austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Call us today to sing our praise to thee

Back in uptown bunny_hugger tried to remember locations of stuff like restaurants she'd liked although those have changed just enough to be a bit confusing. We did locate the Hole In The Wall Bar, which back in her day was a spot about twelve inches wide squeezed between two other bars. It's still, at least in the front, just wide enough for the door, but it's now between the Wild Berry head shop and something called Teapioco Tea and Coffee.

Wild Berry's a place she used to visit, and it's developed a bit without changing its essence. It's also gotten to be big enough it's exporting incense as far away as Ann Arbor and I'm not positive we didn't see some of their incense in the East Meets West shop back in the Freehold Raceway Mall. Their window also promises they've got ``New Bacon Incense'' so really can't we let the bacon thing just end already? The shop's got enormously more Doctor Who T-shirts than she would have imagined possible when bunny_hugger was a student in the area (which, admittedly, amounts to like three shirts). And I was unaccountably fond of an Underground-style map of the sites in Oxford, which is mostly the university and some uptown shops and warnings that, for example, it's hard to notice just where the Oxford, Ohio, subway stations emerge to the street. The shop also had a number of those little handheld pinball games, the kind where you shoot little bb pellets in a thin plastic playfield that resembles what pinball machines were back before they had automatic scoring and tilts and the like. You know, the things you get as a kid as a disappointing Handheld Pinball game. She was doing not badly, but of course, the bb's got stuck together and jammed in the spring and we had other things to do than sort that out.

Oxford's kind of got a movie theater, the Princess, which dates back to the silent era and which made its way to the modern era partly by subdividing its small space over and over so it could screen several things at once. It's not a big theater to start with, and was divided into at least four and they were hoping to put a fifth in, somehow, that would probably be a couple people huddled around an iPhone watching Netflix in order to fit. The theater had been part of a small local chain, but this particular theater was left out when the rest was bought out. It was being reconfigured as a local trust with a focus on art films, but was still showing popular films to help finance the operations (including of converting to digital projectors) when it had a fire this March.

The operators apparently took this as their signal to do all the reconfiguring and upgrading first and then reopen, but goodness knows when any of that will be done. The theater's been left as it was at the fire, with the sign inside still giving the showtimes for Need For Speed, 300: Rise of an Empire, The Lego Movie, and Mister Peabody and Sherman, and for that matter abandoned popcorn still sitting in the machine at the refreshments counter. Well, hopefully it'll all come together for them.

Down the street from the theater is the house where bunny_hugger lived one summer, and how could we resist wandering down and looking? The place --- the converted garage of a single-family home --- looked to be in pretty rough shape because it seems to be in the middle of major renovations, so even though this was about the best time to go up to the window and take photographs without accidentally interrupting anybody it didn't feel quite comfortable going up there.

One of the quirks of Oxford life is that houses get names, announced on signs, often illustrated. These aren't necessarily deep names --- one of the streets is named Beech so there's every play on phrases with beaches that you can imagine there (though there's also a curious sign posted ``In Memory of Vic and Mim Morrical'', and a mailbox on a slightly broken wooden post, sitting against the side of the building) --- and apparently the signs have been controversial in the past, but I really like what they add to the community. I understand a bit better the sign announcing our house's name, I think.

Also back up the street is the Oxford Community Arts Center, which used to be a grad student dormitory, where bunny_hugger had spent a year. It was a quirky old building, dating back to the mid-19th century and the former Oxford College for Women. It's even got an historical marker outside it, for Caroline Scott Harrison, wife of Benjamin Harrison. Caroline Scott had attended the school, you see, and I suppose one-term First Lady outranks Rutgers University's big claim to political fame (Garret A Hobart, first vice-president for William McKinley, and one of the many vice-presidents to die in office). While we were walking around it, someone drove up to the Ohio Historical Marker and apparently read it very carefully, both sides, and went driving off again.

Beside the former dormitory was a majestically garish boxy Lectric Leopard, an ``Electricar'' from Renault from around 1980, sitting there because I guess that's just the way college towns are.

For a snack before town we stopped in at the United Dairy Farmers, a co-op of, well, it's there on the label. I managed to completely fumble ordering a malted (somehow I couldn't think what flavor to get and couldn't find the menu options and good grief why not just order a chocolate?). Over by the window were a couple of seats which included signs noting that they were reserved between a couple of hours in the weekday mornings. I haven't noticed reserved seating in convenience stores before but what do I know of the commuting life any longer, anyway?

By now it was so late there was not much point driving back to Cincinnati so we gave up on the water park. Instead we drove ... well, into Kentucky, as that was the quickest way to drive very, very far west and then angle back into the southwestern corner of Indiana, for the last park and the last full day of our trip. That was a terribly long drive, made longer because we passed from Eastern into Central Time and the satellite navigator told us the estimated arrival time in Central, as our hotel was there, and we were still thinking Eastern and oh my but Louisville is a long way away, isn't it?

We didn't have serious trouble finding the hotel, although it was at the top of a rather steep series of hills, which the clerk mentioned was a lot of fun in the snow. It sounded like my car scraped when we went back out, to a Mexican restaurant just a part of the way back down the hill. After that I managed the transition from street to driveway better, mostly by taking the turn as slow as humanly possible, and I don't think I did any further damage to my car.

Trivia: Before the Federal Writers' Project began work on state guides, the last edition of Baedeker's United States --- its model --- had been revised in 1909. (Its first edition was published in 1893.) Source: American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, Nick Taylor.

Currently Reading: The Life Of Elizabeth I, Allison Weir.

PS: In the Overlap between Logic, Fun, and Information --- you may have heard it was John Venn's birthday. Do you know whose other birthday it was?

Tags: ohio-indiana parks tour
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