Tuesday, August 14, 2007

School Daze

The first day of our school year is 1 week from today. Our teacher's in-service is on Monday, Aug. 20. It seems to be earlier every year. I wouldn't mind it at all if it wasn't so blasted hot!
My classroom is on the top floor of the building with no air conditioning. It's horrible! I've been working in my room for the past 2 days trying to get organized.

The heat really makes it hard to get excited about starting a new year, which makes me feel bad. I love seeing my students from last year who stop by to give me a hug on the first day of school. I'm so glad that they do because I've missed them, too! I'm always amazed at how much they grow over the summer!

I have to laugh at myself......every fall, I think the last group I had was the best class ever! But, after a few weeks, I start to feel the same way about my new class. Funny how you gradually adjust to each other and get to know one another better. There are 24 students on my class list. I know that I've had 6 of my new student's older brother/sister. That's the greatest compliment in the world!

Oh, well! We'll make do the best we can; like we do every August when school starts. We'll turn the box fans and ceiling fans on high, fill our water bottles to the brim, and somehow survive each day. Before I know it, it will be Christmas and I'll wonder where time has gone! I think that being 10 years old is the best age ever! My goal is for them to remember something other than the heat on their first day of fifth grade. Maybe some cool treat?

Good-bye, summer!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Small Town Fun

The fifth annual Brush Creek All-American Festival went off without a hitch! Everyone seemed to have a great time even though it was 98 degrees in the afternoon.

I didn't get to see most of the outdoor events because of where I was working. I would have liked to have been outside when the medical helicopter arrived. It was the Care Flight from Miami Valley Hosp., Dayton, OH. It's an awesome machine! It is larger than the other 2 that service our area for extreme emergencies. The medical equipment in it is so advanced that it looks like an ER on the inside. There were 3 crew members who were so friendly and very professional. I did get to meet them because they came through the food line.

We live 75+ miles from the trauma centers that the helicopters are stationed at. The other 2 are in Cincinnati and Columbus. I hope to goodness that none of my family or myself ever need for one of them to be called but I'm so thankful that they are available.

An ox and hog were roasted for the festival. Both meats were delicious! I prefer the pork. The few leftovers were auctioned off at the end of the day.

There was a brass band that played marches and patriotic songs. The band was founded in 1900, so it is well known in our area. West Union High School's Steel Drum Band performed, too. There were about 30 kids in this group who played various percussion-style instruments. Steel drum music sounds like what you would hear in the Caribbean, peaceful island-like music with a xylophone-like sound. It is so smooth and easy, I could listen to it all day. I've learned that whenever I am listening to most kinds of music, I need to sit down. I could easily embarress myself.

This festival began back in late 2002 when several members of our community wanted our village to be designated as an "Ohio Bicentennial Community 1803-2003". There was a list of ways small or large communities could do this. In 2003, the festival was called the "Brush Creek Bicenntenial Festival". It was such a success, the name was changed and it has been an event every year since.

I don't know the exact amount of money made this year but I'm sure that the proceeds will benefit our little town. It's a good thing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Puttin' On the Ritz!

On Saturday, our little town is hosting it's 5th annual festival, the Brushcreek All-American Festival. There are several events planned for the day. This year, they have added a 5 K Run/Walk. Wouldn't you know, the route for the this goes right around my house. There are streets on 3 sides of my house, so the participants will be almost circling my house. So........I spent most of Friday evening tidying up a bit in the lawn and flower beds.

Since it is so hot, I thought it would be a great idea to place the lawn sprinkler in the street for them to run through. Mike said no. I make a really mean sweet tea. Maybe a pit stop with sweet tea? Mike said no, again; he has no sense of adventure.

Other events include an antique tractor show and parade, baking contest, lunch featuring pork from a hog roast (guys have been cooking this for 2 days/nights in a pit), a corn hole tournament, a little Miss/Mr. contest, a visit from Miami Valley Hosp.'s Care Flight helicopter, etc. There are other things going on and many things from various vendors to sell.

I love how our little town "steps up" for this event. It's like everyone has their place dressed up in its' Sunday best. My small part will be as cashier for the lunch line. I enjoy it. I will get to see almost everyone who is there. It will be small-town fun.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Record!

The temperatures set a new heat record today. It is 100 degrees outside with a heat index of 108! The last time it was 100 degrees on this date in our area, was in 1941. I've only stepped outside to walk the dog 2-3 times. I'm so grateful to have AC. I feel badly for people who have to work outside in this. Hopefully, my flowers can take the heat!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Family Ties

This past Sunday was the first Sunday in August. If you're even distantly related to my Grandma Reed, you'd better have it carved into your brain right beside your own birth date. The Reunion, as Grandma refers to it, is held on this date at Fort Hill State Park. This has been this way my entire life.

Fort Hill State Park is just 4 miles from my house. I can remember the park being beautifully kept and manicured years ago. The park was packed, sometimes overflowing, with people every Sunday during the summer months. My family always attended, at least, 2 events there each year. One was the annual family reunion and the other was our Sunday School picnic. For either of the these, someone from the group needed to be there very early on the day of to reserve the preferred location. It was "first come, first served" to get the perfect picnic spot in those days.

I've attended several baptizings that took place in the creek near the park. My husband was baptized there. There aren't many moments any sweeter or more spiritual than standing on the banks of a creek with the congregation, singing an old favorite hymn a cappella, as a brother or sister in Christ is being baptized. Health issues (Ugh! Creeks aren't as clean as they used to be!) and modern conveniences have changed all of that, too.

So, it is, for Fort Hill State Park. For at least 10 years now, our family is the only one in the park. We reserve the shelter house just in case. But, there usually isn't any other request for it. The grounds are so terribly neglected. Two of the locations where most of our church and family picnics were held, aren't even there any more. There used to be a row of 4-5 tables in a couple of shaded spots that would accommodate larger groups. Some of the trees have been cut down, the picnic tables gone, and the areas aren't mowed. A Christmas Eve ice storm three years ago caused so much damage to the park. Some of the paths on the hill itself are still closed because of fallen trees.

Yet, despite the 93 degree heat on August 5, 2007, the first Sunday in August, the Reed-Miller Reunion commenced. Slowly but surely, between 12 and 1:00, the family gathered in. It kind of reminds me of the buzzards that return to Hinckley, OH on the same date each year. You wonder if anyone will come, then one by one, slowly but surely, they "flock" to The Reunion.

There were 4 generations there. We have such a good time visiting with each other. Personally, I think we have some of the best cooks in the country. The food, every dish, is always delicious! Several commented on how there weren't any duplicate foods; everyone had fixed something different. I took an Asian salad and a Sloppy Pineapple Cake. The cake is always a big hit. When I went to get some dessert, there wasn't 1 piece left (see recipe below). After the meal, pictures are shared, updates are given to the "family historian", and we always laugh and laugh over something or another.

There are only two of my grandma's generation who were able to attend. My grandma will be 89 next month while Aunt Dottie is nearing 87. Two others have passed away since last year's gathering. An end of an era is getting so very close. Many of the younger ones have voiced a desire to meet somewhere else. Maybe where there are inside toilets (Oh, yeah, I left that out, didn't I?) and air conditioning. I'm sure there are changes coming in the future. But, for right now, if it makes a couple of old women happy to have a "Reunion" where they have had one most of their lives, and as long as my grandma is living, on the first Sunday in August in 2008, I'll be there.

Sloppy Pineapple Cake

2 eggs 2 c. sugar

2 c. flour 2 tsp. soda

1- (14 1/2 oz.) can crushed pineapple (undrained)

Mix together in a large mixing bowl by hand.

Grease or spray a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Make sure cake is done in the middle by checking with

a toothpick or knife.

Cake cut as soon as you remove it from oven.


1 stick butter

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 c. or 5 oz. can of evaporated milk

Boil icing for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour hot icing over warm cake.


This cake has a bread pudding-like moistness to it.

It is great with a cup of coffee!

This cake is so easy to make and is always a favorite at any event I've taken it to.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

That's What Friends Are For

I am blessed to be related to my very best friend in-the-whole-wide-world. Remember the old saying "You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family"? Well, my best friend and I are first cousins. I have no memory of life without her.....thank goodness! We went to the same school together from grades 1 - 12 (there wasn't any Kindergarten available in our little town in 1964). I have thousands of memories I could share but will share them when the time is right.

Joni and I always have a great time together. She can make me laugh like no one else can. I'm not talking about just a giggle; I'm talking about the hyper-ventilating type of laughter. Anyway.......Joni called in the middle of last week to plan a day to spend together this week to celebrate my birthday. She had to work on my actual birthday, so we set our day for Thursday (yesterday).

We rode in her Mustang convertible with the top down in this 95 degree weather. We went to Maysville, KY to shop in the old part of downtown. We ate lunch in a quaint old restaurant that served a tasty luncheon special. There are a couple of very nice furniture stores there so, being that I have so much confidence when we're together, I bought myself a new recliner. She and I must have sat in 20 different chairs. It was so nice to have a reliable, second opinion right there with me!

We, then, drove to Augusta, KY to do a bit of antiquing. There are some very nice shops to browse in. We ate our supper in the old Beehive Tavern, which was founded in 1796. I love those old buildings with their early Americana ( a fancy word for very old) decor! We drove around and found Nick Clooney's home. Nick is a celebrity to Joni and I because he was a newscaster in Cincinnati when we were growing up. The house where Nick, Rosemary, and their other sister grew up is there, too. The Clooney family is Maysville and Augusta's claim to fame.

We crossed the Ohio River on the ferry, Jenny Ann, at about 7:30 p.m. The sun shining on the river was spectacular! Joni thought that it would have gave an extra-special touch to the trip if she had driven her pick-truck instead. Then, we could have brought my new recliner home in it ourselves in the back of it. She wanted to take my picture sitting in the recliner, in the back of the truck, on the ferry, crossing the river. You know, kind of like Granny Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies. We'll just have to keep that in mind when I need a new couch!

Love ya, Jo!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!!

Today is my birthday. I'm 48 years old. The phrase "older than dirt" isn't nearly as humorous as it used to be.

No one gets to choose when their birthday is. As a child, I always hated that my birthday was on August 1. I wanted it to be during the school year so I could tell everyone when it was, take cupcakes for my classmates, and invite some of my friends home with me after school. It seemed to bother me that I didn't know anyone else who had a birthday the same day as mine. I never met anyone with the same birthday as mine until I was 24 years old. Instead of being content to have a special day that I didn't have to share with anyone else, I thought that I was some kind of weirdo.

For 5-6 years of my childhood, my parents planned their vacation for the first week in August. I never appreciated the sightseeing of the Pilgrim's Monument at Cape Cod, the Smoky Mountains in TN, or the tour of "My Old Kentucky Home" in KY. I wanted to be home, have a party with a cake, and have 4-5 friends over for a slumber party.

**Note: Since I haven't been anywhere on vacation for 2 years now, I would love to go to any of the above mentioned places.......today!

August 1 reminds me of how fast the summer has gone by and that it's almost over. For 41 of my 48 years, I've gone "back to school" as a student and/or teacher. I'm so keenly aware of all of the things I had planned to do this summer that I haven't done yet. Now I have regret with pressure. Ugh!

Thankfully, as an adult, I've grown-up enough to form a completely different opinion of my own personal holiday. My age does not bother me at all. I'm more astonished at how old everyone else is. I mean, my goodness, my children are ages 15, 24, and 26. Where in the world has time gone? I've been married to the same man for 27 years. On August 21, I'll be starting my 27th year of teaching school. When you look at just those numbers alone, I have to be my age.

It is very rewarding to have 2 kids graduated from college. We have all sacrificed for years (still are) for that to happen. It's a wonderful blessing for both of our older kids to have found Christian spouses, have places of their own, and have good jobs that they like. Thank you, Lord!

So, I'm celebrating today! I'm fixing dinner for my wonderful daughter and son-in-law, husband, and son this evening. I plan to end the day with a ride on the Harley with my hubby. It's a full moon tonight. Everyone should try, at least one time in their life, to ride on a Harley on a warm summer's night with a bright full moon lighting up the countryside. Hmmmm........August 1 is a great day to have a birthday after all!