Admittedly, I don't know a lot about President James Madison, other than his wife was named Dolly and her name still appears on boxes of baked goods.
To be honest, I forgot where her husband's name fell in the pecking order of early U.S. presidents until I read it in the back of a book recently. (He was No. 4, following George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.)
So, why all the interest in James Madison today? That's easy. I came across some information pointing out that among U.S. presidents, he's the one who took the longest vacation — four months. The War of 1812 was over and his administration was nearly at an end, so Madison slipped out of Washington in June 1816 and didn't return until October.
Now there's a cult hero.
You find out all kinds of interesting things like that when a rainy vacation day chases you from the beach to some book store at an outlet mall.
The key is to look for great titles such as, “How to succeed in business without working so damn hard.” It's written by Los Angeles psychologist Robert Butterworth. His mantra is vacations are a must because “the break will allow you to refresh your brain cells.” He points out “many workers get their best ideas away from work.”
He'll get no argument from here on that one.
Then there is Christine Hohlbaum's classic book, “The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.”
She claims “you will save your company money every day you are away” and she isn't talking about being laid off or getting fired. Her argument is that “workers who forego their vacations are hurting both themselves and the company. They are more likely to get sick, and even when they are physically in the office, they may have already mentally checked out.”
I'm glad Christine straightened me out on that one. I was beginning to think people who call off work on Fridays and Mondays were just trying to extend their weekend. In reality, they're doing the company a favor by making sure they are “mentally checked in” the next time they show up for work.
I was also impressed to find our universities are studying the need for vacations.
Researchers at State University of New York at Oswego surveyed 12,000 men between ages 35 and 57. They found that men who go on vacation every year reduce their overall risk of death by 20 percent. (Of course, this can be negated if you're driving a tired family through the mountains of West Virginia at midnight and have to explain why you thought it was a smart idea not to make a hotel reservation).
Then there are the “findings” by the Wisconsin Medical Journal. Its research discovered that women who take two or more vacations a year are less likely to be depressed, tired, or unhappy with their marriage.
That's one I better keep in mind.
Let's see, this fall we could spend some quality time Monday through Thursday in Motown catching a long Tigers homestand, slip back home Friday night for a high school game, and then head to God's country (South Bend, Ind.) on Saturday for Notre Dame football. A short turnpike ride Sunday would put us in Cleveland for a Browns game.
On second thought, the Browns could be depressing for her.
ROSES AND THORNS: A lot has happened in the garden after a couple of weeks away.
Rose: Elliott Randall, a famed guitarist with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, returned to Lima last week to work with young guitar enthusiasts and perform a free concert at Rally in the Square. In the 1960s, Randall spent a year in Lima teaching guitar.
Rose: To Carlos Suarez, 19, a 2011 graduate of Lima Senior. He will be boxing in the Olympics on Tuesday under the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, where he has dual citizenship.
Rose: More than 50 volunteers from Forest Park Methodist Church and the Men of Faith group showed up Saturday to clean up a little brick church on Lima's east side. It soon will be the home of the St. James Missionary Baptist Church.
Rose: To Dave Peters, owner of Pete's Ice Cream in Lima. He credits the success of his ice cream shop to what he learned while working for Lima restaurant king Harrison Shutt of the Kewpee.
Rose: To Sheriff Sam Crish and Chief Deputy Jim Everett of the Allen County Sheriff's Office. They shared information quickly with the public after last week's double-murder suicide.
Rose: To Justin Crawfis, of Ottawa, and Marilynn Rupert, of Lima, who had their ideas published in the nationally syndicated comic strip, “Pluggers.”
Thorn: After a helicopter was launched and law enforcement officials and firefighters from six agencies were called to search for a missing 82-year-old man, officials from the Wyngate Senior Living Community in Lima found the resident hiding in a utility closet at the facility.
Thorn: To Paul Keasler, 36, of Lima. Police said they spotted him in the act of stealing four-wheel all-terrain vehicles around Fort Jennings. He tried to elude Putnam County deputies, only to drive one of the stolen ATV's into a basketball pole.
Thorn: Former Lima schools teacher Whitney Chiles is now facing charges of having sexual relations with a 15-year-old student inside North Middle School during school hours. Earlier, she was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison for having sex with a student a her home in Ada.
Thorn: Armed deputies had to escort the jury out of the Allen County Courthouse after family members of Nekosha James-Mitchell went berserk when she was convicted of using her day care to swindle money from the government.
PARTING SHOT: “I know what a caged animal feels like now.” — Beth Kessen, 82, a sixth-floor resident of Pilgrim Place apartments in Lima, which was without an elevator for about two months.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. To suggest a rose or thorn, contact him at email@example.com or The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.