Thursday, February 28, 2008

We're Not Allowed in Mammoth Cave, Anymore

Many years ago, my husband and I with visited Mammoth Cave, Kentucky with our youngest daughter and her young husband. We took a guided tour of the largest cave and enjoyed hearing of the many uses the caves have had. One was the mining of Saltpeter for the use in gunpowder during the War of 1812. The main cave is huge and has so many interest points that it should be on your list of places to visit before you die.

About ten years later, we had been house boating at Dale Hollow, Tennessee on the Kentucky border with several other couples and decided that we would like to visit the caves again and tour a different cave. We stayed in Bowling Green, Kentucky overnight in a motel where fifty or sixty little girls were competing in a beauty pageant. What a thrill! Little Miss West Bowditch covered in sequins , satin ruffles, a quarter inch of pancake makeup and false eyelashes. Who could do that to a six year old? The next morning we found a little country restaurant with a scrumptious breakfast buffet. Pork tenderloin, biscuits, ham and red-eye gravy and all the great down home, heart attack on a plate goodies known to man. We stuffed ourselves with a fairly normal amount of food containing a wildly inappropriate amount of saturated fat, then headed out to see the caves. We bought two tickets to the "Peaks and Domes Cave". In human people English, this is a straight up and down cave of Stalactites and Stalagmites with a circular stairway about eleven stories down. One hundred and twenty people started down the stairs while ogling the sub-carboniferous rock formations all around us. "Honey" and I were about numbers sixty and sixty-one and about half way down, he said, "Oh, oh! I think I'm in trouble. I need a bathroom!" The dude had his gall-bladder out when he was twenty-nine and always had trouble with the amount of fats in restaurant food. Wouldn't you think that we would know better than to trap ourselves in the middle of a single file line of people (young people, old people, mommies carrying babies) half way down in a cave. So, here he is doing Lamaze breathing and praying that they have a bathroom facility at the bottom of the stairway. At the bottom, I asked the State Park Guard where the bathroom was. She replied, " Back up the stairs when the other sixty people get down here or one half mile out of the cave, but he can't go either way until the other guard gets down here." When she finally arrived at the end of the line of people, "Honey" took off running up the approximately one hundred and twenty steps and landings. I began the walk up and the guard wanted to bring up the rear, but I insisted that she go up with him, because I would be considerably slower and he was not well. I didn't tell her that I had suffered a small heart attack earlier in the spring. When "Honey" got to the top of the stairs, the door to the outside was locked! The guard eventually arrived and unlocked the door and "Honey" bounded off into the woods, dropped trou and leaned against a tree. The State Park sent a car for us and drove us back to the office. I looked at the back of my darling husband and "Holy Bat Guano"--- there was a tick on the back of his pants.
That sort of thing happens, if you are not too persnickety about where you drop your drawers. He visited their facilities to check for ticks and other woodland things. So, now you know why we are not allowed back in Mammoth Caves.
Next, I'll tell you why we aren't allowed in Howard Johnson's either.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dad's in the Highway Patrol

Our youngest daughter was married on Saturday of a Labor Day Weekend. Every t was crossed and every i was dotted, when suddenly, two days before the wedding --- Grandma died! It was too late to cancel the wedding and honeymoon, so everything went ahead with, of course, the exception of Grandma. The next day was Sunday and you can't skip church right after they have provided a lovely wedding for your daughter, so we went to church and then headed thirty miles south to Grampa's church for the funeral. Our pastor preached his normal length sermon and that put us a little behind in getting to the other church ontime. As we were speeding southward on I-75 with our son following closely behind, we were stopped by an Ohio Highway Patrolman for speeding and for following too closely. The officer was polite, but was one of those "by the book" types. We explained that we were late for my husband's mother's funeral (it was really a step-mother), we had the interrment papers with us and his elderly father would be worried to death ---- could he please speed up the process for giving us the dreaded ticket? "No, please stay in your cars until I call this in!" How many people are speeding down the highway on Labor Day Sunday in suits, ties, church dresses and high heels? Most people are in beach clothes and have a six pak in the back seat. No matter what we said, he went slower and slower, even saying that he would have to start all over at the beginning, because we bothered him. Eventually, we took our tickets and drove the rest of the way. We were late, but it didn't make Grandma any deader and everything worked out in the end. The honeymooning couple had stayed in that town over night, so they could get to the funeral and then be on their way to their new life as Mr. and Mrs. (Our daughter had actually gone to the funeral home the day before, after the reception in her wedding gown, so her Grampa could see her in her bridal gown.)
I immediately sat down and sent a letter of complaint to the head of the Ohio Highway Patrol --- not because of the tickets, but because of the length of time we were detained on the roadside. I even included the death notice and the wedding announcement from the paper, feeling that a little compassion would have gone a long way in our case. We might have even made it to the church ontime.
The happy couple came back from their honeymoon just in time to have a sergeant from the Patrol come to our house to get the whole story. He had actually timed the trip from our country home to the other town to see what time we should have left to make the trip in reasonable time for the funeral. The only catch was---- we didn't leave from our home ---- we left from our church service. My new son-in-law was so impressed with the sergeant that when a new class was held in Columbus, he joined the Highway Patrol and has been with them for twenty-five years. He can retire next month and will be in great demand as an accident reconstructionist or stay in as a sergeant and have his retirement go into an IRA. He is only forty-eight and already has one career behind him and almost anything ahead of him. His college degree was in marketing and he wound up in law enforcement, because we were stopped for speeding the day after his wedding. God leads us along in mysterious ways, sometimes He has a great sense of humor. The little guy in the picture is my grandson, Alex in his dad's Stetson. He is now a junior at Nyack University in New York and is inclined either towards videography for Christian movies or perhaps a preacher. Either way, his dad's in the Highway Patrol and a really great guy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sad, but true---

I love these Canadian billboards. But, this is really very sad!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Holy Toledo! What a Fink!

I hate to admit this weekend, that I have lived in Toledo, Ohio for most of my life. Since we live across the river in a lovely suburban town, I can no longer vote for mayor, but am praying that the good people of my home town will get the message from the national news ---Toledo's Mayor, Carty Finkbeiner, is a few cards short of a full deck. Toledo's economy has been going downhill in direct proportion to the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan for years. Despite a fantastic location on I 75 between Sioux Sault Marie and Key West , I 80-90 between New York and Chicago on the St. Lawrence Seaway, this Crossroads city is losing factories, companies and businesses by the dozen. It's getting to the point where the last person out will have to turn out the lights.

Does Mayor Finkbiner want our young service people to learn how to check buildings for terrorists and incindary devices in downtown Bagdad? I am the proud grandma of an Air Force Arabic translator, who has pledged six years of his life to the service of this country. I'm so happy that the people of The Defense Language Institute in the Presido of Monterrey, California didn't throw him out while he was learning Arabic. He is a proud graduate of Perrysburg High School and a former student of the University of Toledo.
Wake up Toledoans! You need a mayor who knows that America is involved in a war and our kids need to know how to do their job when they step onto unfriendly soil that is across the ocean, not just over the Ohio/Michigan border.

The following article is an example of how the mayor handled a request by our Marines to do practice maneuvers in a deserted downtown.

This from NBC --- Channel 24 in Toledo, Ohio
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on Friday ordered some 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines from Grand Rapids, Michigan, out of Toledo just before the unit was supposed to start a weekend of urban warfare training downtown.
The mayor’s spokesperson Brian Schwartz said, “the mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people. He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area."
Toledo police said they knew about the training and had approved the unit’s use of the Madison Building and the Promenade Park area. The training was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and last until Sunday. Police said the unit’s presence would have a minimal impact on the city. Police issued a press release earlier in the week saying the marines would be wearing green camouflage uniforms, operate military vehicles, carry rifles, perform foot patrols, and fire blank ammunitiion during the exercise.
Schwartz said there was a breakdown in communication between police and the Finkbeiner administration that led to the mayor’s action.
“The marines drilled here three times during the Ford administration and once under the Finkbeiner administration. After the last visit, the mayor told then police chief Jack Smith, that he did not want the marines back. Smith failed to inform the current police administration of the mayor’s feelings,” Schwartz said.
NBC24 spoke to Jack Smith who recalled that after the marines last visit, he and the mayor had a heated exchange about the training.
“He told me he did not want them, as he put it, 'playing war in Toledo,'" Smith recalled. "I told him, as a former marine, that if one young marine’s life is saved because of training he or she received in Toledo, Ohio, then it was worth the inconvenience.”
Smith said if the mayor objected, then he should have been the one to convey those feelings to police. Smith took his run-in with the mayor as an objection to that last visit, and not future training in Toledo.
As a result, the Toledo police went ahead, granting approval to the 1-24th Marines to conduct the routine exercise. The police notified members of the Finkbeiner administration, who were not aware that the mayor objected to unit’s training in Toledo.
When the mayor found out, he sent a member of his staff to tell marines they could not conduct urban operations in Toledo.
The unit was notified about 3:30 p.m. after an advance team arrived in Toledo. Five buses carrying some 200 marines traveled four hours from Grand Rapids, only to find out the training had been shot down.
The unit briefly stopped at a another 1-24th marine base in Perrysburg Township, then returned back to Grand Rapids where training was expected to be held this weekend.
A spokesperson for the marines said they were disappointed by the mayor’s decision especially after the city had been so helpful in the past.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

No Further Words Needed!

A perfect example of, "I'm speechless".