"" Writer's Wanderings: November 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Christmas Story House

Thanksgiving weekend is always the beginning of the Christmas traditions in our house although there have been a few changes along the way as our family has grown and we have gotten older (ouch! did I say older?). Most weekends, we drag out the old favorite movies--A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation.

This year we added to the festivities by driving past the newly restored Christmas Story house in Cleveland. This is the house where the outdoor shots were made for the movie. The owner has renovated it on the inside so that it resembles the movie set rooms where the infamous Bumpuss dogs ran through the kitchen destroying the turkey dinner and Ralphie paraded down the stairway in the lovely pink bunny sleeper.

Sure enough, there in the front window sat the leg lamp in all its illuminated glory reflecting those childhood memories of Christmases past we share with Ralphie. I remember my mother telling my brother, "No, you'll shoot your eye out."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Scarlet and Gray

Yes, we were among the thousands who went to Columbus even though we had no tickets to the Ohio State/Michigan game. I have never seen so many people gathered for a Buckeye game in my life!

Everyone wondered how the death of Bo Shembechler would affect the way Michigan played. I don't believe it was a factor. He was remembered fondly before the game at both the band's skull session and during the pre-game show. One can only imagine the two legends, Woody and Bo, together once again, wearing their respective colors while they cheered on their teams.

So, it is on to Arizona for the Buckeyes. The only question remaining is the name of the opposing team. And, of course, the Heisman.

Go Bucks!

Friday, November 17, 2006


A true Buckeye fan/booster/alum knows what those initials stand for: The Best Damn Band In The Land. Every football Saturday played in Columbus starts with the "skull" session in St. John's Arena on the OSU campus. Actually, rather than a last practice for the band, it turns out to be more of a last minute pep rally for all.

The seats fill up fast (it's a free event) with the band parents and alum band members taking front and center. The excitement builds as the familiar "O-H" is answered with "I-O." Then the tingling begins in your spine as you feel the reverberations of the percussion section as the band assembles for their entrance onto the old basketball floor. Your pulse begins to match the tempo of the drums as they strain to be let free to the cheers and applause of all the scarlet and gray clad fans.

Tradition. There is much to be said for tradition. During his tenure at OSU, Jim Tressel has established a few of his own. First, it is mandatory for the team to attend the skull session and for one of them to speak to the crowd. At first I think some of them resented the intrusion on their pregame meditations, but now you see them getting as excited as their fans.

Then, after the game is over--win or lose, the team gathers at one end of the field in front of TBDBITL and sings the alma mater. Lately I've also noticed a few moments of prayer/meditation as well. That explains a bit about the problem Tressel had when he first got there and learned how to address the band. Unlike Woody, he had difficulty with the word damn. Listen closely when he says it. Does it sound more like darn band than damn band?

Go Bucks!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Woody Hayes Lives On. . .

As we watched the Texas game on TV earlier this fall, I suddenly sat up straight and yelled, "Honey! It's Woody!" There beaming out at us from our television screen was the indomitable Woody Hayes--or so I thought for a fleeting second.

Woody Hayes went on to football heaven back in 1987 where I'm sure he's coaching a team again beneath a grove of buckeye trees. He was a complex man, dedicated to his football team and, believe it or not, education. I remember his passion as he spoke to encourage our future teachers group to strive for better education--to be a part of the solution--and yes, I'm sure he said something about winning the game.

Mr. Roger Thomas, a soybean and corn broker from Tipp City, has found himself in the uncanny position of being a look-alike Woody Hayes. And he's having all kinds of fun with it! Thanks to a Cleveland Plain Dealer story, the mystery behind the look-alike has been solved. I thought maybe some well-meaning booster had hired him to evoke the spirit of Woody football but it turns out Mr. Thomas is doing it all himself. A big "Thank You!" to him for resurrecting some wonderful memories to spur us on to victory.

Three yards and a cloud of dust! Here we come! Go Bucks!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

That School Up North

This is the big week! The big game! The one all Buckeyes look forward to for the whole season no matter what the standings.

We went to school in the days of Woody Hayes. He never called it M-m-m. . . (gosh, just can't say it). He always refered to that other university as "that school up north."

I watched last week as Indiana played "TSUN". It was in Indiana's stadium. Our game with Northwestern was played in their stadium. Both were televised at 3:30 and we switched between the channels to watch the scores almost copy each other. What amazed me though was that the Northwestern stadium had a tremendous amount of scarlet mixed in with their purple. While Indiana's crowd had little blue and maize that we could see. As a matter of fact, at one point the shot of the crowd showed a lot of empty seats. Hmmm. Could the Buckeyes be better fans?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sentimental Effusions of the Heart

How many times have you heard a man end the conversation on a phone with the words, "Me too"? You know what's happened. The woman on the other end has just said, "I love you," and he's not willing to say those words and be overheard.

While reading Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts, I had to chuckle at Abigail Adams. She was having the same problem with John albeit by correspondence not by cell phone. They were separated while John was off to Congress in Philadelphia. She missed him terribly and longed for him to write those words all wives want to hear from their men. Things were not simply written back then but her point was clear when she wrote, "I want some sentimental effusions of the heart. I am sure you are not destitute of them or are they all abosorbed in the great public."

I don't know if John answered properly but the story goes on that shortly thereafter, his correspondence to his wife was embarrassingly intercepted by the British. Not only was he more careful not to expose patriots in his correspondence, but I'm sure his "effusions of the heart" were veiled as well.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Founding Mothers

For our book discussion group this month, we are reading Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts (Harper Collins). It's a little slow reading because of all the quoting Roberts does from the correspondence of the women who "mothered" our founding fathers--sometimes even though they were the wives.

At the very start, my attention was captured by the story of Eliza Lucas Pinckney. At age 16, she was left in charge of all of her father's plantations, an ailing mother and toddler sister while her father went of to Antigua to fight in the war and her brothers were off in England being educated. This amazing young woman managed multiple plantations, researched her best business opportunities for exports, and studied and researched how to grow indigo to become an important importer of indigo to Europe. (Indigo was used to make blue dye--especially for military uniforms). Eventually, after much trial and error--and ridicule, she succeeded in growing the indigo and extracting a dye from it. She passed along the seeds to some of the farmers around her in an effort to make South Carolina a source of important exports to England.

Needless to say, Eliza didn't have much time for the frivolities of life although her uncle did try to encourage her to lighten up. At age 22, she finally married Charles Pinckney, who was 45.

I understand that it was a different era, but for a woman--a teen-aged woman--to have been that successful and determined is truly remarkable for any period in history. I can't help but wonder if she didn't learn more than those brothers who were sent off to England for their education.

I read on. . .
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