Monday, August 30, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010


After a very busy month, or a hectic week, sometimes I just feel like "gettin' the heck outta Dodge" for a few hours. Alone; to clear my head; just to drive - driving is relaxing for me. I used to drive long distances more often, like last year when I drove to Texas.

Friday night was one of those nights!

I read my news online, so while looking at a television news website, some words of a story caught my eye. I was directed to The Columbus Dispatch and read the article with great interest. A festival called Balloons and Tunes was going to be at Beulah Park in Grove City Friday and Saturday nights. There was a link to a website about the event group so I checked it out. It turned out to be something on my BUCKET LIST.

I arrived at Beulah Park around 5:30 p.m. on a beautiful sunny evening with calm winds and a great crowd in attendance. The first thing I did was take a few pictures, as the band played music, then got in line to purchase my ride ticket. The line was long, but moved along. I got talking with a woman in front of me with her niece and son. Since we were in line for almost 50 minutes, we got acquainted.

I had taken some pictures when I first came through the gates, but the ones that followed were incredible. I found myself in a line, in our group of four, watching 20 hot air balloons rising gracefully off the ground with their bright colors shining in the sunlight. The Real Adventure Hot Air Balloon Company had about 20 balloons of all different colors covering the infield at the Park. Some had taken advance reservations for the long distance flight offered at a cost of $175 per person for about an hour excursion over Grove City. The rest of the balloons were available for a "tethered flight" offered for only $5.00 per person. Some of the balloonists were from the Central Ohio Balloon Club from Bolton Field Airport.

After reading their website in great detail, I learned, then observed, that the hot air balloons must be tethered to a heavy vehicle on the ground, sometimes two vehicles (pickup trucks or vans), then two (or three, depending upon wind velocity) heavy rope lines staked into the ground. The tether lines allow the balloon to rise 100 feet off the ground for a great view.

Each balloon has a wicker basket with a foot-step cutout on opposite sides for entry and exit. One foot in - throw a leg over the side and drop down into the basket. It stood 4 persons comfortably, (5 if two are smaller individuals or children), as the pilot sits on the side of the basket and operates the burner. As one person exits the basket, one enters on the opposite side, while one company assistant holds down the basket on the opposite side of the pilot, and another assistance holds one of the tether rope lines. Once inside, the pilot fires up the burner and the balloon gradually and smoothly rises from the ground affording time for a great view and the feeling of floating on a cloud. After a few minutes at 100 feet above the ground, the air begins to cool inside the balloon (bag) "envelope" and it gently glides to the ground. Then comes the "bump" as it lands, but the pilot warned us as the bump approached. With slightly bent knees, it doesn't bother you at all.

After sundown and all the balloonists were back on the ground, untethered and ready, the "night glow" began as several, or each in turn, fired their burners and the balloon glowed against the darkening sky. The announcer with the band then called for the total glow and counted it down so the pilots could get ready, and then the infield was aglow as all together they showed their various colors against the dark background. It was a "shining" sight!

It was a great learning experience and opportunity that, for me, comes around once in a lifetime. The event coordinators had to cut off the waiting line shortly after we got our tickets, because hot air balloons are only allowed to fly until dusk and must be on the ground when the pink hues line the trees of the horizon. Otherwise, they could get fined pursuant to FAA rules and regulations. The best times to fly are two hours after sunrise and two hours before dusk, according to the hot air balloon informational websites I read before attending the event.

I also learned that in the United States a pilot of a hot air balloon must have a pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Association and go through extensive training, as some pilots just love the joy of flying. To carry paying passengers and attend balloon festivals, each pilot must have a commercial pilot certificate.

A hot air balloon has three essential parts: the burner, which heats the air; the balloon envelope, which holds the air; and the basket which carries the passengers. To keep the balloon rising, the burner heats the air in the envelope using tanks of compressed liquid propane. Each modern basket carries two tanks of propane. As the air cools, the pilot fires the burner again for a short time. As the balloonist fires the burner, the liquid propane flows through tubes and reaches the pilot light and changes to gas form and is ignited, causing a glowing blue flame.

Hot air balloons are the oldest successful human passenger carrying flight technology and date back to the year 1782 in France. The first modern day hot air balloons were made in the United Kingdom, and these balloons are now used primarily for recreation. The largest manufacturer of hot air balloons in the world is in Bristol, England. The second largest manufacturer is located in Spain. America's manufacturer in South Dakota was ranked third until it closed in 2007. There are two American manufacturers now, located in North Carolina and Georgia. Canada, Australia and Germany also have facilities. The envelopes can now be made in many specialty shapes and sizes, such as hot dogs, rocket ships, and commercial products. Baskets are made in various sizes from 2-person capacity to the large 30-person size.

I'm just glad the little 6-person basket of the ReMax hot air balloon I rode was able to get me UP UP AND AWAY from my busy week, making me forget my troubles and give me that "floating on a cloud" feeling for my five minutes of opportunity. I LOVED IT, and completed another item on my Bucket List!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I was very surprised to receive a large envelope in the mail yesterday, especially when the return address noted it to be from Vice President Joe Biden. Upon opening the envelope, I found a numbered and autographed photograph of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, thanking me for my efforts and support of his administration and the Democratic Party. Very soon my new photo will be framed and hung on my living room wall along with my autographed photo of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and my autographed photo of State Representative Ray Pryor. I call it my "pride wall" because I am proud to display my elected officials' photos.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


As a person gets older, their eyesight gets a bit worse, I have trifocals so I know it's true for me. They say when your eyesight starts to fail, your hearing gets better. It's an offset of the senses - as one weakens, another one improves.

In a quiet room, I can hear the slightest noise. The night before last I proved my point. It was late, but I still wanted my ice cream before bed. I took a Klondike Bar to bed and watched a bit of TV before going to sleep. (Ice cream is a staple of life - isn't it? A "must have" for me!) I took the empty wrapper and tossed it toward the small trash can I have sitting beside the bed, but it missed, unbeknownst to me at the time.

After it was dark and quiet in the bedroom, I heard a sound of crinkling paper on my left. I wondered what it was, but let it go. Later I heard the same sound on my right. Then I got curious. I turned on the light and looked around, but the only thing I found that was different was an empty candy wrapper, which I thought had one small piece of Hershey's chocolate bar left in it. It was crinkled and empty on my cedar chest to the left of the bed.

My instincts told me what to do next. The next day I stopped at the dollar store and bought a pack of mouse traps. That night I baited two with peanut butter and set them under the head of the bed, one on each side. I turned out the light, waited and listened.

It wasn't long before Ratatouille's cousin got hungry on his visit to my home, and I was obliging with his favorite peanut butter. In the midst of the quiet, I heard a "snap" and a "squeal" on my right. SUCCESS. I got my flashlight and looked on the floor where I had put it and sure enough, trapped.

I laid back down thinking, that solved that problem. But when I woke up the next morning, I remembered that someone had to move the tiny, gray, lifeless thing. So I got my handy reach-gripper from the kitchen, and the trash can. Ratatouille's cousin's funeral was held before 11 a.m. with no formal ceremony or religious service and no morners. He went to his great beyond with peanut butter on his lips. I was not saddened by his departure.

As I looked under the night stand where I had found him, I realized that the trap had moved slightly from where I had first seen it after the "snap" - it had rolled over on his last - jerk. Then I found the paper that I had heard the night before, under the night stand - the Klondike wrapper, on the opposite side of the room. That's when I knew I had missed the mark when I threw it away. Next time I'll be more careful, and those cousin's will hopefully not come back to visit, because they won't leave alive!

I must say this, it's the first mouse in this house as long as I can remember, back to 1971. But, they say there's a first time for everything.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


For those who missed the Letterman Show, this segment is hilarious. Watch this short clip!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A fundraiser was held for State Representative Ray Pryor at the New Holland Community Center last Sunday. It was well attended and we raised money from many donated pies and cakes which were auctioned off.

Governor Ted Strickland made an appearance and spoke to the crowd on behalf of Ray and talked about his own campaign. The Governor then greeted people and posed for photos with Ray.

Ray gave his greetings to the attendees, he introduced the Governor, after which food was served. Hot dogs (with all the trimmings), baked beans, and Les's famous macaroni salad - which I love. (Les is Sue's brother.) When the event was over, it was hard to find one cup of the macaroni salad left!

The Governor had to leave at 2:30 p.m on his way to Gallia County and wanted to take a hot dog with him, and I made sure he had a cup of that special macaroni salad in his "to-go" box.

Many door prizes were given away during the day and I believe everyone had a good time and good food. Thanks to Dave, Grace, Faye and Jane Ann for hosting the event. The next event is August 22nd, a house party, and I posted the invitation here yesterday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010


During a break in my busy schedule of late, I took a long overdue trip to visit my nephew, Jeff, in Youngstown. We spent an interesting evening going through a box of photographs, looking for some special family photos, in the mass of pictures I gathered during my "shed cleanout" last month.

We caught up on events of the last few months, and I knew I had his computer to fix the next day. He has a sister, Lorrie, whom I had not seen since 1987. I had lost contact with my niece, and recently learned she also resided in Ohio. The last time I saw her was when Jeff was in the U.S. Navy and living in Norfolk, Virginia. At that time, I was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For those of you who are familiar with that area, you know they are connecting cities. She was visiting Jeff when I found out he was stationed there for a while, and I went to visit him. I remember taking photos during my visit. I'm still searching for them!

When I arrived at Jeff's house, I learned that Lorrie and her son, Joe, were temporarily staying there while she relocates and completes her college courses at Youngstown State College. It was a nice reunion and walk down memory lane.

Since my arrival was before supper, we went to Denny's the first night. I like Denny's, but around home we don't have one. Jeff is a good cook and he grilled out the second night, after a short spurt of rain we didn't expect. It was a short visit, but a good time for all.

I remember Jeff from when we were children and my brother would visit and bring the kids to visit Grandpa (my dad). When the family moved to California, Lorrie was born so I never knew her until we were adults.

It's always nice to reconnect with family members, no matter how long the distance or years of separation - family is always family. I'm sure my next visit will be soon, before winter comes.

Friday, August 6, 2010


My mother was a perpetual saver. Fibber McGee's closet was in the guest room. It came in handy sometimes, because if you ever needed something, no matter what it was, she probably had it. The file cabinet was filled with papers dating back to the 1940's. It was certainly interesting when I started sorting through things after her death. One thing I found recently was a small brown leather-type pouch which belonged to my grandparents. Inside the pouch was a historical reminder of war time 1943.

There were 4 small paper booklets called War Ration Book No. 3 and No. 4, one for each of my grandparents. They were marked "United States of America - Office of Price Administration." Inside the booklets were numbered stamps which were spent for goods back then.

On the back of each booklet it stated: "Rationing is a vital part of your country's war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy." These ration books gave the named bearer the right to buy their fair share of certain goods made scarce by war. There were price ceilings established for items and dealers (stores) had to post the prices for all to see.

At the bottom it read: "Give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods. Be guided by the rule: If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT." Government Printing Office 1943.

When booklet No. 3 was issued, on the face it had the person's name, address, age, sex, height, weight, and occupation. Booklet No. 4 just had name, address, and both versions had a signature line.

On the back of the later No. 4 version, it stated: "Never buy rationed goods without ration stamps, and never pay more than the legal price."

At the bottom, there was a reminder to consumers: "When you have used your ration, salvage the TIN CANS and WASTE FATS. They are needed to make munitions for our fighting men. Cooperate with your local Salvage Committee."

The War Price and Rationing Board also issued Mileage Rationing Records, and I found out that in September 1944 my grandfather owned a 1936 Plymouth. Gasoline was rationed and there were ration stamps issued with a mileage record sheet.

In 1945, the War Price and Rationing Board also kept records of tires for automobiles with Tire Certificates. My grandfather had two 600 x16 tires and serial numbers had to be listed on the certificate to be purchased. In 1945, there was a Pure Oil Company at 124 E. Market Street, as shown on his certificate.

On the bottom of the front side it states: "You have been entrusted with a share of America's precious rubber supply . . . guard it carefully." On the back, the used tire serial numbers were listed. Printed at the bottom were the rules for use: (Sample) 1. Keep speed down to 35 mph. 2. Check the pressure often. 3. Keep brakes properly adjusted. 4. Rotate tires regularly. 5. Avoid curb scuffing. And finally, 6. Recap every tire when smooth.

I feel like I found a piece of history and heritage in one. How times have changed!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sunday afternoon was a great get-together to meet and greet the First Lady of Ohio, Frances Strickland. To a group of about 50 supporters, she spoke about her goals and the visions of her husband, Governor Ted Strickland. She is a musician and entertained the crowd with a Johnny Cash tune with her enhanced songwriting.

She was presented with a special gift from Don Bolen, and for those who know him, we all know what it was!

State Representative Ray Pryor and his wife Jennifer were there, and he also spoke to the group.

I was kept busy with keeping the sign-in sheet, making nametags and then taking photos of the event. It was a busy 90 minutes of activity.

Mrs. Strickland was stopping by Fayette County on the way to the Highland County Democratic Picnic as the featured speaker. Columbus was in contact with Fayette County and the beautiful home of Sue and Gerald Raypole was selected for the event.

The next event will be held on August 15th at the New Holland Community Center, with State Representative Ray Pryor, and we were notified last Friday that the Governor will be there to meet and greet the crowd. A representative from the Justin Fallon Campaign said that Fallon might also be there.

I look forward to more get-togethers and more photo opportunities like today.