The Ritter Public Library

Ohio is blessed with many great libraries.  Most of the small towns in the Buckeye state can boast of a library that has plenty of books, internet terminals, free wi-fi, and helpful, enthusiastic librarians who don’t even shush you.

Many libraries in small-town Ohio are Carnegie libraries, built through the generosity of one of history’s greatest philanthropists.  Others are gems established by people who wanted to honor their parents, friends, or communities.  The Ritter Public Library in Vermilion, Ohio, built through the generosity of  George Ritter, falls into that category.

The Ritter Public Library is housed in a beautiful structure with pink marble pillars and a classical facade.  Inside you will find a spacious, brightly lit place where readers can find new material, browse the internet, or enjoy a quiet moment with a favorite book.  How wonderful to have such a source, and resource, in your community!

In our modern world, philanthropists seem to have moved away from endowing physical structures in favor of creating funds that contribute money to medical research or work to promote justice or environmental interests.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but a place like the Ritter Library shows how bricks-and-mortar charitable gifts can make huge and ongoing contributions to communities.

Thankful For The Destruction Of the John Edwards Sex Tape

I wasn’t aware that there was a John Edwards sex tape, or that there was a lawsuit about it.  I’m just profoundly grateful that the lawsuit ended with a settlement that means the sex tape will be destroyed.

I don’t know why people make sex tapes — it seems narcissistic, sleazy, and extremely weird, all at the same time. Given that, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that John Edwards was involved in making one.  He seems to have all of the embarrassing qualities that you would normally find in a sex tape participant and producer.

Do the people who make sex tapes actually watch them?  That seems even more bizarre to me — but in any case I’m glad not one moment of national dialogue will be devoted to people talking about watching the John Edwards sex tape.  We don’t need it.

In fact, we would all be better off if John Edwards’ name were never mentioned again — except as part of a cautionary tale about how the mighty have fallen and are brought low by their wretched excesses.

Sleeping To The Sounds Of The Lonesome Train Whistle

Kish grew up in Vermilion, Ohio, in a house located between two train tracks.  Because there are two tracks nearby, and because a lot of commerce in America moves by freight train, the lonely sound of train whistles and the rumble of passing freight cars are a part of every visit we make.

There is something comforting about the sounds of trains.  The train is far away when you first hear that whistle echoing across the countryside; the train politely gives you plenty of notice that it is on its way.  As the train approaches, the sound of the whistle changes and expands.  Soon you hear the throaty growl of the train passing by — and then the whistle gently recedes into the distance.

We don’t hear many train whistles in New Albany; I’m not even sure where the nearest railroad crossing is.  Curiously, however, the sounds of the trains don’t bother me when we are here or interfere with my sleep.  If anything, I sleep more soundly — and I think the trains, as well as the fresh air and the deep darkness, away from the light pollution of urban areas, may have a lot to do with it.