BY: JAMES F. O’NEIL
“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” –Henry David Thoreau
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” Once more we have braved the 18-wheelers that ruthlessly plow through rain troughs, spraying everywhere. Once more we pack and unpack: MOTEL; pack and unpack: MOTEL; pack and unpack: ARRIVAL. “WE’RE BACK!”
PIC OF COTTAGE 16
Yes, we have arrived. It’s been two years. A friend said the spiders probably have saddles; the webs are taut, but not too many. Dust and some dirt. But not too bad.
We’re back in town: Bethesda, Ohio: Same post office; pizza-parlor-restaurant remains. However, some town expansion: new fuel pumps, re-conditioned gas station; new clock and clock tower, and newly established military memorial. Some streets recently paved.
More ducks and geese at the lake, noisily sounding out for food from cottage guests. Some dead trees felled by recent storms lay scattered in the park area, awaiting disposal.
Inside, for me, after a week of sorting clothes, and catching up on minor repairs, I’m ready for…nothing. TO VACATE. IT’S VACATION! Is it not? I brought six magazines and three books. Why? And the books unread from previous years (including Doctor Zhivago and Madame Bovary)? I’ve already made a trip to the library with book donations. (I love that place. But with little self-control, I checked out four DVDs and picture-filled books: all about chocolate, and new watches of 2017.)
Barnesville Public Library
So friends ask, “What do you do when you go to Ohio? What do you do all day? Do you ever get bored?” Never bored. And the days go so quickly…
Up: 8:00-9:00 Morning Reading and Meditation: 9:00-9:30
Breakfast: fruit, cereal, cappuccino, toast, oatmeal, vitamins, coffee, medications, etc. 9:30-10:30.
Contemplation of Day’s Activities while watching ducks, geese, humming birds: 10:30-11:45.
Planning for Lunch: 11:45-noon (Get mail at post office in town. Postal employees have lunch from twelve to one. Mail goes out at 4-ish.)
Afternoon activities: Painting, dusting, cleaning, sitting watching lake and humming birds: noon-2:00 pm.
Lunch: 2:00 pm-3:00 pm: soup, sandwiches, salad, fruit, piece of Dove chocolate, etc.
Continuation of Activities: 3:00-5:00 pm (or laundry, litter box, play with cat, quiet reading, gardening–while in afternoon shade)
Nap Time: 5:00-6:00 pm. Quiet time.
Preparation for Dinner, and Dinner: 6:00-8:00 pm: Cooking, salads, varied recipes, or even an occasional pizza from the local pizza place. Then cleanup.
Evening: 8:00-ish: Movie/DVD, reading, writing, catching up on “stuff” like mail and bills, quiet time, game time, perhaps time on the swing (depending on the mosquito population).
Ready for bed: 10:00-11:30 pm: Reading, showers, litter box, snack, continuation of DVD, night medications. Check food and water for cat.
Good night. “Always Kiss Me Goodnight” reads the sign in the bedroom.
ALTERNATIVES: 11:00-6:00 pm: Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Kroger’s, Ollies, Jo-Ann Fabrics… Dinner out. Shopping, shopping, shopping. From cottage to car to St. Clairsville (12.7 miles) to Ohio Valley Mall, et al., to cottage, to unloading groceries. Or getting a haircut. Or visiting Goodwill because the temperature dropped to 58 degrees and we were not prepared. Or Steak ‘n Shake…
Painting or gardening as major full-day summer projects…
An evening with friends: “The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” –Henry David Thoreau
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“So, what do you do in Ohio?” “Oh, we just relax.”
© James F. O’Neil 2017