Get excited! I'm belatedly posting some pictures from our trip to visit Sue's family in northern Ohio!
This is Sable, who belongs to Sue's brother and his family (they were visiting from South Carolina). Sable's an incredibly well-behaved German shepherd. She sat quietly in the living room of Sue's parents. Outdoors, Sable chased woodchucks!
We were there for Independence Day, and this year instead of driving to see a professional pyrotechnics display in one of the nearby towns, we had fireworks in the driveway. Nothing big--you can't buy fireworks in Ohio, except for sparklers, snakes, and snap-and-pops, which can be purchased there in common drugstores. So we had fun with those fairly mild incendiary entertainments.
Sue and I have been together nineteen years (our anniversary was last week!), and in all of these years I've never witnessed "the cannon." Long ago, a friend and former coworker of Sue's dad fabricated a genuine, working, miniature version of a cannon. The barrel is brass, the wheels are iron. And it really works!
Sue's family used to load this thing up with black powder, a fuse, and stuff a paper napkin or something in the barrel and use it to blast in the new year each December 31! It's a tradition in their family. They also used to fire it every July 4. But this was apparently all twenty years ago--at any rate, I've never seen them shoot THE CANNON!
And yeah, it was LOUD! Take that, you silly bottle-rocket people! --Boom!!
No summertime trip to northern Ohio would be officially complete without a trip to Cedar Point amusement park. Do I look like a big fan of amusement parks? No. But Cedar Point is different--it's on a narrow piece of land that pokes out into Lake Erie, and cool breezes keep it relatively tolerable--even during this hot summer. And there's something to be said for the therapeutic primal-scream therapy delivered by some of the crazier rides.
I took the picture above from the Giant Wheel, the park's venerable, huge Ferris wheel. The green rollercoaster in the background is my favorite ride in the park, the Raptor (click for a point-of-view video!). It's one of those "feet dangling" coasters. It's so cool--it's like you're flying!
This one's called the Skyhawk. It's a huge giant terrifying "swingset"--very interesting to do, on account of the great height and speed, but overall it's not as much fun as the big rollercoasters. (Sue took this picture--that's me in the circle! Wahhhhh!!!!)
As of July 4, this is what was left of the big Con Agra grain elevator that used to be a major landmark in Huron, Ohio, and the Sandusky area in general. Most of it was destroyed during a controlled implosion in early January, but the big silos have had to be knocked down more gradually with wrecking balls. I hear the thing is completely gone now, though I understand a great pile of rubble remains to be dealt with. Condos, apparently, will replace the famous symbol of Ohio's agricultural productivity. (Click here to see a video of the implosion of the plant--pretty exciting! The community made a big party out of the occasion.) (Do you get the idea that people in northern Ohio like to blow up stuff--?)
Toft's ice cream is another of those things we must do when we visit northern Ohio in the summer. To my Central Missouri friends, Toft's is the northern Ohio equivalent of Central Dairy: If you don't feel like tackling an entire vat of ice cream, better ask for the "kiddie" size! (Pictured is a "small" serving of their "Buckeye Bites" flavor--peanut butter and chocolate, like mini "buckeyes" candies!)