Getting DirectionsDriving in a can of worms

Without street lights at night,

People in a car not theirs were

Laughing with all their might.

 

The streets changed names

Without reason or logic.

First you knew where you were.

Then lost! Quite trogic!

 

There must be a handier shortcut,

A much better way to Gate One.

But fog and hills cut connection.

GPS gone, this was no longer fun.

 

All roads started to look alike.

Didn’t we pass that house before?

Stop! Back up! Turn around!

There were choices galore.

 

They never went the same way twice.

They turned and twisted around.

No resident to ask help with the way.

Truly the Forest was a ghost town.

 

At last they found the fabled Gate.

Their salvation, in sight, was at hand.

The rental house was perfect but decision made:

Next time we’re not staying in Paradise Land.

 

 

 

 

 

Most students are back at school. I still can’t believe it. Starting mid August it seems kids head back with clean clothes, new backpacks, and tidy sneakers. Over the last two weeks before Labor Day, streets generally empty of kids riding their bikes.

And then the heat begins. It never seems to fail. The really hot, humid summer days start and last into mid September. Classrooms roast and those inside ruminate about how unfair life is.

I’ve completed my annual check list of three things I do every summer: one or more outdoor concert, one or more ballgame and one swim outdoors (this year I tried the community pool at Foster Pool in Lakewood).

Foster Pool Lakewood

Foster Pool Lakewood

Leaves are starting to turn colors but mostly at this time due to dryness or disease. True fall colors don’t begin around NE Ohio until later in October. There is a feeling that you’d better soak in those last rays of sun, go for that last hot summer hike or bike ride, and attend to that last fair, festival, or food truck before the holiday that ends summer.

At Lakeview Cemetery

At Lakeview Cemetery

With that in mind, we have been on our annual Take a Hike! Tour around Playhouse Square and walked  an Art Deco tour through Lakeview Cemetery. We’ve checked out a few new places to eat (Grovewood,  Luxe, and Ken Stewart’s East Bank, listened to music at the new Music Box,  and watched racers on the Cleveland Velodrome.

I’ve started to buy Octoberfest ales. I’ve noticed Halloween candy on sale at the drug store. I’m looking into the details of those friendlier season trips in September (to California) and October (New England).

When I retired the end of summer meant getting ready for a new year of teaching and fresh crop of students. I missed all that terribly for the first two years. Now my world has slowly evolved into the change of volunteer seasons. September brings the slow down of Cuyahoga Valley National Park opportunities and build up of ushering at Playhouse Square. The thought of going back to teaching gives me the jitters.

At the same time the end of summer is exciting for the start of routines and meaningful work but it means the shortening of days, the crescendo of cooler nights into frigid days and the time when we all hunker down. The end of summer is bittersweet.

Since the announcement of the Republican National Convention coming to Cleveland, there has been a feeling of intensified excitement because our city is getting long deserved positive recognition.  Cleveland is coming of age.Gay Games 9

Last year we had the National Senior Games and this year it is the Gay Games 9. Naturally, being a snoop, I volunteered to help out.

On Tuesday I donned my Cuyahoga Valley National Park Volunteer uniform and hat and headed down to Mall C that covers the roof of the lower part of the new Convention Center. Four of us squeezed into a little booth to show visitors literature and pelts. The National Park was also hosting several events in the Park designed to entertain the GG9 participants and visitors.

It was a good place to view the passing parade of people.

Dave and I had visited on Friday night to view the Ahh Cleveland Light Show. There were laser lights projected over the Convention Center and Malls. They formed a rainbow. There were lights to step on and lights projected against the Public Auditorium. Meanwhile, about 500 people were doing a yoga routine on the grass as twilight then dark descended.

But on Tuesday it was full daylight and easy to talk with people who came up and asked us about the Park. It was clear that locals didn’t know the difference between the Cleveland MetroParks and their National Park. Never mind. We understood each other.

It was great fun to ask were people were from and what sport they were participating in. We talked at length to two men who had done goat dressing at the rodeo. (This means running up to a tethered goat and putting  underpants on the astonished animal). In the next several days I talked with people who had competed in ice skating events, basketball, and ballroom dancing. There are 35 events in lots of venues in the region.

All of us were impressed with the organization. There were tons of volunteers, police were evident everywhere. Welcoming flags and signs were in most restaurants and neighborhoods. Just as impressive is the estimation at each visitor spent approximately $1500.

The next day I had volunteered to meet the bus that was going to take GG9 guests from Cleveland to the Park for a free concert.  Outside the Horseshoe Casino Gift Shop sat a full sized Lakefront coach. Only 6 people had registered and only 3 of them showed up. It was a gorgeous day and, after two days of rain, I think people blew off the bus ride to explore our city.Gay Games 9

As I walked back home, I overheard one participant complain that the venues were far apart and there were few spectators. That was the only complaint I heard. The overwhelming response I got was that people were impressed with our city and all there is to do. But even more so about how friendly and welcoming people are. There were many people who came from overseas. Two of the women on the bus were from Russia and spoke no English. Imagine coming from Croatia or France by yourself to participate.

Personally, I was very pleased with how organized everything was. There were staff, volunteers, medical personnel, and security aplenty. The schedule of options for visitors was crammed with many tempting options. People were happy with all the pleasing options and the availability of things to do and places to eat downtown. I saw participants using our free trolley and other modes of transportation to get around.

Our city is clearly ready to host big conventions and lots of people, including you.