Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ohio Tour - Having Fun in Bellbrook

Today Max and I took the day off to have fun in Bellbrook. When you say this in front of my sister Mandy and my niece Katie, they laugh out loud.

Well we did have fun. We rode our bikes to the Bellbrook Canoe Rental and went canoeing on the Little Miami National Scenic River!

This was a big nostalgia fest for me. I haven't done this since about 1980.

It turned out to be a really beautiful and serene canoe trip. There was nobody else on the river. That may be because a kid drowned in the river last night by the rope swing and they hadn't found the body yet. It was a slow day at the canoe livery.

The picture with the cop cars and rescue vehicles in the article above is in the canoe rental's driveway. Definitely a slow day at the canoe livery.

We kept an eye out, but we didn't see any dead bodies. Turns out he was downstream. Life pro tip: don't say stuff like "How can you possibly manage to drown in the Little Miami?" in front of your niece who goes to high school with the drowned kid's sister.

After canoeing, we went into Downtown Bellbrook for a tasty lunch. I showed Max the famous Bellbrook Magnetic Springs.

This is the Magnetic Springs. When I was a kid, the water from this fountain tasted absolutely awful, like poison or pesticides. I was very excited to share the experience of drinking it with Max. Turns out now it is plain old water. So disappointing.

Then we had the mandatory visit to the Dairy Shed.

The cherry dip is incredibly cherry.

Max is having the "Bellbrook Spirit" sprinkles on his cone, in the school colors of purple and gold.

In the afternoon, I took a walk around the yard and back field to see how things are. Some of the asparagus my mom planted approximately 45 years ago is still hanging in there.

In Ohio, when we have stuff we don't need anymore, we burn it in the field out back.

These are a couple of the big ash trees growing alongside the fence. We used to have a treehouse here. The trees are dying from an Emerald Ash Borer infestation, like every other ash tree.

There used to be our old 1977 Ford LTD Station Wagon under those bushes. I looked in there and couldn't see it. Mandy says she had it hauled away, and it was not easy to get rid of it because it had been sinking into the earth for the last 20 years.

The ash trees farther down the fence are pretty much dead.

Here is a picture of the back field. It goes back to the tree line back there. When I was about 7 or 8, my brother Fred and I would go on expeditions to the back of the field. My dad only mowed it a couple times a year with a bush hog back then, and it was usually pretty overgrown. We would bring our red wagon with us and push our way to the tall grass. At the fence in back, there were black-eyed susans and elderberry bushes. Sometimes we would see green snakes in the grass.

The field is a lot smaller now.

Mandy met us for dinner at delicious Marion's Piazza tonight, and Katie came with us.

We drove Mandy's decrepit old minivan which my sister Amy gave her for free, and which mostly takes up space in the driveway, since my brother Fred sold her one of his four Pontiac Fieros. So I'm driving along as happily as can be expected in a Sienna minivan with 200000 miles and an air conditioner that sounds like a turboprop plane taking off.

Katie: Do you know where you are going?
Me: Sure! I grew up here!
Katie: This is a dead end.

So I drove straight off the end of McBee like always, onto what used to be S. Alpha Bellbrook Road, and is now a dead end. This is because they straightened out S. Alpha Bellbrook 30 years ago. The map above shows what it used to be like before they dumbed it down. Stutsman used to end at a STOP sign where it says STOP on the diagram, and then you would go straight on S. Alpha Bell, which would then turn north at the end of McBee, which ended where it says STOP at a STOP sign.

The problem with this is there was a corn field there by the end of McBee (where it says CORN). So people would drive south on S. Alpha Bellbrook, and go straight onto McBee, not realizing that they were not actually going straight, but making a left hand turn right in front of the oncoming car they can't see because of the corn. There would be a big accident there every summer when the corn would get tall enough to block the view and people would forget they can't just go straight onto McBee.

This is why my generation is strong. We didn't have dumbed-down roads. We had to think about what we were doing when we drove around. Those of us who survived are strong, anyway.

We also used to play on the rope swing in the Little Miami.

Max and I did not quite 10 miles riding into town on our bikes. Max said our day in Bellbrook was fun.

No comments: