Wednesday, January 21, 2015


"He was a small man," Elizabeth Kenton said,
"but not so small that he could pass through a slit in the wall - if he could get up there."
"Not that small, I think."
He was different today, making ready for something.

 I thought about those words when I looked at a picture I had taken several days ago. They were written in Walter Havighurst's book The Heartland about a prisoner who slipped his way our of a jail in the dead of night. [Chapter 7: Simon Kenton's Prisoner].

 Odd that I'd read those words and think back to this small slit and connect the two.

 My slit is between two trunks of a single tree. There is enough room between them to let air pass and just enough vision slip through to see snow beyond. It's sort of like a prison at this near angle.

 I think the trick is to always back up, take a wider view. Even in a prison cell, there are no shackles on imagination. The body might be held tight while the mind escapes. And maybe, in those rare circumstances, like the prisoner above, the body will slyly follow.

 We are often prisoners of of our ideas, constrained by what we think we know. Start anew, believe nothing, build again from the ashes of your prejudice. Your foundation will be stronger for it and in the end you'll find the freedom of escape.

Forty Years Later

 April Saylor came in from her run with a thought running through her head. She was thinking about some savings bonds that she and her husband, Jeremy, had safely tucked away. Who's name was that on one of them?

 "I was thinking about how I know who the name on that bond belongs, too," she said.

 "I have not looked at J's bonds in years," she admitted, "but it was fun to dig through the safe when I got home from my run."

 She met me recently - for the first time - in November when I attended the 65th wedding anniversary celebration of Jeremy's grandparents. I wrote about that here.

 So April wrote to me, copied the savings bond and the envelope with my name on it (it was when I could still write in script). I didn't remember it at first ... and then I did.

 Jeremy was born on April 15, 1974 and the bond was dated a year later: a present for his first birthday.

 I remember those early years well. In fact I drove down to West Chester to meet the new family. The Saylor's have always had a special place in my heart. That continues to today.

Jim Saylor and his new son, Jeremy

Jeremy and Jim

Jeremy and his mother, Pam

Jim, Pam and Jeremy

Me and Jeremy

I've looked for these pictures a number of times in the past and was never able to find them. Yesterday I made a more concerted effort and managed to turn them up. They're old black and white prints and, all but one, too dark. But they're good memories just the same.

And the savings bond which started all this? Turns out it matured in 2005 and hasn't been paying any interest for the past decade. It's value: $136.12.

Finding it was serendipity anyway. "He has held them in a safe all these years and we had no plans to cash them," April said. "It was purely me 'seeing' your name in my head and having to satisfy seeing if it was on the bond envelope."

"I came home from my run, pulled it out and that's when it started."

Jeremy and April Saylor

 I suppose savings bonds can be thought of as the gift that never stops giving. Well, for thirty years, anyway.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pomodori's Tratorria

 Fresh from the movie theater (we watched Foxcatcher) and hungry, Tom and I checked a few places out before settling on pizza. Tom suggested Pomodori's, a wood-fired pizza that he thought I'd like.

 The pizzas are made behind this Plexiglas shield. I should have stood up and watched.

 Tom's waiting patiently. Considering he had buttered popcorn (a "medium" which amounted to about half a bushel in a paper bag) and a soda at the theater, I don't even know why he was hungry. But I was. It's was nearly 2 pm and I hadn't had anything since breakfast at 6:30 a.m.

 Do I look hungry? Do I look a little weak?

 Here comes the salad, one called "Baby Greens". Tom ordered it with a honey mustard dressing. He ate about half - maybe less - and I wolfed the rest down. To be fair, I paid for my half, too.

 This is Pomodori's Bianco [White] Pizza: "sauteed artichoke hearts, red onions and fresh mushrooms on a garlic and olive oil crust". We both thought it was delicious though Tom said he missed the traditional tomato sauce. For me, the artichokes made the pizza.

 We decided to split the bill so the waitress wrote two figures at the bottom.

 What about Foxcatcher? It's a dark movie but Steve Carell, who played John Du Pont, in particular, made the movie special. I didn't know it was him during the movie, he was so well made up with a larger-than-life nose. Channing Tatum, too, played the part of a wrestler to perfection. Mark Ruffalo, as his brother, was perfect. Highly recommended by Buhler & Schmidt.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Last week (January 7) this gorgeous Red-bellied woodpecker visited our suet feeder. We had three species of woodpeckers visit within a day's time. Since then, we've had none. Surely this interest in our feeder was caused by the imminent winter weather.

 A Red-bellied woodpecker seems oddly named since, on quick examination, it is the remarkable red head that commands our first attention. In fact, says the Audubon Society, "A red patch on the lower abdomen is seldom visible in the field." The head, of course, is truly striking ... from anywhere, from any angle at all.

 This bird - Centurus carolinus - is the one I often hear when I am outside. Audubon describes the call as chuck-chuck-chuck but it reminds me of an almost rapid barking sound, quick, unhappy barks. 

 Here the red belly patch is visible. Besides the red head, most notable about this bird is the black and white striped back. That's why the bird is also called a Zebraback.

Who you lookin' at? 

 I am always pleased when the birds hang around long enough to be photographed. Our suet feeder hangs in a maple tree just outside the kitchen window. If I back up a few steps, move into the shadows, I may use my 20x telephoto to bring the birds up close.
 Until recently, this bird was much more common in the southern states. We are lucky to be enjoying a northward trend.

Later: On January 17, he came back, sat in the maple outside the kitchen window and seemed to watch me doing the dishes. Beautiful bird!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day's End Glows

 On Saturday, as the sun set behind the house, I was sitting on the sofa admiring the view out the front window. The sun deepened its orange tones ... and when it lay on the western horizon, it gave everything on the ground a rosy shadow.

 Most notable was the Catalpa tree just in front of me. It's trunk rose straight up above the drifted snow. The dark ribbon of road served as backdrop as the wind-sculpted snow seemed to rise from the ground.

 Where the sun touched the snow, it took on an almost warm glow; where the snow lay in shadow, the blue sky reflected its colder tint. We are nature's audience and a constant nature stands forever at her easel, trying this color and that, forming texture and wiping it away, discarding an exquisite work in progress, beginning anew. There is neither satisfaction in a work well done or disappointment in one failed.
 I note the lesson here.

 If I lift my camera slightly, pan left, I see alongside Clayton Road snowballs created by the speeding plow, thrown there in a wild flurry as it passed. They are the wrong color (though the pink hue helps) but they remind me of a boulder-strewn Martian landscape, untouched by humanity beyond our machines. Here I have the advantage of walking through the debris, kicking it aside as I complete such a mundane task as gathering the day's mail. To live on planet Earth! Is there anything more wondrous than this?

 I lift my camera yet again and I'm peering across the field in front of Pinehaven. Where corn waved luxuriously in August, where deep greens stood seven feet high, now short orange stubble pokes through drifting snow. Long blue shadows, like an elderly Earth's veins, point both directly away from the sun and betray it's position.
 The sky now takes on another Martian glow, a pinkish tinge so common in those robotic images. If I am lucky to live on this life-giving Earth, I am equally blessed to share this small spot in a starkly-quiet galaxy.
 Are we the Milky Way's only observers? Is the Universe barren but for here? Then this sunset becomes even more luxurious and special. Of all the gleaming suns - billions upon countless silent billions - is this tickle of pink upon new fallen snow unshared?
 How can I be anything but humbled?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wandering Wheels Florida Tour

 Bob and Larry are off again to Florida. They're taking part in the Wandering Wheels Florida Tour #1. The bike trip officially begins Sunday (01/11) so they left the Dayton area on Friday about noon. They went as far as Columbia, South Carolina where they spent the night.

 Here's the route they took (courtesy Life360). Though I-75 might have been shorter, Bob wanted to avoid Atlanta at all cost.

 The trip southward will begin in Cocoa Beach and on the fifth day of biking they'll be in Juno Beach. They'll then return to the starting point via a slightly different route.
 I'll post this blog daily along with pictures as provided by Bob. So check back ...

Saturday, January 10:

 Bob spent the day driving from Columbia, SC to Cocoa Beach, FL.

 The starting point for the tour was the Comfort Inn at 3901 North Atlantic Avenue (A1A). Bob checked in and he and Larry ate at Outback Steakhouse, partway back across the causeway to the west.

Sunday, January 11:

Morning broke with light rain and fog. On the bright side, it was 65°.

The bike trip is about to begin 

All that's left to do now is pedal
Larry (l) and Bob (r)

 Bob says, "Along the route earlier. Raining. Ugh. 24 miles for the day. Biked to Port Canaveral and back."

Exploration Tower 

 What's an Exploration Tower? Click here to read more.

Where the group stopped and ate today

 Bob said his lunch consisted of a "hurricane burger and chips". Everything you'd want to know about Grills can be found here.

"Dolphin and jellyfish art made from trash collected on the beach," Bob said.

GPS Tracking of  route: 01/11/15

Monday, January 12:

8:56 am - Time to ride!

 Today's ride allowed for a visit to Sam and Bonnie Owens. Sam's a lifelong friend and fellow Miamisburg High School graduate. Bonnie's brother, Lyle Gordan, and his wife, Shirley, own the condo. Here's a shot taken when Bob visited this morning.
 They were there last evening, too, for a delicious dinner that Bonnie and Shirley fixed. "Chicken Picatta with peas and bread; strawberry ice cream for dessert," Bob said.

Bob (l) and Sam Owens

 "There's a sizable bridge ahead," Bob said. Pedal on!

 Along the way ... Sebastian Inlet State Park (above and below).


Bob checked in at 4:10 pm and said they were staying at the Sebastian United Methodist Church tonight. He sent some pictures of where they'll sleep.

Bob's sleeping bag (l) and Larry's - Ready for the night

GPS Tracking of route: 01/12/15

 Today bike ride totaled 53.25 miles. "The last 15 miles were in rain," Bob said.

Tuesday, January 13:

 Bob's apparently up and at it and sending some exterior shots of the church where they spent the night. It's very hospitable that a church offers space for bike riders to get some rest out of the weather. It was 68° when these shots were taken. There's just a 30% chance of showers for today's ride with a high of 77° expected.

 Then Bob sent three pictures of a domesticated turtle. It's Janech's pet (she and her husband, Bob (Coach), are owner/operator's of Wandering Wheels)

 Bob got in from today's ride just after 3 pm. A 33.5 mile day, he said. I saw the GPS linger on an "Jim Island" west of Ft. Pierce and Bob later explained it to me in an email: "We stopped and spent a couple of hours at Little Jim Bait & Tackle. Food and live music," Bob said.

"A bridge we crossed without much of a bike lane," Bob said.

"Mid-morning snack in Vero Beach."

Click here to go to Cravings webpage.

 "I had a bacon, egg and cheese croissant and a bite of Larry's Danish," Bob said. "This wasn't too long after our breakfast  before leaving the church ... oatmeal and coffee cake."

Little Jim Bait & Tackle ... "Lunch and live music," Bob said.

 Tonight's accommodations are at the Northside Worship Center in Ft. Pierce.

 Bob said, "Check this out. Trek bike with big tires. Good for sand and snow."

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/13/15

Wednesday, January 14:

 Today's trek will be from Sebastian to Ft. Pierce ...

 "On the road (Route 707) between Ft. Pierce and Stuart," Bob said.

Mary's Gourmet Kitchen

 Breakfast time! For information on this restaurant, click here.

 Bob loved the sign: "Never trust a skinny cook."

 Bob describes this as "my eggshells breakfast".

 ... a sample of Mary's menu. The "eggshells' Bob had are described on this section of the menu.

 Bob called this stop "our second feeding of the day".

 Bridge near Jensen Beach (Route 732). Information on this Intracoastal Waterway Bridge may be found here.

 Today's destination ... a Clarion Inn. Said Bob, "Ahhhh, a real bed and shower tonight."

 Information on this Clarion Inn can be found here.

Ed (l) and Larry 

 Bob reached his destination about 1 pm. "In for the day," he said. "A short but good day. 27.25 miles. Good tailwind. Moved along at 18 - 20 mph."

 But Bob's day wasn't quite done yet ...

"We went to Shrimper's Grill & Raw Bar for dinner. Fried crunchy grouper dinner with fries and clam chowder soup as well as some of Larry's wings and of course several desserts on the table that we all shared," Bob said.

"I'm definitely not losing any weight on this trip."

 Information on Shrimper's can be found here.

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/14/15

Thursday, January 15:

Today: 32 miles to Juno Beach ...

 Lunch stop at Scooters near Hobe Sound.

 For information on Scooters, click here.

"Road on the way to Jupiter Island," Bob said.

"Banyan trees over the roadway."

 "On Route 707. Beautiful homes and manicured trees and shrubs."



Lighthouse near Jupiter Outlet

 "Our destination for the night in Juno Beach," Bob said. "Good ride. Great weather."

For information on the Oceanview United Methodist Church in Juno Beach, click here

 "This corral-like structure is outside the church," Bob said. "Janech's turtle, Tonka, has a great area to roam. He's in this picture, far left of center."

"Thinking of you guys back home. Who's to say you can't make a snowman in Juno Beach?"

Walkway to the beach

"We're at our halfway point," Bob said. "We'll turn back north tomorrow. Back to Cocoa Beach sometime before noon on Monday."

"Larry's down for the count," Bob laughed. "Maybe I should check his pulse."

"Dinner tonight. Philly cheesesteak and fries along with a complimentary bowl of clam chowder since they forgot to turn in my order. And a vanilla ice cream sundae with the fixings," Bob said. "The service was not that great but the food was good."
 For information on the Thirsty Turtle Sea Grille & Market click here.

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/15/15

Friday, January 16:

"It was raining pretty good this morning before we left Juno Beach in a cool breeze," said Bob. "The rain subsided before we rode out but we had a head-wind all day. A little over 30 miles for the day. The group is headed for an afternoon movie but Larry and I are staying behind to relax."

 Here, then, is the day just completed:

"Picture from a draw bridge. I believe it was Jupiter Inlet."

Hobe Sound Beach




"Although it was pretty much the same route as yesterday, today we returned to Stuart through this State Park." Information on this park is available here.



 "Lunch stop back in Stuart." Information on this eatery can be found here.

"Larry's partially-eaten lunch ... at least six slices of pork, green beans, red potatoes and two slices of bread. Mine was already devoured."

 "This was our planned destination tonight. Instead we ended up getting an actual youth group house to stay in." Information on this church can be found here.

 Two shots of the church, both day and night.

"The house we're staying at."

 Supper? "We walked and walked," Bob said, "to only find a Wendy's. Chili and a small Frosty."

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/16/15

Saturday, January 17:

"As we were preparing to leave from Stuart this morning," Bob said.

Bob, Pat & Annie on the road (A1A)

Bob's shadow on the road

 Archie's Seabreeze - Ft. Pierce - where Bob had lunch. For additional information, click here

"Our outside patio seating."

 There was more than a little excitement while Bob and Larry sat on the patio. Read channel 5's  (WPTV) story here. Initially Bob thought a cyclist was killed but that turned out not to be the case.

Next three photos are the ocean at Ft. Pierce ...

"Annie, our youngest rider at 17, is checking out the ocean. It looks rather cold!" Bob said.

Tonight's stop is the Vero Beach Howard Johnson's. Click here for information.

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/17/15

Sunday, January 18:

 The ride northward continues ...

 "Pictures from Merrill Barber Bridge - Vero Beach"

"Annie coming off the bridge. Larry's on the left."

"Previous pictures were when we were leaving Vero Beach on Sunday morning and heading to Melbourne. A 41 mile day.

"Bob (not me) and Pat coming off the same bridge, the Merrill Barber Bridge."

"Lunch along the road on Sunday. Had a fish nugget basket with baked beans. Yummy, great food and great service!" Bob said. Information on this restaurant can be found here.

"Inside the restaurant."

"Janech pulling up to join us for lunch."

"Melbourne causeway ahead - Route 192."

"Off side of roadway approaching causeway."

"Views from the top of the causeway."

"Sailboats. View from top of the causeway looking to the south."

"Our destination and lodging for Sunday night - First United Methodist Church, Melbourne."
Information on this church may be found here.

"The crew inside the church watching the playoff games. Ed's enjoying nachos and cheese dip from an empty plastic cookie container."

Back row (l-r): Larry and Ed
Front row (l-r): Jim, Bob, Bob (Coach), Janech, Pat, Tom, Annie

"Another picture from the opposite side. We moved a portable pew in for front row seating and a couple of chairs for the back row. Watching AFC and NFL playoff games."

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/18/15

Only 20 miles or so return for the return to Cocoa Beach. Then Bob will drive halfway home and complete his journey on Tuesday.

Monday, January 19:

"Leaving out from church in Melbourne and getting ready for the short ride (22.5 miles) returning to Cocoa Beach."

"308.25 miles total. GREAT TRIP. GREAT GROUP. A small group of just ten," Bob said. "Eight of those (excluding Larry and I) are returning for a second Florida bike ride in a week."

GPS Tracking of Route: 01/19/15

 GPS tracking shows Bob left Melbourne at about 9 a.m. and arrived back in Cocoa Beach about 11:15 am. So the bike ride ends with the final 20-some miles.

 The rest of Monday (01/19) and much of Tuesday (01/20) were spent in driving home.