Hey, Becky, where are you?

Brian, Janet, Jodi & David @ Aunt Gladys'

Sunday afternoon led us to a slow and methodic ride down the drizzly state routes and back roads of central Ohio travelling south to the Columbus airport.  Margo was scheduled to fly out to Houston (one more week before school begins!)  and I reserved a car to drive north to where I grew up outside Youngstown (about 60 miles south of Cleveland for those who a short in Ohio geography) and 2 hours and 40 minutes later I was in my old driveway on Amberly St just as the neighborhood was getting dark.  That felt good and my brother’s dog (who looks like the Taco Bell hero…) was at the front door to meet me with noise enough to wake the dead… but we did become friends shortly after…

 I may be one of the odd ones but the house my brother lives in is the same house all of my parents’ five children grew up in.  It dates to November 1956 and while I know many preacher’s kids and military brats and children of sales reps who moved every 5-10 years to a new house in a new town, at this age I consider myself a fortunate son who can return to the “homestead”.  My father always believed he had moved back to the farm (he grew up in the ‘projects’) in our west side suburb but I’m not sure he ever thought that the only home he bought would still be in the family 54 years later…and while the square footage remains the same the furniture and wall hangings are all different from my boyhood memories…it still feels good to find myself back in ‘recollection’ land…

Thanks to my sister Janet, my schedule was pretty well planned out for the time I would be home.  David and I hung around the house and talked about family stuff and then ran a few errands and before landing at Traxx, a local grill and pub where I know I would find a primo green pepper and egg sandwich.  We met my sister Jodi and her two boys, Sean and Troy there along with my oldest nephew, Joshua and his youngest brother, Tyler, the most recent Fitch HS Falcon graduate and heading off to Mercyhurst CC to play baseball.  Perhaps one of the longest lunches of the summer (not because we wanted it to be…) and then launched out to the local Putt-Putt course for what was hailed to be the “Putt-Putt Championship of the Universe” … winner take all… which ended up being Uncle David…with youngest nephew Troy bagging 2nd place with a great back 9…and as for me…I will live to win at putt-putt another day…

 That night the whole family landed at Aunt Gladys’ house for pizza and some cake and ice cream to celebrate Troy’s birthday… lots of noise and lots of fun and a phone call to outland sister, Becky, in Oak Harbor, WA we made another good family memory…and by dark we were all headed home…What a Monday and Tuesday would bring more joy…

 Tuesday came earlier than Monday and David and I were back at Aunt Gladys’ house to pick her up to go to breakfast and meet with one of my brother’s former co-workers (they are both laid off from work right now), “Big John” at a little dive called “The Buckeye Diner”… a place that you would recognize as one of the pro-college eateries that if in Texas could be called “The Longhorn Café” or “The Aggie Grille” but decorated with more Ohio State football props than you could shake a branch full of buckeyes at…

 It was almost funny… we got there at 8 AM which was the time the sign on the door said…”Summer Hours” = 8 AM – 8 PM but when we got inside we were told the hours were changed because the cook did not like getting up so early to be at work to cook at 7 AM.  And the funny part that morning was that although we could order breakfast…the cook was not there!  Get it?  In a place where folks are looking for work…the cook didn’t want to and then by end of the morning I found out the cook was married to the owner and she got there when he got there… and that’s breakfast at The Buckeye Diner.  Oh, and one other thing… “Big John goes there so often that one of the breakfast menu items is named after him…so Tuesday started off great…breakfast with my favorite brother, my esteemed aunt and a celebrity…

After a quick trip to Border’s Books…David and I took Aunt Gladys back home and headed to Amberly St and wait until my sister Janet finished an interview for a teaching position in the Youngstown Schools.  As of this entry I have been told she has a position teaching Kindergarten… hooray!

Later Tuesday would be an event that was planned on a wing and prayer and with just two weeks head start I was able to find myself in a venue as the keynote speaker at what would labeled a “Men’s Huddle” for Lutheran congregations in NE Ohio along with their friends….more on that in a separate post…but as midday arrived, Janet and David and I went over the a local restaurant called “Salsitos” a place that touted itself as “nacho typical Mexican eatery.”  The cook was from Honduras and the food was good.  We had good laughs…talked about our siblings (paybacks for when they talk about me when I’m not around…) and the big surprise was running in to not just one but 2 high school classmates that I had not seen since 1972…sheeesh…that was not on the plan my sister reminded me…but as those who know me…I heard…”there he goes again…”  ;>]

We dropped David off at the house and Janet and I spent the rest of the afternoon at the mall as she looked for some books for potential classroom’s students and I made my way to the Border’s music section and found a newer release of some old songs by The Band which proved to help me on the drive back the ride back to Columbus the next morning.  It’s a good thing to be together with my siblings but over the years of my life I have learned the value of spending some time with them one on one and it’s in those moments (some longer than others) where I find myself being better connected as the elder brother of five…as we are blessed in ways we don’t always understand… and now I’ll most my thoughts on the “Men’s Huddle” in my next post…

The ride back to Columbus included a great 2 hour conversation with two of my classmates at the coffee shop across the street from the seminary and then it ended with a very pleasant dinner with my old HS friend, Dick and his wife, Grace… in fact Dick & I played T-ball together and so we go back a long way… it was his last day of vacation and it was a nice ending for both of us…



About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 4. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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One Response to MAD DASH THRU OHIO (Part B)

  1. Karen says:

    Great to hear about you visit with family and friends. Enjoy your R & R.

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