Grandma’s Quilt

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During the recent cold snap, when night time temperatures were near zero, I decided to throw on an extra layer of warmth. I grabbed Grandma’s quilt and laid it on top of the bed. That’s when I began to reminisce.

Grandma Arvilla passed away in 1962 of cancer. She was survived by Grandpa Archie, and four children, Betty, Dorothy, my Mom Jolene, and Charles. The story Mom told was that Grandma, a quilter, had made quilts for each of the daughters and a close family friend. Quite a few years back, Mom gave me the quilt she had, worn and quite used. It was probably made in the late 1950s when Grandma was healthy, which makes it at least 60 years old.

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As I ran my hands over the surface of the quilt, as if spreading it evenly atop the bed, I could feel the texture of the individual pieces of cloth, and the stitches applied by hand. The design is a Double Wedding Ring, and there is some symmetry to the choice of pieces of cloth, but the selection of pieces that make up each ring have no uniformity to them. On one ring, a pink might be next to a purple, but on another ring, the same pink might be next to a floral design.

The authority on quilts and quilting in our family, my wife Lin, says the quilt is definitely hand-stitched, even though the lines seem so precise. The fabric pieces could be pieces from clothing or even sack cloth. Remnants of clothing in a life that was anything but glamorous. The cloth could have come from a favorite shirt, or hand-me downs no longer used. The quilt reeks with love from the maker. From loving hands. From family history.

I can still picture that little frame house, sitting on a corner, with a dining room that was really more of a room for everything including quilting. Grandma’s quilt frame stood along one wall, and I vaguely recall seeing quilts-in-progress draped over its frame.

I don’t know how many quilts Grandma made. I know she made one and it is in my possession. When I lay under it at night, I sleep with its warmth and the love of family.

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See you on the highway.

Brent

Riding like there’s no tomorrow

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I was corresponding with a friend recently about motorcycling, and I mentioned that I’m riding now more than I did 20 years ago. “I’m riding like there’s no tomorrow.”

After reflecting on that statement, It gave me pause for thought.

I’m 68 years old. Is this ‘riding like there’s no tomorrow’ an issue? A symptom? Acting younger than my age? Fear of growing old?

Two riding buddies and I had this conversation recently during our Wednesday morning coffee meeting. “When do you think you will quit riding?” Frankly, I don’t see myself quitting. Not for quite some time. But, I realize that a time will come when I cannot ride the taller bikes like the V-Strom or the KLR. I already feel the struggle of swinging a leg over them. I have to mount them like a horse. Left foot on the foot peg like the stirrup of a saddle. Push myself up and swing the right leg over. I’m on.

So, why keep riding? I could go fishing. Or, I could load the fishing gear on the motorcycle and go fishing. I could travel more. Or, I could load some gear on the motorcycle and travel. I could clean the house … or … I could go motorcycling. Okay, I really don’t shirk my household responsibilities. I help clean the house. Then I go riding.

I have enjoyed the two wheel transportation ever since my dad brought that Lambretta motor scooter home when I was 15. It’s something about being in the wind, the out of doors, traveling to destinations near and far. For me, those rides are therapy. I call it helmet time. An opportunity to think things through outside of my household box. AND, I am so thankful for a spouse, my wife Lin, who understands the importance of motorcycling to me. She will often say, “Why don’t you take a ride.” And I usually do.

Yes, I am riding like there’s no tomorrow. But, I do have to wait for the snow to melt. Smile

See you on the highway.

Brent

History Laying in the Ground

I have always been fascinated by history—a student of historical figures, places and highways—and it often gives me pause for thought. Some years ago, when I was working in rural economic development circles, there was a study published addressing why people travel. Setting aside the travels to visit family, the number one reason people travel is to see art, culture and history. I am one of those.

There is a small, and old cemetery not far from my home. I have passed it many times and barely notice it anymore, but recently, it caught my attention and I wondered where is the cemetery in Morrow, Ohio? If you have followed my travels, you know I have a tendency to photograph old country churches and cemeteries. I have passed through Morrow many times on nearly all quadrants of the village except for the southeastern corner. And so, my exploration took me in that direction. I found what I was looking for … and more to ponder at the Morrow Cemetery.

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The entrance to the cemetery is plain and somewhat deceiving. You find a cemetery on a hillside, but behind that hill is a very large plot of ground where hundreds have been laid to rest. And, like most other cemeteries, the graves of Veterans are marked with flags and plaques designating service.

Next to the entrance a gravesite stands alone, like a family plot, and quite set off from the others, the only gravesite on that side of the road. It’s what caught my eye.

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Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-9David Ayers, Company F, 4th Ohio Cavalry, with a Veteran Plaque designating Civil War Veteran.

I wondered if there was some reason that this gravesite—one of a prominent place—was meaningful to Morrow’s history. I conducted some research, and although not exhaustive, I found a roster of Company F with Ayer’s name. He was mustered into the Army Jan. 5, 1864, at age 25, and mustered out July 15, 1865, when the entire unit was mustered out of service. The company participated in several skirmishes and battles in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-14Other than a more recent headstone, I could find little more about David B. Ayers, of Morrow, Ohio. He was a husband, brother, probably father, and most notably, a Civil War Veteran.

The Morrow Cemetery is the resting place of other Veterans with their graves marked with flags and plaques. Their service duly noted. All this history, this service to country, laying in the ground. Families and friends mourned their passing. Were their stories passed on?

Today, our living military and Veterans, who have served our country faithfully, await to tell their stories. Who will write their histories? 

See you on the highway.

Brent

Autumn

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Of the four seasons, I like Autumn the best. The temperatures are brisk in the morning and mild in the afternoon. The colors are vibrant. The dwarf burning bushes let you know they are in the prime of the season.

Brent