On our one-day visit to Vermilion for the VHS Class of ’75 reunion, we spent the night in rooms in Linwood Park. It’s the first time I’ve been to Linwood Park, or even heard of it, and I’ve been going to Vermilion for about 40 years.
Linwood Park describes itself as a “family park,” but it really reminds you of an old-fashioned American summer colony. Located right on the shores of Lake Erie, it is a quiet enclave of white wooden cottages with lots of kids playing outside on the wide, shaded lawns, a nice beach, a small store, a candy store/grill/ice cream shop, and a tabernacle. We stayed in rooms above the ice cream shop and treated ourselves to the beach before and after the reunion.
Visiting Linwood Park is like taking a throwback journey to an earlier, more relaxed, pre-cell phone and social media America, when riding bikes and playing on a playground and treating yourself to some penny candy was all a kid wanted on a fine summer’s day. It’s hard to believe it’s still here — but it is, just like it’s been for more than 100 years. It’s worth a visit.
Last night we attended Kish’s 42nd high school reunion. That’s the one where everybody sheepishly owns up to having turned 60 but likes to think that their inner age, and ability to have some fun, is a lot closer to what it was in their senior year.
The evening started at the Vermilion Boat Club, which featured a pretty good band called School Girl Crush that delivered credible covers of AC/DC and Kansas songs as boats sailed past behind them. The festivities then progressed to the local VFW and American Legion halls. Along the way there were lots of squeals and hugs, women introducing themselves by their maiden names, oft-told stories about class tragedies and scandals, dancing, Fireball shots, and a conga line that wended its way past the bemused vets at the VFW.
In the VHS Sailors Class of ’75, the class spirit lives on, long and strong.
We’re up in the Vermilion area for Kish’s high school reunion. When’re staying in Linwood, a long-standing community that has a great beach by Lake Erie standards. Some thoughtful soul has already assembled a pile of driftwood for the bonfire later tonight.
Even though the decision to open the mine came before the last presidential election, President Trump has touted the opening of the mine as reflective of the new approach taken to coal in his administration. Corsa’s chief executive said that Trump’s election has made the whole coal industry more optimistic. He said “The war on coal is over,” and added that “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy — it’s very good for coal.” Corsa believes that if it can keep its costs low, it can compete with any company in the world in coal production.
It’s odd that, even though we have moved well into the 21st century, the American economy is still looking at things like coal mining — work that has been going on for centuries — as a element of future job production. I just hope that the coal industry has learned from the past as it moves forward into the future.
It’s not clear whether the decision is a firing, or a retirement, or more likely a little bit of both. Coach Matta has had some significant health issues, and those health issues may have affected his coaching. After having an enormous amount of success for most of his Ohio State career, the Buckeyes had fallen on hard times lately, and this past season was his worst one yet. Recruiting, which once was Matta’s forte, also has been a struggle of late, and it may be another aspect of the coaching job that may have been affected by Matta’s physical condition.
Many Ohio State fans have been calling for Matta’s head. I wasn’t one of them. I think he was a total class act who turned around the Buckeye basketball program and brought in some great players; by virtue of the great results he achieved for most of his Ohio State career, I thought he deserved a chance to rebuild the program if he was so inclined. In my view, Matta’s farewell remarks at the press conference today, shown below, demonstrate exactly why he was such a good coach at OSU, and why he remains a terrific human being.
Some times you need to be careful what you wish for. I hope the Ohio State fans who urged that Matta be discharged because they thought it will be easy to get another top coach to come to Columbus don’t end up ruing the day that they got their wish. In the meantime, I wish Coach Matta good health and good fortune, for a good guy.
The east side of the Ohio Statehouse features the Ohio veterans plaza. It consists of two curved stone walls that face each other from opposite ends of the plaza, two fountains, and two grassy rectangles with room for flowers and plenty of Ohio flags that can be put in place for a holiday weekend.
The stone walls are adorned with snippets from letters written by Ohioans who were serving in the different wars in which America has fought. It’s a simple yet elegant reminder of one unifying reality for all of the soldiers and sailors, regardless of when or where they fought: they left home in service of their country, and as they put themselves in harm’s way they wanted to let the family back home that they were okay, that they accepted the cost of their service, and that they hoped to make it back home when their service was done.
This weekend they’ve also put up a simple wreath at the northern end of the plaza. It’s a good place to reflect on the sacrifices of those who have served and to inwardly express our appreciation to them for making our current lives possible.
Profound thanks to all of our veterans, and happy Memorial Day to everyone!
Cousin Jeff like to keep the wild creatures in his neighborhood happy. He’s got a hummingbird feeder, multiple birdseed dispensers, a suet cage — and this marble-topped table strewn with kernels of hard yellow corn. It’s irresistible to squirrels chipmunks and large birds like crows.
It also makes the early morning hours a fun exercise. When I sat outside yesterday morning, reading, every few minutes I would hear the drumbeat of tiny paws rushing along the deck, skittering up the table leg, and munching briskly at the corn. It made the natural surroundings seem a little bit closer, and more real.