41.0

41

41.0

For 180 years the foundation of this path
has provided a conveyance.
Little Miami Railroad until 1981,
then rails turned into trails.

Today, bicycles, hikers and a horse or two
follow the same path
as Abraham Lincoln on his route to inauguration
and Confederate General John Hunt Morgan escaping prison.

Two sets of mile markers measure distance.
Little Miami River distance markers are measured from the
mouth of the Ohio River.
Bike Trail markers are measured from Xenia Station to Cincinnati.

Hikers, bikers and walkers with their pets,
enjoying the trail or kayaking on the river,
are they thinking about the history of this scenic place?
Are they thinking of all those who came before to create it?

Brent

Little Miami Conservancy: Little Miami National Wild and Scenic River
Friends of the Little Miami State Park: Trail Maps

High Desert Highway

High desert for miles around.
A highway cuts through it from horizon to horizon
with a town every 100 miles or so.
To some, it seems desolate.
To others, it is beautiful like no other place.
Storms to the rear have already doused the earth
with a cleansing rain, and the sweet smell of wet
sage brush fills the air to be taken in and savored.
It is the lonely road, the loneliest highway
that exposes you to this beauty.

Brent

Thank you, Andie MacDowell

Sometimes, you just need a good kick in the butt to restart something. In my case, I decided the University of New Mexico Writer’s Workshop at Santa Fe was just the ticket to get my writing juices rejuvenated.

And, it was. The instructor, Stephen Benz, was very good at helping us focus on our writing voices, and my classmates were helpful with their comments and feedback. That’s how a writer’s workshop is supposed to work, and the Santa Fe workshop was well worth the time and effort.

But there are other opportunities for rejuvenation, and mine came on a 15 second ride on the elevator.

I like to rise early, get a cup of coffee and do a little writing and checking e-mail and Facebook. I had done that, and was ready for more coffee and some breakfast. I walked to the Drury Inn elevator, and pushed the down button.

The doors open. There are three people going down—two men and a woman, and it does not appear that any of them are together. It’s the way they are standing and riding the elevator—like strangers giving each other distance. I step aboard, and say to the woman who is standing at the controls and say, “Second floor, please.” I watch her smile, turn and press the button. She looks very familiar. She is lovely, even in her sweats and t-shirt. Jammies?

It took me about five seconds to think, “This is Andy MacDowell the actress.” In that moment, I think I slopped some coffee because I felt it on my hand, and looked down to make sure I didn’t slop coffee on me.

We arrive at the 2nd Floor, and we all walk off the elevator to the breakfast area. She walks to the coffee bar, grabs a cup and fills it, then disappears back to the elevator.

It’s not often that a guy from the Midwest meets a celebrity. Such a chance encounter is unheard of, and frankly, I wanted another glimpse to see if my first guess was correct.

This moment at the writer’s workshop fueled my passion for writing again, writing about this encounter, writing about all my other adventures. It became my muse. She became my muse.

Through the day, while passing through the hotel to my class or back to my room, I’d glance around, hoping for another encounter, but it was not to be. I thought about what I might say to this woman, but there was no sighting. I would have to settle for that brief moment in the elevator.

So, if it was you, Andie MacDowell, the lovely and talented actress, thank you for that smile and brief encounter on the elevator. And if it was not you, but someone who could have been your twin, I was at least half right. Just lovely. Thank you.

Brent

Plain Folk Café, Ohio SR 132

Plain_Folk_Cafe_8-7-2016-2

How many times have you traveled down a two-lane highway, passing through a small town, and come upon a place on the side of the road that looks so inviting? You stop, or maybe pass by saying, ‘I’ll stop next time.’

The Plain Folk Café in Pleasant Plain, Ohio, is one of those places. Giving rebirth to the two-room school house, built in 1913, the café serves up coffee, meals and music.

Plain_Folk_Cafe_8-7-2016-6

The walls, lined with album covers and musical venues, remind one of the former days when patrons wore tie-dyed shirts and drove VW vans. It’s a little bit of nostalgia, and a little bit modern with the free wifi. About half of those album covers are very familiar, for they reside at my home protecting the vinyl LPs inside.

Plain_Folk_Cafe_8-7-2016-7

After passing by so many times, thinking I will stop next time, today was the day I stopped. I’m glad I did. I’ll be back.

Brent