We chose Dublin, Ohio – my home town – as our home base for our U.S. Family and Friends Summer tour for two reasons: first, because we have so many of our family and friends living in the area and second, because my mom let us stash the few possessions we don’t carry with us in my childhood bedroom – and she let us reclaim that room as living quarters without charging rent. Thus, we became temporary summertime Ohio residents.
I loved growing up in Ohio and have fond memories of long summer days spent outdoors. Back yard cookouts, hikes, baseball, boats, parades and fireworks defined every summer of my youth. In addition to seeing family and friends, introducing Kris to a few of these middle-America pastimes was high on my list.
We made a few attempts to orchestrate large gatherings of friends, but it quickly became evident that most people function on a very busy schedules. Instead, we met up with people individually in a procession of coffees, lunches, happy hours, cookouts and dinners, pushing our consumption levels, but allowing us to indulge in one-on-one conversations. We met new babies, new boyfriends, ran into old neighbors, teachers and friends – and got so wrapped up in the moment that we often forgot to take any photos.
The usual hot and humid weather was replaced with cool and rainy days – but it didn’t deter us. We spent a chilly day at The Memorial Tournament walking the course and following the few golfers we recognized. It was a rainy evening for a double-header (and Dime-a-Dog) at the AAA ballpark, but – along with my mom and sister – we cheered on the Columbus Clippers, “our hometown heroes.” Despite an overcast sky, we hitched a ride with mama to Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio where we hiked Conkle’s Hollow and Old Man’s Cave – and, of course, had lunch at Grandma Faye’s.
I was most looking forward to the 4th of July celebrations, which start on the 3rd with Red, White and Boom in downtown Columbus. This time, however, the rain truly did put a damper on the all-day festivities. Even if somewhat disappointing, I always love watching fireworks. And, the following day, the weather was (do I dare say?) perfect for the classic, yet unrefined, Doo Dah Parade.
To top off the Independence Day celebration, we joined in the fun with Kris’s family at his sister and brother-in-law’s farm. We could have feasted on the homemade salads – potato, fruit and zucchini – alone, but didn’t pass on the meats from the grill…or the desserts. Sitting around the fire, bottles of wine vanished, stories were shared and laughter was abundant until late into the night.
At the same time we were coordinating get-togethers and meet ups, we were also catching up on some business-like tasks, helping around the house and preparing for our next adventure to Australia. Identification needed to be updated, a year’s worth of mail needed to be sorted, gutters had to be cleaned, the lawn had to be mowed, shoes had to be replaced and our next packing list required some time and thought. Days quickly disappeared and before we knew it, our time as temporary summertime Ohio residents was up.