New Entry – At Last

Okay, I started this thing with the help of my friend, Jay, uh, Everyman, but after copying in a bunch of stuff I’d written before, I’ve left it sit idle.

So, I’m a grandfather now. Little Emily is 10 and a half months old.  Unfortunately, she, my son Joshua and daughter-in-law Lisa are all living in Italy for the time being.

Anyway, what I want to write about is that they were all in the States for a visit. It was Emily’s baptism this last Saturday. The ceremony was at St. John’s Church in Payne, OH, the same church (and priest) as their wedding.

Payne is a very little town in “west central Ohio”. The nearest motel was either in Ft. Wayne, Indiana or Van Wert, Ohio. Obviously I went for Van Wert. Van Wert has a number of motels, a Comfort Inn, a Holiday Inn Express, for example. We booked a room at the Fountain Inn.

The Fountain Inn used to be the local “No Tell Motel”, but they have been rehabilitated.  But I’ll get back to that.

Van Wert is, according to Google Maps, 3 hours and 14 minutes away from me. The first part of the trip is the ride down Interstate 71 to Mansfield. It’s not an exciting or interesting ride.The second part of the trip is the approximately 110 miles from Mansfield to Van Wert via US Route 30.

It was a very hot day.  Fortunately, at 70 mph, open windows cool a car down really well.

That was the most interesting thing about the drive.

No, actually, more interesting than that was that Dee, the owner of the Inn, called us while we were on the way.  We were running about 45 minutes behind. She called to make sure we were all alright.

That brings me back to the motel.

The Fountain Inn is a classic 1960’s motel. We had one in Brunswick, one I Medina, even in Lodi. I’m pretty sure there was a mostly abandoned one on Greenwich Rd. near Seville. A room and a bathroom. A TV. We also had a fridge and a stove. Oh, and very important, a working air conditioner.

The thing about the Fountain Inn is it felt more like staying with a friend of a friend who had a room you could use. Dee and her family were wonderful. One morning, Dee brought us coffee, in coffee cups not marked “Fountain Inn”. They were cups like you’d find in your own kitchen. She sprinkled cinnamon in each one.

On Friday, we spent three hours in the 24 hour Walmart, saw Tom Ridney and Flambeau , a Zydeco/Cajun/Bluegrass band for free in the Park, and ate Chinese food (Joshua and I got the same fortune in our cookies).

The baptism was private and lovely.

Later in the day, while Joshua and I were having a smoke, the part time handy man, walked over and started chatting. It went something like this…

“I was drinking a lot that night and woke up hearing someone pounding on my door. I had a bad hangover. It was my fiancé. She had a black eye and bruises. Her step daddy had knocked her around and that didn’t sit well with me. She was having my baby. I was going to go take care of this shit, but she talked me into going to work instead. Well, I went to work, I had a tow motor, you know a fork lift, and was loading and unloading stuff. I blacked out a few times. I hadn’t slept much that night. I manned it out and didn’t go home, I worked on through. I got in my hot rod, I built a nice hot rod, and headed down 118, doing 75, maybe 85. Wind blowing through my hair, feeling good. Then I saw this old man with this great big book, flipping through the pages, he walked up to me put his hand on my shoulder and said ‘It’s time for you to go home now and sleep in your own bed. I’ve got plans for you.’ I woke up and thought I was in a hotel or something. Everyone was real nice, bringing me food and stuff to drink. It was really a hospital. So, this one day, the phone rings, I tell my roommate to go ahead and answer it because he’s who got the calls, but he handed me the phone and a voice said ‘It’s Summer’. I said no it looks like spring.  but it was my fiancé, only I didn’t remember that and she told me she’d had my baby but I couldn’t see him and when I asked why she told me he’d died. I have a daughter, by another woman, the wrong woman but she has custody, but my high school sweetheart and I are working and saving very hard and we’re going to get married and get custody and move away.”

And then he walked away.

Just like I’m ending this entry.