Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Autumn Leaves in Ohio
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The election countdown begins and the days are becoming tense. Don't forget the beauty of our great land. It's what we all care about.
Fall colors. Brandywine Falls in northeast Ohio, with beautiful foliage. The last two weeks of October are the happiest time of the year, especially this election season. For the next two weeks everybody believes they can win, Look for huge campaign rallies on crisp October evenings with thousands of happy, cheering people.
Polls in Ohio --- Every poll taker can make their candidate look good. This one from the conservative National Review takes a tie vote and spins it into a forecast of victory for Romney -- nice try! I would sooner consult astrologers.
Bruce Springsteen from the Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer, in Cleveland, is Ohio's largest daily newspaper. This story tells of the Boss barnstorming Ohio for Obama. It's a free show and the crowds will be huge. The Romney campaign does not have that kind of fire power -- but they will trot out Condoleeza Rice. She can give a good speech at least.
Question. If you were a Republican and you liked Bruce Springsteen and you could hear him perform for FREE at an Obama rally, would you go?
Defiance from the Washington Post. Defiance is a small city southeast of Toledo and fairly close to Detroit. General Motors is and always has been the main employer in Defiance. And the factories are back to work -- so you would think that Defiance is going for Obama. Nope. You need to read the story to find out why this factory town might go for Romney. Romney grew up in Michigan, near by, and his Dad ran a car company, American Motors, so he is no stranger to this industry.
Xenia, Ohio In April of 1974, 34 people were killed by a tornado in Xenia, Ohio. Xenia, a small city near Dayton, and they surely have not forgotten this tragedy. More than 300 people were killed in neighboring states by a multitude of violent storms that same day.
I was in Charlottesville, Virginia, in Sept. of 1974, hitchhiking. We were picked up -- me and Gabriel and Selma, all three of us -- by some hippies in a school bus, going to Yellow Springs, Ohio, the home of Antioch College, and very near to Xenia. We did drive through Xenia at that time and saw the wreckage -- this was six months after the storm.
We stayed in Yellow Springs for a few days, then got on a freight train for Missouri, and then hitched a ride to Oklahoma and on to southern California --- but I had forgotten all about this -- it seems that I have been to Ohio more times than I can remember.
The Price of Gas in Ohio. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Ohio was $3.37 in last week's survey from the AAA.
Gas in California is almost a dollar higher than Ohio.
Toledo. Why is Toledo called Toledo? After the city in Spain? A cursory search on the Internet yields no answer. So I reach back in the memory bank -- yes, Rick Hayward, a college classmate of mine, he was from Toledo, and I have his email address -- so I just sent him a quick note. But will he reply? Rick and I attended St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto. Rick married his college sweetheart and continued to work and live in Toronto -- I haven't heard from him lately, but he has been a good friend..... And he knows all about Toledo.
Toledo native Rick Hayward responded quickly. Yes, Toledo, Ohio is named after Toledo, Spain, but he does not know why.
Contemplating Cleveland. The Greyhound Bus Station in Cleveland was built in 1948 -- it's a classic. The bus station is downtown and right near Lake Erie. In 1996 I was living in Boston. That summer I bought a round-trip bus ticket to Seattle -- because I wanted to see the country. It took three days and three nights -- I loved the landscape, this big and beautiful country -- so I enjoyed the view mile after mile.
But the people on the bus -- eeeeehw! It was a homeless shelter on wheels. I will never take the bus again.
I brought a paperback edition of The Brothers Karamazov to read on my cross-country trip. It was a wonderful book -- 700 pages of sustained intensity like only the Russians can do. And fittingly, it was right to read it on a continental journey because Russian novels are vast indeed.
Anyway, we stopped in Cleveland for about an hour. I ate lunch in the terminal and walked a few blocks around the city. Cleveland is not so easy to describe. It is not pretty like Cincinnati. It is not awesome like Chicago. Cleveland is like a lot of places you've seen, only more so.
The New World. The best thing about Cleveland -- this wonderful music. The New World Symphony, composed by Anton Dvorak, and performed by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by George Szell in 1960.
So, listen that sublime music, and be grateful that we all have a vote in this new world.
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