Every now and then, a scene—an observation–brings a big smile to my face. This morning was one of those as I drove through town to meet friends for coffee.
The school bus was coming towards me, and slowing down. I assumed it was going to stop to pick up a student. I slowed also with plenty of clearance to the bus. First the flashers came on, then the red flashers and stop sign extended out from the side. I rolled to a stop and looked for children.
Out of a car parked on the side street stepped a school girl, maybe 7-years old. Maybe 8. She had a pink backpack and was wearing a pink mask. She ran towards the bus, arms waving in the air as if to say “hi” to someone or everyone on the bus. She behaved absolutely joyful to be getting on the bus and seeing friends.
It brought a big smile to my face. The innocence of kids. The joy of seeing friends or going to school. Absolutely magical.
The bus flashing lights turned off. The stop sign rolled back to the side of the bus, and it began to roll. I waved to the bus driver. She waved back.
I’m a map guy. I love to study maps. Paper maps mostly, but the digital versions can be just as intriguing. There was an older BMW ad that I loved, even though I don’t own that brand of motorcycle it read: “My favorite author? Rand McNally.” That about says it right there.
Some time ago, I noticed on a paper map an airport that I had never seen. There it was on the map, and I have been past that location many times, but have never seen it. It even shows up on my Gaia GPS. The San Mar Gale Airport.
Of course, the airport is closed now, and this is what it looks like from Waynesville Road nearest the end of what was the airstrip. The strip is just over the back end of my V-Strom.
I had to do a little searching to find out that the airport was closed in the 1990s. It was probably a grass strip, which made it easy to convert to agriculture. It had an official airport designation, but I could not find a record of that.
There are a couple of other private, abandoned airfields in Warren County, and they most likely were on farms, much like this one. It is exploration like this, and detailed maps like the DeLorme Gazeteers and Gaia GPS that reveal opportunities for a motorcycle adventure.
It was one of those mornings I wanted to go for a motorcycle ride, but just was not passionate about it. For that reason, I decided maybe it should be a longer ride. A longer ride to the Ohio River.
What is it about rivers that draws us. Is it the water’s edge? The sound of waves breaking on the shore? The smell of a river, and that can be good or bad? The sound of laugher of people enjoying the environs?
I don’t know. It just seems to make a difference, a calming effect. I could spend hours just gazing at the water, and all that it encompasses, flowing onward and eventually to the sea.
Fishing for trout usually involves beautiful places. Quiet. Peacefulness. Serenity. And just like opportunities in life, sometimes, a second chance is needed. That is what “catch and release” is all about. You catch the fish, and return them to their home for a second chance at growing old.
And, so I did. I returned the rainbow to it’s waters.
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.
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.
David 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.
Other 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?