Friday, February 13, 2009

Back from Ohio

After a long hike back...across Eastern Ohio and ALL of PA, with a little nip of the Northern panhandle of WVa thrown in for good measure, I am back from the US/Mexico game. My dad had me out to Ohio and it was a treat and a half to spend time with my parents, go back to some old haunts in Columbus and then be able to watch a World Cup qualifying game.

Set aside the weather. It was beastly. Driving down I-71 from Ashland was a harbinger of the day on Wednesday. The cross-gusts on the Interstate were not easy to handle in the Prius (mammoth beast that it is), and the trucks were having an even tougher time.

After I got into the city, I had a chance to drop in on an old friend who is now rector at St. John's Episcopal Church, Worthington. Worthington is a Northern suburb of Columbus. The area around the church has really grown, but it keeps that village feel. St. John's is right there in the heart of town, and seeing Philip there was a blast. He and I entered the ordination process together, went to the same seminary and were ordained deacons together so many years ago.

After talking with him a while, reminiscing and catching up (including showing each other our proverbial scars from years in parish ministry), I headed down High Street to Clintonville, my old neighborhood and haunt when I was a baby-priest at St. Stephen's Church down on the OSU campus.

As I was driving down High, I passed an old favorite-Nancy's Home Cooking. It is a little (stress little) eatery tucked away in an old set of store fronts just south of North Broadway. This is the hole-in-the-wall place to go for breakfast or lunch. I walked in for the first time in almost twelve years and the place had not changed at all (since it was built in the 1940s, I am sure!). The entrance shows you a dining/cooking area of about 20'x12'. In the center is a lunch counter that just about takes up all the space. In the back are little booths that will sit 12 people, total. For breakfast, the menu on the wall reads simple prices. When I was there years ago, it was $1.50 for 1 egg, potatoes and toast, $2.00 for two eggs, etc. The "garbage omelet" (a concoction of bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, celery, onions, tomatoes, cheese and hash browns), was $3.50. It is now $5.50. That is the only change. The regulars still pour their own coffee, and clean up after themselves.

I walked in for lunch, the last person of the day. They had two choices (one more than when I remember), either meatloaf or beef and noodles. The platter came with whipped mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans (done county-style, simmered for hours in beef broth with onions and a slab of fatback). That and a roll. Price? $5.50.

Dad and I went back for breakfast the next morning.

Game night was a treat: tornado watches had been posted for all of the surrounding counties. Heavy rain, thunderstorms and hail were expected. Dad and I went to get him a rain suit in Upper Arlington, and then stopped for dinner at a little French-style bistro for a pre-game snack. Graeter's Ice Cream topped it off, and then we made our way over to the stadium. We missed the heavy rain, but caught a beautiful double-rainbow that was so "solid" it looked like it was cut from stained glass and hung up in the sky for us all to marvel at.

The game was a blast. The US dominated the front and back fields, with Mexico taking over in the middie. The upside is that we won 2-0. The challenge was the vengeful rivalry the two teams had for each other. There were some nasty hits, and more than a few choice words for the rival teams from people in the stands...and some really interesting language for the FIFA refs who always seem to put out bad calls when the drama dials up onfield. Still, the rain held off!

Now, I am home. We are getting the house ready to show, and will be signing the papers to put it up on the market sometime today. I have a new call ready to start in a couple of weeks. I will write about that when it kicks in. For now, L and I have some peace and quiet to cultivate, and I have a couple of extra pounds to exer-(and exor-)cise away.

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