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A 3-Donation Memorial Day!

June 4, 2013

Ohio – Monday, May 27

I was up and out early so I could get to Ironton, and find my way around to park and get a spot to watch the parade. With thousands of people coming in to watch, I thought I’d have a hard time, but I found a place to park just a couple blocks away from where I’d be sitting, and I got my chair set up to “save” my spot, and then I had time to get Tula out for a 2-mile walk through Ironton. It was fun walking all around town, and walking past all the different staging areas for the parade. Last night I had read that the Harvest for the Hungry Food Pantry would be open before and after the parade, to pass out water and snacks if people wanted them, and to provide some information about the food pantry. I wanted to make a donation there, so I found the food pantry, and met Diane, the director. She told me the food pantry has been helping people for over 20 years, and they were just able to move into their new location last fall, so they’re enjoying their new space. They help about 500 families a month, and they can shop at a food bank and stretch my dollars farther than I can!

Then Tula and I settled into our spot to watch the parade – I even brought her dog bed out for her to lay on. With a 21-gun salute and a rendition of Taps, the parade began. And it was a full 2-hour parade with countless military and veterans organizations, firetrucks, bands, flags, church groups, scouts, karate, dance and gymnastic groups, community groups, old cars, and horses. Toward the end there was even a hillbilly section with old, old cars decorated with road kill and moonshine barrels, and the people dressed in overalls and straw hats. Kids got lots of candy, and I don’t think anyone could chew all the Double Bubble gum that was passed out! It was a fun parade to see.

I paid attention to the group leading the parade and that was the local VFW Post 8850. I had already decided my military-related donation for the week was going to go to the group who organized the parade. So I found their post, and went in and rang the buzzer for non-members, and someone came out to take the donation and give me a receipt. It sounded like a lively group inside the building – all happy with the success of a good parade and good (although cool) weather despite an early threat of rain!

Then it was time to start heading west again. But I only got about 1/2 hour or so up the road when it occurred to me I hadn’t yet bought Ohio postcards, which I send to various family members every week. I was in the town of Portsmouth, and stopped at a CVS to see if by any chance they had any. They didn’t, but the guy referred me to the visitor center and said they had a lot. I didn’t know if they’d be open on a holiday, but it was worth a try, and then I saw something I had forgotten about. I had been in Portsmouth before, maybe about 12 years ago, for a dance performance weekend with a bunch of kids from the studio. Taryn was young, and wasn’t performing, but she and the other younger dancers were also able to participate in a master class and watch the performance that some of our older studio kids were performing in. One of the things we all saw when we were down there were the flood wall murals, and when I saw those again, I knew Tula and I would have to get out and walk and admire them again. Portsmouth is right on the Ohio River, and there are 20′ high concrete flood walls along the riverbank, and an artist created a timeline of murals depicting the history of the town from prehistoric times to the present. They take up about 1/3 of a mile, and they’re all 20 feet tall, so it’s a very large, impressive work of art. I had to walk by twice to look at it all. But I hadn’t forgotten my quest for postcards, and I actually passed a little museum that was open and I asked the lady if they had any postcards, and she said the museum didn’t, but the shop next door did, so she simply went over and unlocked that shop and I was able to buy my postcards! And then I got to talking with her a bit more, and realized it was a small military museum that was open for the special weekend. I put Tula back in the van so I could go in and have a look at the museum, and it was a wonderful display of military memorabilia from WW1 on. Their son and grandson are both military people and avid collectors, and they have so much stuff they change the museum displays every year. There was a donation box since there was no entry fee, and although I had already sort of earmarked money for a donation earlier in the week, I hadn’t actually sent it yet, and I thought a donation that preserves military memories was a fitting Memorial Day donation! They were interested in my journey and pleased to be a part of it, and then the lady told me she and her husband graduated in 1956, and also got married in 1956, and that made the donation all the better! So all of this came from a simple stop at CVS for postcards – otherwise I would have driven right through Portsmouth! It’s so fun when things work out like that.

Then I needed to put on some miles. I thoroughly enjoyed following the road westward along the river – it was a beautiful drive. Most of the towns I passed through were small, and had no sidewalks, and then I came to Manchester and saw a lot of sidewalks, so I was able to finish my walking, on the sidewalks, and a few laps around the track at the local high school where the sidewalk ended.

And so Ohio – State #34 – was complete! I had walked all 56 miles and made all 7 donations – the Hunger Walk, the Lancaster Food Pantry, the Bloom-Carroll Schools, Ducks Unlimited, Harvest for the Hungry Food Pantry, VFW Post 8850 and the Boneyfiddle Military Museum.

I left Ohio and stayed in Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati, ready to drive into Indiana in the morning!

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