Saturday, February 27, 2010

...and an enchanting weekend

My recent weekend in the Hocking Hills included a no-damage, car wreck, back-to-back perfect Euchre hands and my engagement--more or less.

The adventure began when my lady friend Sue Brooks and I joined square dancing friends Mark and Nancy Meinzer for a weekend of exploring that Arctic-like wonderland near Logan, OH.

Our cabin was plunked in the middle of its own five acre retreat about ½ mile from Old Man’s Cave. It was marvelous with a very efficient pellet-burning stove. Its only drawback was lousy, smelly water that looked like its filtration involved coal dust.

Lots of flushing the system and a supply of bottled water helped us rise above the challenge of that now ex-vendor who had rudely rebuffed Nancy’s inquiry about the problem.

The wreck came as we were leaving the parking area for Cedar Falls and encountered a bozo in a Humvee who insisted on taking his half of the driveway out of the middle. Mark escaped an accident by easing into the ditch while that ignorant clown continued on his sub-conscious way.

Mark, Sue and I got out while Nancy slid into the driver’s seat and we muscled Meinzer’s spiffy, four-wheel drive SUV back onto the road.

The “engagement” was pre-planned--more or less. Sue and I had purchased rings in the Irish Claddah style and planned to exchange them sometime during that Valentine’s weekend. “I’ll surprise you I chirped” as the weekend was coming together.

Originally I envisioned a candle-lit dinner someplace.

But, our first hike that Saturday morning was into the frozen enchantment of Ash Cave where we found ourselves nearly alone in the silence of that natural tabernacle. “How’s this?” I asked her quietly. She smiled her agreement and I continued, “Will you be my soul mate in a perpetual courtship for as much time as life gives us?” She said “Yes.”
I unwrapped the rings from their medical gauze protection and we shared their installation while a surprised Nancy tried to slip away and give us some privacy. We promptly invited her and Mark to come closer and share our very special moment.

You see, we had arranged our first date while in a dance club meeting in their living room the previous July —and, they were engaged to be married on a Valentine’s weekend some years ago.

We went on to savor the natural splendor of Cedar Falls, Old Man’s Cave and Conkle’s Hollow. Sue put a firm punctuation mark on our adventurous weekend by being the only one in our expedition to escape a tumble in the deep and often icily packed snow.

Earlier I mentioned some success in the card game of Euchre. Actually, a perfect Euchre hand is that game’s equivalent of a hole-in-one in golf. Mine came in back-to-back deals from two different players and both were identical; both bowers with the ace, king and queen of Spades.

And, I got to play both of them.

I’m not superstitious but I raised my eyebrow at this amazing omen which seemed to celebrate our truly enchanting weekend.
In the top photo by Nancy Meinzer Sue and I exchange our rings at Ash Cave. In the small photo Sue jokingly hugs an icy stalagmite at Conkle’s Hollow—a truly significant event when you realize her low blood pressure causes her to suffer a constant chill. What a lady!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Square dancing friends Mark and Nancy Meinzer (left), lady friend Sue Brooks and I pause for this souvenir photo in the Hocking Hills State Park. Saturday, we will share the story of our delightful weekend visit to that snowy wonderland. Next week we will conclude our two-part series with an album of my favorite photos of that adventure.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Good friend Mark Meinzer did the above photo of lady friend Sue Brooks and me while hiking toward Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills State Park on Valentine's Day weekend.  That's yours truly in the lower photo being photographically distracted by the endless variety of dramatic scenes in this enchanting-wonderland.  Thursday we introduce a series of two stories of our weekend visit.  We hope you will stop by and share our delightful experience. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My pal Max ponders the remnants of an estimated 15 to 20 inches of snow that has fallen in the Bellville area in the past couple of weeks. It's pretty to look at but it sure makes the daily hikes on our wooded paths problematic.  Maybe he also is pondering the snow shoes we have been discussing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Fox News is reporting today:

"Dalai Lama Trots Past White House Trash

Another dustup in the White House's Office of Protocol? The same folks who offered the near-blind Prime Minister of Britain a set of unwatchable DVDs now might have another mess to deal with: ushering the spiritual leader of Tibet out a White House side door along a route strewn with garbage bags."

If this were major league baseball this guy O-bozo and his entire crowd of vagabonds would be sent back to the sandlot leagues.


It sits like an architectural piñata on Park Ave West in Mansfield.

The Renaissance Theater’s façade is now a mixture of downtown storefront, a marquee from another theater in the city’s past, a very modern expansion and, on the face of the second floor, memories of a venerable local radio station.

To reveal the inner jewel of the piñata patrons now walk through a relocated entrance which leads into a 23,000 square foot, 5.4 million dollar expansion ultimately raising the curtain on the interior of the grand, 80 year old theater long celebrated by Mansfield area patrons.

The recently completed addition and renovations include major improvements to public and production areas, a larger entrance and lobby, more than double the restroom capacity, greater handicap accessibility including a new elevator, expanded concessions, a new box office, and improved acoustic properties for the main theater.

There is a new climate control system replacing the ancient 8-boiler concoction.

“It is a wonderful addition and really adds to the entire experience...of being a theatre guest,” past president and CEO Terri Bergman explained. Well known, local jeweler Michael Miller assumed that role January 1st.

“No longer are our patrons bumping into each other. There is just a gracious environment to enjoy,” she continued.

Regarding the previous, very crowded entrance and lobby area, she quipped, “There are many an event where I have worn a glass of wine.”

Those days are now gone.

That’s Stage I of the theater’s “Imagine” campaign. Phase II, a 2.8 million dollar campaign is on the drawing board.

Regarding this huge theater improvement, she concluded, “We believe it is a wonderful addition not only to the theatre but, as a statement on Park Avenue West, that there is a new energy in Mansfield, Ohio.”

This is the theater's new, main entrance interior, 30 x 70 foot lobby and concession area.  Directly above it (in the top photo) is an area described as the glass bridge and additional mingling space.  In the small photo (lower right) is a stylized "R", the symbol of the Renaissance Theater, pictured aglow in a large conference table, visible at night from Park Ave.

Friday, February 19, 2010


A headline today said; Obama " go it alone" on his national health care fiasco.

Another said "Obama Writing Health Bill to Skirt GOP Filibuster"
I don't think this clown understands it truely was an inauguration, not a coronation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is the interior of the Renaissance Theater in downtown Mansfield during the recent televising of the Super Bowl football game.  Fogeyisms stopped by that evening to take a peek at a recently completed 5.4 million dollar renovation and addition to this grand, 82 year old theater.  The small photo (right) is a view of the new lobby and concession area. 

Please stop by Saturday for more pictures and our story on that theater expansion.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This arresting image is of the eruption of a Japanese volcano taken in early January. The streaks are the result of red-hot, molten rock bursting through the volcano's cone into the atmosphere.

In this image a blue-white, horizontal streak of lightning also is visible near the center. Scientists are unclear on what causes this spectacular phenomena, and, it has been noted lightning usually is occurring somewhere on Earth, typically over 40 times each second.
Photo by Martin Rietze from:

Monday, February 15, 2010


Randy tells me it is better to view his work here:  The Myspace page mentioned earlier requires a membership whereas the Facebook albums should be available to the public in general.

When you get to his page click on "Photos" then enjoy a tour through his many albums.  I certainly have.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

JUNK ADVERTISING and a clever creation...

Is anyone else as disgusted as I am with the marketing gimmick of stuffing magazines full of advertising postcards.

I guess witless advertisers pay these magazine people to foist this annoyance on their readers.

The first time I hit one of these I immediately turn the magazine upside down and shake the rest of them into a pile of trash.

Of course some of them are fastened which simply requires a peeved jerk and they also land in the trash.

Not only do I ignore the message from the clown who is paying the bill for this nuisance, I canceled, for a recent example, my subscription to Ohio Magazine because of this.

Can you see me dusting my hands in a gesture of good riddance to a couple more of life’s pesky distractions?

Then there is the bozo who runs a cheap furniture joint in a nearby town who every Friday pollutes the local airwaves with his pitchman screaming at the radio audience as if there was actually a good reason for a prudent consumer to buy whatever he is yelling about.

I’ve developed the habit of avoiding all local broadcast radio stations on Friday until this huckster and the stations apply at least miniscule standards of professionalism and class to their products.

Speaking of “class” a very classy Bellville lady, at a recent breakfast gabfest, gave me the gift (below) of the very cleverly created, melting snowman. She is Mrs. Larry (Jean) VonBlon and the “melting” snow actually is hot glue pooled in the shape of the icy puddle adorned with crafty remnants of the disappearing snowman.  Thanks classy lady!


Finally, Fogeyisms tips our hat to long-time friends, Nancy and Jerry Kulka of Mansfield who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary tomorrow, Valentine's Day.  Both were high school classmates of mine and we have remained close friends all these years.  Thanks for the memories--and, hopefully, for those yet to be!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

EXQUISITE PHOTO ART Randy Dieter of Cincinnati

My good friend and long-ago associate as a News Journal photographer, Randy Dieter, recently surprised me with a gift of his digitized rendering of the picture (above) of me hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The original photo was shot by good friend and hiking companion from Gainesville, FL, Ted Kmet and, the image currently is in use as the header photo on my blog.

In the last few years Randy has perfected his art form to a highly enthusiastic and art-show-quality level.

Samples of his work are available on his web site:

If you are looking for a unique and classy gift idea, do yourself a favor, contact Randy and arrange to have your favorite photo or photos digitized into a gift that will give forever.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Sue and I recently went ring shopping--for the "Friendship" variety.

We had found some rings we liked online but we prefer to buy locally. The rings we like are Irish in the Claddah style. Not only do they have a unique design they mean different things depending on the finger they are worn on and the ring’s orientation in relation to the person’s heart.

For example, ring finger right hand, ring design facing away from the heart: "I’m available."

...ring finger, right hand, ring design facing toward the owner’s heart: "I’m in a relationship," or, “Someone has captured my heart.”

...ring finger, left hand, ring design facing outward: generally indicates the wearer is engaged.

...ring finger, left hand, ring design facing toward the body: generally means the person is married.

This little technicality didn’t cause me any concern until the sales lady at Miller’s Jewelry went to measure Sue’s finger and Sue offered her ring finger, left hand.

I gulped.

We had often agreed we were enjoying a serious and growing relationship but neither of us was looking for a spouse.

I gulped again then interjected; ring finger, right hand according to the Claddah manual indicates being in a relationship.

Sue countered, ring finger, left hand can signify engagement but doesn’t necessarily mean engaged to be married.

I appealed to the sales lady for a ruling.

She read the Claddah rules just as I described them, and then pronounced, “I guess it depends on your definition of 'engaged'."

I opined I’ve never heard of being engaged without a marriage intended—sometime.

Sue responded persuasively, "Not necessarily".

We both turned back to the saleslady while noting a chorus of giggles from a young couple standing nearby.

The saleslady bought us some time when she said she would have to check on the delivery of the rings—in time for our target date for sharing them on Valentine’s Day.

We’ll get this sorted out, we chimed.

The young couple continued to giggle.

Good grief. This business of geriatric dating can be complicated.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It took Mother Nature less than 24 hours to dump between 12 and 15 inches of snow on our part of Ohio Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. This view is looking west across my pond's dam toward the house in the background which sits about 1/10 of a mile off my township road. The shoveled area in the near foreground is so I can stop the truck and unlock the chain across the driveway without suffering snow-clad feet.

A bit later I felt like the avalanche patrol guy at the mountain ski resort while I stood on my upper deck and blasted huge clumps of snow out of the overhanging pine branches with my little .410 shotgun.

I don't think any of the neighbors noticed.

Then, while warming up with a peek at the frenzy of birds feeding, a Robin showed up.  I hoped he was learning something from his seed eating pals.  I has to be tough for him to find his favorite earthworm snack with a foot or more of snow on the ground.

Finally, I remembered to swish the snow off my satellite TV antenna with a straw broom.  Hope I didn't bump it enough that my programming now begins to arrive in Spanish.

Soon after these tasks were complete and I had punched out to the road with the truck--I was back on the computer intensifying my search for snow-bird digs in the sunny South.

On the other hand, how could I have this much fun without paying someone the price of an admission.

And so it goes....

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I had driven past the Unusual Junction down there on route 36 east of Coshocton many times but never had an opportunity to visit. It always looked like a string of period railroad cars with a depot of sorts just full of commercial, maybe even historic, activity.

Recently lady friend Sue Brooks, her friend Sandy and I stopped there after a birthday lunch with Sue’s sister Patsy and her friend Karen in Newark. Even though it was a cold, rainy Sunday, the “Junction” was alive with automobiles in the parking area.

There were about a half dozen train cars with a caboose. Out front was a 60’s era Volkswagen Bus gaily painted like those of the flower-child generation. I smiled as I thought of my son Craig who is, at this very moment, restoring one of them.

This one was complete with a pair of mannequin legs sporting combat boots protruding from the rear end. “That’s enough to make some excitable visitor call 911,” I quipped.

There was an old railroad mail cart (above) by the front entrance celebrating a time long past. Down along the cars I could see an old iron cage with the sobriquet “County Jail” on its fading sign.

Inside we found a shop well stocked with confections and lots of artsy, crafty gifts. Along one wall was a generous display of Amish style meats and cheeses leading to a spiffy 50’s era diner still satisfying a few post lunch-time customers.

On the rear wall (below) was a huge sign from the Price is Right TV show—evidently a real crowd pleaser, or so the signs said.

It turns out all the folks from the cars in the parking lot evidently were visiting the adjacent store that specialized in—wedding gowns, of all things.

“How do we get to see the railroad cars,” I asked a gal in the diner. “Oh, they are not open any more,” she explained and went on to tell me about some sort of charity auction which was one of the last activities in the train cars.

So, I walked slowly along the outside of the cars and was saddened to see how badly deteriorated they had become with peeling paint and ill fitting windows and soggy insulation hanging here and there.

As we headed toward home I surrendered the driving chores to Sandy and slid into the back seat for a relaxing ride to day’s end.

The railroad fancier in me was disappointed but, getting to spend an afternoon in the company of these four ladies was, nevertheless, a warm interlude on a dreary winter day.

Besides, we noted the Longaberger Basket Company and Roscoe Village as we ventured through the area down there—more blog material as springtime approaches.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This 60s era Volkswagen Bus sits along US Route 36 east of Coshocton and beckons customers to the Unusual Junction, a curious collection of railroad cars with a decidedly commercial orientation.  We stopped by recently and I satisfied an aging curiosity which is explained Saturday in a story headlined, "This is a Story that Isn't"  Please stop by.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


In the above photo which was done during a recent hike the blazes and markings represent the junction of the Mohican State Park and Mohican Memorial State Forest boundaries on the trail from the Pleasant Hill Dam to Little Lyon’s Falls.

The red color represents the park area and “No Hunting”. The yellow color is for the forest where hunting is allowed.

The Mohican State Park consists of 1,110 acres with 5 miles of the Clear Fork Branch of the Mohican River running through it. The park extends from the Mohican Lodge southward along the west side of Pleasant Hill Lake.

That parcel narrows significantly at the dam and forms a corridor along the river, past the covered bridge and downstream to the campground on SR 3.

The state forest is composed of 4,795 acres of hunting area laced with hiking and bridal trails generally surrounding the park land. There are privately owned parcels within the forest area. That is why you see some homes and mailboxes when driving on forest roads in the vicinity of the fire tower and gorge overlook, for examples.

Adding to the land boundary confusion of that immediate area are the Muskingham Watershed Conservancy District and US Army Corp of Engineers with land holdings, also adjacent to the dam.

You are generally free to disregard this bit of information, unless, of course, you are a hunter.