Monday, November 29, 2010

You may remember my writing about a note I added to a card I wrote when Mom was 84.

"You're 84, but why keep score,
For you will always be, young and beautiful to me."

I thought I had heard those words before, but didn't know where or when.

Last evening Mary had an old Elvis Pressley movie on the TV in the 200 dining area. He sang the song you'll hear on the link above. I know I never saw the movie, and I don't think I ever heard Elvis sing the song, so I still don't know where I heard the words. But you'll like the song and the way he sings it, even if you were never much of a fan of his.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Ruby in the Idol's eye

Tim Hollingsworth sent me an email explaining how some of his story-telling skills arose:

"I do believe by the way that I learned any story telling skills I may have from your Dad. No one told a joke better than Uncle Bob. Actually, he appreciated them about as well as anyone too. I can kind of remember Grandpa Murphy telling us stories in bed, but they all seem to begin and end with "the ruby in the idol's eye."

I sent emails to Mike, Scott and Dad and Mike didn't seem to remember these stories from Grandpa Murphy. Here is what Scott wrote:

"I definelty remember Grandpa telling stories about the ruby in the idol. He told a lot of other stories about his travels in Africa. Took a while for me to realize he had never been out of this country."

Then Dad wrote:

"I do remember "the ruby in the idol's eye", but only vaguely. My father was a great story teller. He had a wide ranging imagination, and most certainly had read adventure stories. My sister, Vivian, said she thought, until she grew older, that he was, indeed, a world traveler with many adventures. I don't actually remember much about that particular story, but I think the ruby was regarded as a "trophy" of sorts for adventurers, and he was the one who was able to sneak into wherever the idol was, avoid whoever was on guard and pry the gem loose. I wish as I grew older I had reminded him and asked him to tell me some of those stories again. As kids, sometimes the value of such stuff in our memory banks escapes us."

These stories must be like the ones Dad told us kids about the Three Big Things. I have since spun stories about the Three Big Things to my kids and also to Morgan and Anya. Now I look forward to telling them to Jack and Molly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vetarans Day

I told many of you about the Veterans Day celebration I went to last week. It was to honor all veterans but particurly to honor and welcome home Vietnam Veterans. One gentleman, Bill Beck, received the Silver Star for his actions in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965. That was the first major engagement between US and North Vietnamese forces and was the basis for the movie, "We Were Soldiers" starring Mel Gibson. Also present were several of Bill's fellow soldiers from that battle including one Medal of Honor recipient, Joe Marm. These guys were all in their 20s during that battle. The photos include Bill receiving the Silver Star, Bill and several of his fellow soldiers receiving gold spurs from the 1st Air Cav Division, Joe Marm describing the battle, and a group photo of all of the veterans present.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A beautiful day at Camp Mowana

Pat and I drove out route 42 towards Ashland and turned right onto Fleming Falls Road, then right into the driveway leading to the camp. This camp was the first Boy Scout Camp in the area and it is where Dad went camping. The Boy Scouts then sold the land to the Friendly House and it became Hidden Hollow Camp, and this is when Pat attended, also I believe either Mike and/or Scott attended here too. Eventually the Friendly House built another camp off of Possum Run Road and this area we are about to walk became a Church camp. Megan went camping here after this land became Camp Mowana.

We passed a small building that said office, where during camping days, people would stop and sign in. We were looking for the lodge/dining hall and pool because Pat remembered walking up from the pool to the lodge, which was wide open with a high ceiling and many windows. Soon we found it and what she described is what we experienced. We parked in front of the lodge and peeked into the windows. They had some ping pong tables in the corner and tables and chairs stacked in another corner. We spotted several workers around the site, tending to maintenance.

We walked to the left along a road which went through the woods with many cabins sitting empty for now. Pat remembered her cabin was “Zeta Rho” but now all the cabins had Indian names like, Uncas, Tecumseh, etc. We peeked into one of them and it had six double-deck beds with a single bed for the counselor. These cabins were in pretty good shape, compared to the ones we saw at Hidden Hollow.

We continued out of the woods and followed the road to the “Farm.” Here was a lot of open grassland and a newer barn was sitting next to a fenced area with two goats, who came bleating to the fence. We stopped and talked to them for a minute then followed the road to Mohican Lodge, which sat way back by itself. There were many trails through the property and we followed one along the ridge with a creek below. We noticed many of the trees were huge, including many Beech trees and it reminded me that here in this part of Ohio the climax forest was predominately Beech/Maple. A climax forest is what land reverts to when it is left to Mother Nature.

We followed the ridge trail back to the center of the campsite and followed another trail down some steps, across a wood bridge spanning the stream, and then up steps to another campsite which had an outdoor shelter where Pat remembered watching some skits. We followed a trail through a pine forest which was planted some time ago and it seemed as if we were in a cathedral. Rows and rows of tall giants - beautiful, silent, and serene.

Back out we saw a sign that said “Falls Trail” so we followed it along the high edge of the deep gorge down into the chasm where we heard water falling. Soon we turned a corner and saw the top of the falls in the near distance. I walked out onto the rocks just at the top of Fleming Falls and noticed how the water, over the millennia, carved grooves in the hard bedrock. Then the water cascaded down over the rock outcropping down about 25 feet into a pool of cool water below. We continued on and climbed out of the canyon till we reached one of the many outdoor theatres which had seats with a lectern and a cross.

We pondered when the first settlers happened on this gorge, would they be surprised how deep it was, nestled here within the magnificent forest? We returned the way we came and enjoyed our walk through this exquisite piece of land. Hopefully it will be here for other generations to enjoy, as we have.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The rest of the story – Camp Avery Hand

The News Journal reported that the 110 acres of the Boy Scout Camp was purchased by a private owner who lives on Clearfork Lake, and has no plans to develop it. They may use it for family outings and/or company picnics. The sales price was $380,000 but it was once listed for 1.4 million!

Camp Avery Hand operated in the area for 70 years and closed on July 2, 2008. The original Camp Avery Hand off Fleming Falls Road was purchased in 1927. Charles Ackerman donated the money in the name of his grandson. In 1940 the Boy Scouts purchased 75 acres on Orweiler Road, then transferred the camp there.

The bird sanctuary was leasing some land from the Council. In recent years, an agreement was reached by the Boy Scouts and the Ohio Bird Sanctuary to allow the neighboring nonprofit agency to buy acreage at the camp and its dining hall.

The Ohio Bird Sanctuary now owns about 90 acres of the former camp. They own what used to be the dining hall and they hope to one day renovate it into a visitor’s center. They use it now for wintering birds. In the summer they use it for some of their camps.

Pat and I drove out to the sanctuary today and walked the several miles of trails through the woods and down along the Clearfork. We looked in the windows of the Lodge and a sign said that 80 acres of land was donated to the Scouts in 1940 by the Olson’s, and the lodge was built in 1948 and is named Olson Lodge.

It was a beautiful fall day and we saw many birds along the way including a red shouldered hawk! I remembered walking down one of the paths to the Clearfork and the camp had a canoe landing area there. Terry Lake and I canoed the river and out onto the lake and we received our canoeing merit badge.

We plan to take Jack and Molly there some day and every day they feed the birds inside an aviary with mealworms. I can already see their happy faces as they feed the birdies!