

“Ohio.”

“How did you get your son’s car?”

Well, that opened a whole new rabbit trail. I explained to her I came from Maine and was visiting my kids/grandkids/great-grandkids scattered around the country.

“Wait a minute,” she interjected. You live in Maine?”

“I lived in Maine. Didn’t renew my lease.”

“Why do you have a New York license?

“Well, I still own my house in Ovid so I kept my New York license. Besides, New York has an enhanced license which makes it easier traveling through Canada. Maine doesn’t.”

As she put her hands on her hips {not near her gun}, I realized the conversation was going to be extended. So for about the next 10-15 minutes or so I detailed my connection with Maine, my current plans, my travels thus far, and the plans through the rest of the year.

She handed me back my license and registration, simply said, “Have a good day. Watch the school zones. Enjoy your trip.” I responded, “You too. Be safe.”

She walked back to her cruiser and I watched her pirouette with lights on for another stop. But I really can imagine the talk around the water cooler back at the barracks.

I also weathered my first winter driving test … snow in western New York. It was pretty pretty — not slushy or icy. It was a subtle reminder to stay focused when behind the wheel … which prepared me the next adventure.

A local box truck decided to switch lanes just over the Ohio line … at 75. He never saw me, although I spotted his front wheels drifting. I went for the horn but the airbag was there … no honking (they need to bring back horn rings). With him coming from my right I swerved to the left … onto the shoulder and median. For the next 1,000 feet or so I was zig zagging between the road, shoulder, and median trying to stabilize the car. As I was slowing down, I must have hit the brakes during one last zig or zag and the added cargo weight shifted and sent me into a spin on the median. I ended up spinning about 190 degrees and facing oncoming traffic from the median. After a quick thank you prayer, I found a traffic gap and resumed my trip.

As I was congratulating myself on my defensive driving skills and avoiding getting hit, hitting anybody or anything, rolling over, or getting seriously injured or killed, I noticed my heaven shining through rays of sunshine right in front of me. In the middle the clouds parted for a bright blast of sunlight in the shape of a dove. And the sunset was a bright orange ball leaving a haze of vivid pinks and purples. It wasn’t my driving skills at all.

Thank you for my travel prayer partners … and the divine assistance on the road whic brought me safely to Ohio.

On the back side, the family (daughters) started worrying when I was late checking in on the transitional day. The plan was to visit a friend in Indiana but Annie came down with the flu (get better soon) so we thought it would be better to postpone the visit. I didn’t find out until I was around Fort Wayne (en route to Remington)  and decided to head down to Kentucky. I did send a change of plans message but the signal must have dropped before it sent. That’s pretty common in the heartland. Anyway, Angelina and I made it safe and sound — always a blessing.

Along the way I saw acres and acres of farmland, much of it being tilled, the vibrant bridges of Louisville, the cityscapes of Indianapolis and Louisville, and even a Carvana kiosk (just like the commercial). It doesn’t take much to amuse me. Made it to Joe’s minutes after he got home. {He hadn’t seen my message either.}

While in Ohio, some of the highlights included plenty of family time and interaction.

First night, I was pampered and entertained by my grandsons and great-granddaughters. Gavin made Friday morning waffles while Dee tended the bacon, and Gavin and Addi (Harper in the background) assembled ingredients for double chocolate chip cookies. Ryan stopped in to say hi, and Zack and Kristine shared dinner and cookies.

Dinners and lunches were part of the charm. There was a relaxing catch up dinner with Dee and Mike at … Tony Packo’s. A couple of Packo dogs and onion rings. Just like the old days. I ate at Five Guys with Dee and Gavin. You really never know what Gav will say next! One gem was when he asked me why girls don’t listen, then explained it was because their hair keeps covering their ears. Dee and I managed a catch-up lunch at Panera.

There was also a Family Dinner … soup and salad with daughter Dee and Mike; grandsons Zack and Kristine, Ryan and Maddi, and Gavin; great-granddaughters Addi and Harper; and Mike’s mom Peggy. The photo was graciously snapped by adopted daughter Nikki. Family time. Precious.

I visited with Taylor, owner of Steel Rain Fitness; took a tour of the Rossford facility — including the dome; watched (emphasis on watched) Gavin’s total fitness training session; enjoyed lunch at IHOP (you have to try the Merry Marshmallow Hot Cocoa); took a nap; and went into serious Hallmark Christmas movie training (for when I get the formal job). 

There were three rockin’ services with messages to ponder followed by football with the kids/grandkids/great-granddaughters on two of the three Sundays. I also watched football (stress free since my Packers were on a bye) with my grandsons; enjoyed the interaction between Grandpa Mike (my son-in-law) and Addi (my great-granddaughter) playing Eye Spy throughout our breakfast for dinner; and taste-tested fresh (like the pig was slaughtered yesterday) sausage during dinner. {Did I mention there was a lot of eating?} Dee noted it was a blessing having Zack enjoy watching the Packers with someone who shares his love.

I had a great visit with Steffon Thomas, an author, freelance writer, and writing consultant in neighboring Sylvania. He also has a podcast featuring “dreamers” who make their dreams come true. He interviewed me and we talked for more than an hour and a half (the video card ran out) about my “story”, the writing process, and my books. Good luck editing it down! My daughter made the introduction. Dee and I also enjoyed lunch. What a blessing! I’ll keep you posted when it becomes available.

I had an opportunity to talk writing with Shannon, one of Dee’s friends. I hope she follows through with her dreams. I also cooked dinner! Instant Pot Hawaiian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches.

After a couple of days of barking and intimidation, the three dogs in the house — Rawling, Hunter, and Angelina — started getting along by generally leaving each other alone. I even had doggie kisses on my left from Angelina and on my right from Rawling.

Angelina and I did some exploring and walking. We ended up at the boat launch in Perrysburg. While stretching our legs, I noticed a gaggle of migrating geese in a field next to the river. The blessing was watching them line up in groups of 6-10 before taking flight in formation. Quite a sight.

We also walked around the pond at a Lake Township park. She loved it … kept pulling on the leash as she investigated the new surroundings. We even saw a 20- something swinging on a swing during her lunch break. It was a refreshing sight. After dinner, Grandma (Daughter) Dee and Great-granddaughter Addi baked cupcakes and I got to help make the frosting.

Dee and I spent a morning visiting grandson Ryan and puppy Jones in his and Maddie’s new home in Oak Harbor. Angelina’s reaction was “Oh no! Not another big dog.” (photo is blurry, but you can see the size difference. I think his paw was about the size of Angelina’s head!) Except for a few pre-emptive nips from her, they fared well. The night was capped with dinner at Bob Evans for Dee, Gavin, and me.

I went with Dee, Mike, and Gavin to a matinee showing of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. It wasn’t quite what we expected — good but not focused as much on Mr. Rogers’ story. Dee and I agreed it was a little more serious than anticipated … Mike had a hard time reconciling Forrest Gump as Mr. Rogers … and Gavin dozed through about half the flick. But it was another example of precious family time.

Perhaps the biggest side benefit was daily after school snacks, including gooey chocolate brownies.

My little grandchildren/great-grandchildren are growing up and I’ve been blessed to witness much of it first hand! Life is good.

As an aside, Angelina and Puck {Joe’s dog} are getting along very well! No barking … just playing. But that’s the next chapter.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right — everything.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
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