Tara Cutlip, 21 and pregnant with her second child, was shot and killed Saturday in her Bahama Drive home. Loved ones gather in front of Tara's home to remember her and speak out against domestic violence.
Thirteen is never a lucky number, and I must admit watching the ball drop in New York’s Time Square last week made me shudder at what this ‘13 might hold.
I heard the music playing one day from a grand piano at Maple Crest Senior Living in Bluffton. The melody was so beautiful, I had to stop and listen.
DELPHOS — There’s an extra holiday glow over Delphos these days as the memory of Betty Honingford lights up that city.
In this season of giving, the village of Gomer today is recognizing one of their own — a man so willing to give that he has become legend. His name was Bob Shelmadine, but most people knew him as Santa.
Welcome to the season of the Jolly Old Elf.
You know my favorite part about Thanksgiving? It’s the one holiday that’s never the same twice.
When our children were young, they loved to visit the home of one relative who had served in Vietnam.
It’s almost election day, and my mouth has already begun to water.
If Bob Dylan is to be believed, I should be the smartest woman in the world.
When my husband and I became empty nesters, I really believed that not only would we have more room in the house, it would be a cleaner house.
Deb Long Richardson was the last homecoming queen at Lafayette-Jackson High School.
Someone told me once that you can tell a lot about a person by what they keep on their desk.
Although fall is not yet officially upon us, I believe most of us are living now as though it were.
LIMA — Did you ever play the license plate game?
LIMA — One of my favorite things about summer is gathering at the family reunion.
By Kim KincaidAt the risk of aging myself, I will confess to you that I was banned as a child from watching Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.”It was a Sunday night staple for years in my house. Aired in the 1960s, it was the first show to bring nature into our homes in story fashion. On TV right before the Wonderful World of Disney, it was one of my favorite shows ever.I loved watching the animals playing. I enjoyed it when the young of species went off on their own to explore the wilds. The narration and the filming made for a wonderful story in my little mind.My downfall came with the first mention of the weak in the herd.You see, that mention was always the prelude to a wild death chase, followed by a take-down of the weak. The aggressor would then lick its chops and meander off as though nothing happened.In a crazy twist of fate, the other herd members also wandered off as though it was just another Tuesday morning. Nothing going on. The weak herd member was eliminated, no biggie. Where’s the next watering hole?The only one taking it hard was me. No horror movie would have a greater effect on me than those water-hole death chases. I mourned for the weak of the herd for hours, often having difficulty going to sleep afterward.Thus, I was banned from watching.After a few months, I struck a deal with my mother that I could watch the shows until the weak herd members were identified, then I needed to leave the room.Fair enough. For me, that was a system that worked perfectly.Until last week.Our back yard became its own Wild Kingdom when the grand-puppy we were watching went outdoors for her morning run.She was fun to watch as she patrolled the perimeter of the fence, and sniffed through the flower beds for whatever it is dogs sniff out. Just a little ball of fluff, she kept me smiling as she got lost in the taller flowers that completely covered her.Then the weak of the herd made an appearance in the form of a baby bunny.The puppy saw the baby bunny long before my husband or I even knew a bunny nest had been planted in my tall grasses. And as quick as you could say death chase, our grand-puppy had snatched the weak bunny and was running with it.All of our yelling was of no avail. In fact, every yell we offered, combined with the squeals coming from that tiny bunny, caused her to shake it harder in her mouth.We tried to get the dog to drop the bunny, but remembered that following direction was never her strong suit. Especially when she had found the world’s best squeak toy.It was a horrendous few minutes. Finally, the broom was brought out and the dog saw the crazy in our eyes, dropping her still-breathing prey.My husband tossed the bunny to the other side of the fence, just to give it a chance for life. Truth be told, it was probably the toss that killed the critter as much as anything else.We decided puppy had seen enough of the great outdoors for a few minutes. We took her indoors where I hoped to gather my wits again.But stepping indoors, I was greeted by our two old cats who had a mouse cornered. No doubt, the weak of its herd.Enough Wild Kingdom. My mama banned me from that show for a very good reason.And I think I’m still not old enough to handle nature.
LIMA — The summertime lament will begin next week. The kids are out of school and bored. “There's nothing to do,” they complain.Well, hit them with this list and show them that in northwest Ohio this summer, there's no excuse to be bored. It's festivals, parades and fairs at every turn.Given today's economy, these festivals could be the budget-friendly answer for having a wonderful summer without draining the finances. In just a short drive from home, entertainment for all ages can be found.There's parades marking Memorial and Labor Days. If antique cars or farm equipment are your thing, there are shows that cater to that, as well as a Soap Box Derby to check out. If you like hot air balloons, there are a few festivals this year that feature just such spectacles.The smell of food will include everything from the cotton candy and waffle cones at county fairs to the pork rinds of Harrod's festival or the ribfest in Ottawa. To assure you don't miss one minute of fun this summer, we're providing you a helpful list of dates and events to keep you busy. Be sure to check out 360 on Friday through the summer to learn more. Pick some favorites, lather on the sunscreen, and enjoy your summer. MayMay 28: Memorial Day parade, Lima.May 28: Memorial Day parade, Lafayette.May 28: Memorial Day Garage Sales, Harrod.May 28: Petroliana Swap Meet and Antique Car Show, Mount Victory.May 29 to June 3: Alumapalooza 2012, Jackson Center.May 31 to June 3: Community Days, Jackson Center.JuneJune 1 to 3: St. Gerard Festival, Lima.June 1 and 2: June Art Festival, Van Wert.June 1 to 3: Peony Festival, Van Wert.June 3: Thunder Road, Lima.June 8 and 9: Firecracker Festival, Mendon.June 8 and 9: Pork Rind Festival, Harrod.June 8 to 10: Botkins Carousel, Botkins.June 9: Soap Box Derby, Lima.June 9 and 10: Bicentennial Fest, Hancock County Fairgrounds.June 14 to 17: Harvest Jubilee, Fort Recovery.June 14 to 17: Rally in the Corn, Van Wert.June 15: Festival of Wheels, Bluffton.June 15 and 16: Volunteer Firemen's Convention, Delphos.June 14 to 17: Rally in the Corn, Van Wert.June 15 and 16: Northwest Ohio Volunteer Fireman's Convention, Delphos.June 15 to 17: Rockford Community Days, Rockford.June 16: Soap Box Derby, Lima.June 21 to 23: Willshire Days, Willshire.June 22 to 24: Country Fest, Maria Stein.June 23: Fireman's Jamboree, Westminster.June 23 and 24: Gene Autry Days, Kenton.June 23: Riverside Wine Festival, Findlay.June 28 to 30: Summerfest, Spencerville.June 28 and 29: Old-Fashioned Farmer Days, Van Wert.June 29: Party in the Parkway, Wapakoneta.June 29 and 30: Independence Day, New Knoxville.June 29 to July 1: Freedom Days, Celina.June 30: Ohio National Championship Motorcycle Races, Lima.June 30: Lakeview Car and Craft Show, Lakeview.JulyJuly 1: Old Fashioned Farmers' Days, Van Wert.July 3 and 4: Kiwanis July 4 Celebration, Van Wert.July 4: Star Spangled Spectacular, Lima.July 6 to 8: 2012 Independent Film Festival, Lima.July 6 to 8: Tree Town Festival, Forest.July 7: Beach Spectacular and Fireworks, Lakeview.July 9 to 12: Country Concert, Fort Loramie.July 12 to 15: Summer Moon Festival, Wapakoneta.July 14 and 15: Railroad Weekend, Van Wert.July 19: Glass Heritage Festival, Fostoria.July 19 to 22: Ohio City/Lambert Days, Ohio City.July 20 and 21: Delphos Car Club Show, Delphos.July 21: Rhythm and Rib Fest, Ottawa.July 27 to 29: Wetzelland 2012, Van Wert.July 27 to 29: Lake Festival, Celina.July 27 and 28: NTPA Tractor Pulls, Fort Recovery.July 27 and 28: Vanlue Festival, Vanlue.AugustAug. 2 to 5: Worlds Longest Yard Sale, US 127.Aug. 3 and 4: Van Wert Rib Fest, Van Wert.Aug. 3 and 4: Square Fair 2012, Lima.Aug. 4: Marbletown Festival, Delphos.Aug. 4 to 6: Antique Machinery Show, Findlay.Aug. 9 to 11: Lincoln Highway Yard Sale, Lincoln Highway.Aug. 11 and 12: Immaculate Conception Summer Festival, Kenton.Aug. 10 to 12: St. Marys Summerfest, St. Marys.Aug. 10 to 12: Flag City BalloonFest, Findlay.Aug. 10 to 16: Mercer County Banner Fair, Celina.Aug. 16: Wren Homecoming Days, Wren.Aug. 17: Fort Jennings Bicentennial, Fort Jennings.Aug. 17 to 19: Bremenfest, New Bremen.Aug. 25 and 26: Governor's Cup Regatta, Celina.Aug. 31 to Sept. 2: Max's Waterdog Races/Swap Meet, Lima.SeptemberSept. 3: Labor Day Parade, Lima.Sept. 6 to 9: Pioneer Days, Kalida.Sept. 7 to 9: Hot Air Festival, Van Wert.Sept. 7 to 9: Civil War at the Fort, Fort Recovery.Sept. 14 to 16: Old Fashioned Canal Days, Delphos.Sept. 15: Laurel Oaks Hobby & Harvest Fair, Elida.Sept. 20 to 23: Rebel Run Rod & Custom Nationals Car Show, Lima.Sept. 21 to 23: Fall Festival, Indian Lake.Sept. 21 to 23: Community Days, Convoy.Sept. 29 and 30: National Dachshund Races, Findlay.Sept. 29 and 30: Fall Mums and Pumpkin Festival, Van Wert.County fairsAllen County Fair: Aug. 17 to 25Auglaize County Fair: July 29 to Aug. 4Hancock County Fair: Aug. 29 to Sept. 3Hardin County Fair: Sept. 4 to 9Logan County Fair: July 9 to 14Mercer County Fair: Aug. 10 to 16Putnam County Fair: June 18 to 23Van Wert County Fair: Aug. 29 to Sept. 3.
LIMA — A story to which everyone can relate told in a series of vignettes is the gist of The Ohio State University at Lima's musical comedy, “Company,” continuing through this weekend at the local campus.With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Tony-Award winning production tells the story of bachelor Robert who spends his 35th birthday contemplating the pros and cons of marriage through looks at his married friends and his own three girlfriends.“This is subject matter we can all relate to,” said Margaret Anich, director of the production. “He is examining his life choices, looking at his married friends and wondering why isn't he married. He wants to be married, but he's scared of commitment.”The play is originally set in New York in the 1970s, but Anich said it could be set in any town at any time. “It's a play focusing on the choices we all make in relationships,” she said.Unlike most plays, “Company” does not follow a clearly delineated plot. Instead, it offers short glimpses into Robert's life through a series of seeminly unrelated vignettes.“And these short vignettes are really something everyone can relate to. Everyone has either been in love at some time, or hopes to be. Everyone hopes to find someone they can relate to,” Anich said.“There's a lot of humor in this play. The Sondheim lyrics are clever, and the themes are sophisticated,” she said.
As I get older, people say I look like my mother.Growing up, I was always the daughter who looked more like Dad. It was both of my sisters that were carbon copies of Mom. Yet the older I get, the more I morph into her.Or so we're told.Some say we have the same smile. Others claim we have similar ways.The first shared thing I thought my Mom and I had in common were our index fingers.They don't necessarily look alike, but both of them automatically go into trigger position when we make a point. My kids call it the Mommy Finger.I wasn't certain, but I always suspected where it came from. Turns out, it's inherited.My oldest was about 4 years old when I saw my Mommy Finger aimed in his direction. “Do you understand me?” I asked him. As soon as I saw that finger, I thought of my own mom.And with that one gesture, I had become her.When she whipped out that finger the bravest among her four children would wither before her eyes. We never lied to her if the finger was present. We were convinced it was loaded and ready to shoot at the slightest whiff of wrong-doing.And like a child who has their entire name called when they've done wrong, that finger worked to let each of us know that whoever it was aimed at was in for a really long day.Naturally, the finger didn't appear on its own. It was always accompanied by squinting eyes and a grim look. I can proudly say, I've got that look mastered too.As a mother myself, I believe I took my inherited traits and tweaked the finger and squint with a crazy half-yell that has made for correction perfection. I like to think of it as the trifecta of punishment.When combined, it's a punishment from which no child can easily recover. And trust me, no one wants that punishment twice.Lost homework? My Mommy Finger always helped them put some extra effort into the search.Class clown antics had them rolling on the floor? Time for the squint to make an appearance. “You did what in class?”Never failed. Never happened again.If they weren't doing something they had been asked to do, I reached into my bag of mommy-tricks for the crazy half-yell.Put them all together, and it was blistering.But in all honesty, the Mommy Finger is not the first thing I would hope my children would remember about growing up in our household.I would hope they would think of lots of laughter. I would pray they would remember a quiet, safe place where they could come and talk and be loved. I would like them to think about any nugget of good advice I might have given somewhere along the way.I remember all of those things when I look at my mom. And when people tell me I'm like her, I can only hope that's true.She has always been the woman in my life who I looked to for strength and faith and hope. Her eyes always reflected the “me” I hoped to someday become.Even when I almost flunked typing class.Even when I ran the car into the garage.Even when I tried to lie my way around the Mommy Finger.In her eyes, I was wonderful.I hope my children see that same reflection in their mother's eyes.
By Kim KincaidHow do you put a price on perfection? That's what many of us will be estimating this week as we go shopping to find the perfect gift for Mother's Day.If you're like me, you have a mother who wants nothing.She doesn't just say she wants nothing, she really means it. And that makes shopping for her very difficult.Whatever the woman opens next Sunday, it will be too much in her estimation.Spring jacket? That's way too much for her, she will say. Gift card? I shouldn't have spent so much money. Card signed by me? Why did I go to all that trouble?She's the first to remind you, she's just a mom. And she's loved being a mom for all these years. Why make it into a gift day?Yet a quick check shows that my mom, as well as yours, really is worth a lot. Especially if you were to price out their jobs on the free market.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wages a mom could earn on the jobs she commonly does around the house top out at $60,182 annually. Because of today's economy, that's a drop from last year's $61,436.Crazy, you think?Try then to pay a housekeeper to sweep and dust the house regularly. And don't forget to mop the floors and wash the windows. Even to clear the table after a meal would cost you.Or, pay a chauffer to drive the kids to their games. Or their rehearsals. Or to the store late at night to pick up items needed for a school project due tomorrow but assigned two weeks prior.Blood pressure issues aside, that's a lot of driving.And a lot of scheduling. And a lot of consultation work in trying to find a prom dress, or a tux vest to match a prom dress.In all honesty, I think the $60 grand might actually be a little low. The medical profession makes more than that, and I know that most mothers have to don a stethoscope from time to time.Consider the doctoring needed when a cough keeps a little one up at night. Or the medical degree required to determine whether a child broke his leg or just twisted it. Or the psychiatric degree needed to navigate the icy waters of adolescence. When does a resolution require a parent to step in, and when does it require a parent to sniff the air and decide it just smells like normal teen drama? These are tough calls that not just any amatuer could handle.No, these issues, my friend, require a mother.As a mom who was fortunate enough to spend a few years as a stay-at-home mom, I can assure you that's the hardest time I ever put in. As much as I love my children, I longed for an eight-hour day with a coffee cup in my hand. I dreamed of the days I would schedule interviews rather than be on call for whatever emergency was placed before me.Times I wouldn't trade for the world, but times I knew first-hand the worth of a mother.So unlike my own mother, I'm putting my children on alert right now to start shopping. They have one week to put in gift-form all I have meant to them over the years.And now that they're older, the days of homemade cards and hugs are over. They can do that, too, but now I want those accompanied by accolades in the form of gifts. They know me. They know what I like. And if they can't find the perfect gift this week, it's OK. I'll take the payout.
By Kim KincaidYou know the only thing separating me, and you, from superstardom? Talent, you may guess? Maybe, but that’s not where I’m going with this. The unique ability to do something no one else can do? Maybe for you, but my skills are pretty run of the mill. No, that’s not it.I think the only thing superstars have that we don’t is an agent.We need someone to tell the world just how great we are. And, because we are so great, we need to be treated as great people are treated.Because of his agent, George Clooney gets a basketball court to himself wherever a movie set is built to accommodate his talents. Because of her agent, Katie Perry gets furniture in her dressing room in the colors she selects. And along with specific furniture, her 46-page rider contract also calls for a bevy of every kind of flower known to man — except carnations. She doesn’t like them, and her agent knows it. And shares it with the world.Madonna’s agent requires that a new toilet seat be installed in the star’s dressing room at every concert. And, that said toilet seat not show up on eBay after Madonna has left the building.So, talent, good looks and bravada aside, I’m certain that the only thing separating me, and you, from the elite is an agent.In fact, I would guess that these folks would be almost like us, if they didn’t have someone walking ahead of them trumpeting their greatness to the world, and determining because of that greatness they be treated differently than the rest of us.So, I have decided that like them, I need an agent.I make breakfast on a regular basis, and I think it’s about time someone recognizes that outstanding ability. I’m certain Paula Deen was just a mother with a skillet and a tub of butter before she hired an agent.My agent needs to negotiate that all of my ingredients (bagels and cream cheese, or cereal) be on the counter top in measured amounts, and the toaster be already out before I can lift my hand to work my magic.Moving on, the agent needs to find me a chauffeur to drive me into work. And, get the car warmed for my 10-mile journey before I climb in.Once at work, I need my own personal IT worker. I’m sure Woodward and Bernstein or James Patterson started with the same keyboard that faces me daily, but because of an agent they hit the big time.And, on days the computer is working slow, it can be so exasperating that sometimes it really ruins my day. Prose that could be golden crumbles to mediocrity because of frustration. My agent really does need to get on that problem.I like chocolate, so my agent could arrange a daily morsel or two for me to enjoy. Of course, I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate, and I might throw a tantrum if the two are mixed up, so my agent needs to be demanding. In the evenings, I enjoy taking the dog for a walk. However, I hate trudging outdoors on those windy, rainy days. I need an agent to either walk the puppy for me, or just hold an umbrella over my head so I’m not bothered by the elements. You know, I heard once that Cesar Millan started as a dog walker before an agent helped him become the dog whisperer.My husband doesn’t buy into my thinking. He believes hiring an agent is a waste of money.He claims I get enough glory without an agent. Ridiculous. And I’m going to tell him that just as soon as he finishes replacing the toilet seat.
By Kim KincaidThe art club at Shawnee High is going to the dogs. And the students there couldn’t be happier.You see, this month the kids are donating a tile mural they made, as well as donating their time and efforts, to the Allen County Humane Society.“Our art club wanted to do a community service project this year and work with a local non-profit. We wanted to use art as a way to enhance or bring attention to a particular cause. We chose the Humane Society to work with,” explained instructor and advisor Brian Krawetzke.To get the ball rolling, Krawetzke visited the shelter with camera in hand.“I was there for hours, taking pictures of all the dogs and cats. I’m a huge animal lover, and my heart goes out to these pets. I have one on my list right now that I’d like to adopt. I am on my second pound dog now, they’re just wonderful critters. They just want somebody to love them,” Krawetzke said.From his photos, the art club students artistically adopted an animal.They were charged to create a work of art in the animals’ likenesses. To do that, the students spent hours looking at the photo, and recreating the look in paint.“They got to choose which animal they wanted to paint, and they’ve spent a couple of months painting them Pop Art style,” Krawetzke said.Think Andy Warhol.Now finished, the 20-by-20-inch mural is being framed to give to the shelter. Additional copies of the poster will be given to the shelter’s thrift store in hopes of generating revenue for that agency.But that’s not where this story ends.“Our students are going to the shelter on April 15 to spend the day there. All the kids who have taken part in the project will spend the day with the animals. They are all anxious to meet the animals they’ve been looking at for all these weeks. Some of them have been adopted already, but we’re going to help socialize the animals and do whatever the society needs done on that day,” Krawetzke said.In his mind, the service project meets a few needs.First and foremost, he said the project “gives our art club members the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of painting.”Secondly, Krawetzke said this project teaches students to give of themselves to a cause. “This gives students the opportunity to do something for charity with no intentions of getting anything back. This is not a project where we can drop off the posters and call it done. We’re going to spend the day with these animals.”And the students have embraced the project.“We always party hearty at art club, and we aim to have fun. But this is something that’s good to do. It’s right to do,” Krawetzke added.And he believes the tagline on the poster really sums up the project.“We put on the poster, ‘Create a More Colorful Life.’ That says it all,” Krawetzke said.And as any animal lover can tell you, having a pet in your life really does create a more colorful life.Well done, Shawnee art club.
By Kim KincaidClass reunions have never really been my thing. In fact, in the 30-plus years since I’ve graduated from high school, I’ve only gone twice to alumni gatherings.Don’t get me wrong, I graduated from Columbus Grove High with some really great people. Only problem was when you move to the school as a junior in high school, there’s really not too much “memory creating” time. So, my motto has always been to leave the remembering to those who actually do.However, last weekend my alma mater had a sale of many of old school items as they make room for a new building. Up for grabs were the desks, lockers, bleachers, clocks, yearbooks and gym floor of the old building.Never having been to an auction in my life, my husband and I headed over to watch. At this point in our lives we’re down-sizing so we weren’t interested in buying. There were enough people there to do that.No, we just wanted to see how the process worked. We had decided to be careful not to raise our hands or even scratch our noses, lest we go home with a truckload of old school.First person I ran into was standing in the library, telling stories.“See those books in that pile? I remember my senior year Miss Myers slamming down two books just that size on the library table, threatening to flunk two senior boys she had found switching term papers to turn into her,” said one lady about my age. Continuing her story, she said this pint-size teacher had scared the living daylights out of those two football playing seniors. And, after slamming the books on the library table, she gave each of the boys one of those thick books saying she wanted it read and reported on in two days if they wanted their diplomas signed.Those gathered around the table remembered that story as they laughed and nodded their heads at the memory.A younger man stood by the high school annuals. His parents had met and married after sharing 12 years of school together. “Many a times divorce lawyers were not needed because Mom and Dad could go to the old yearbooks to settle any argument,” he said.In another room, an old teacher’s wooden desk went for a good price. No stories to accompany that particular desk, but it was obvious by the wear and tear that the piece had stood solid through decades of youngsters.Elsewhere, row after row of pint-sized desks were being carried out. One little girl was narrating to her mother which child in her class had occupied every desk less than one week prior. I questioned her knowledge, until I saw the children’s names on the desks in that clear print that only a teacher can manage.There were bookcases that were bowed in the middle from years of holding heavy books.People were standing by lockers hoping to latch onto the one they used as a senior. Two-sided clocks from the hallway had one person remembering exactly how much time he had to get from his history class to band — a nearly impossible run in the few minutes allotted. “I always knew if I wasn’t at the gym — my halfway point — by the time the second hand hit the 9, I’d be late,” he said.Even an old yardstick came with school memories.“I know that’s the one the teacher used to slap on the desk to wake us up,” one older man said.Time went quickly that day as we stood and listened to the stories.I think I’ll go to the next class reunion. I enjoy the memories, even if they’re not mine.
Most people would not confuse Erica Kane with Kim Kincaid.Granted, one of us is fictional and the other not, but last week I had the opportunity to merge our lives and see how this ying-yang lifestyle might work out.You see, Erica’s clothes from the now defunct soap opera “All My Children,” were among the items being auctioned by “It’s a Wrap,” an online auction site of movie and television clothing and props. They also have two stores in California, but since a flight to the west coast wasn’t in my plans for the week, I opted for the online sale.Not that I’ve ever been a big soap opera fan, but Erica, as portrayed since 1970 by actress Susan Lucci, did dress well. And this sale promised her clothing on sale for up to 95 percent off retail. What woman could pass that deal?My only fear was once I started wearing some of the Erica Cane closet collection, would my life ever be the same?If clothes make the woman, what would my life become once dolled up as Pine Valley’s legend?Yet this afternoon bad girl was not just legend in Pine Valley. TV Guide once wrote that Erica Kane was the most famous soap opera character in the history of daytime television. Given that truth, I realized there would be a lot of responsibility fall upon my shoulders if I began appearing in public in her duds.People would expect things of me. I would need to start behaving as my clothes would no-doubt dictate.First and foremost, my marriage would need to end. This is my first marriage, and Erica has had seven weddings, including one to a Tibetan Monk. I would need to kick it into overdrive to keep up with my what these clothes can do.For most of my life, I’ve either been a stay-at-home mom or worked at the newspaper. How boring that would be in Erica’s world. She’s been a talk show host, a business executive, a model, a restaurant hostess, and a best-selling author. Employ in any of those jobs probably wouldn’t be as difficult as it might sound. My new clothes would be my resume.Naturally, I’d have to go with an alias. Erica has used both Sheila and Desiree Dubois. I think many might believe I would pick Sheila as my nom de plume, but I think Desiree Dubois is more to my liking. It’s the new mysterious Kim, not the open-book version I’ve been the last 55 years.On the frightening side, these new clothes could mean I’d have my children taken away in a horrific custody battle. Or I’d be in a bad accident that would disfigure me beyond recognition. Or I’d be arrested by the government for insider trading.It would almost be like a new story would unfold every day.The idea of this was starting to appeal to me. I might even win an award for making it through my dangerous life, but more likely than not I’d just be nominated. And in my book, that’s no honor.I had decided to go with the plan and buy at least one dress that would change my life. Maybe something in red to show people I wasn’t kidding.I checked the shoe size and Erica wore a size 7, just like me. I scrolled through the photos of shoes she wore, and granted most of them were higher heeled than the flats I normally slip on, but I could give it a try.Then I checked the dress size. Seems Erica is a tiny slip of a girl. It would take two of her dresses to get enough material to cover one me.And the more I thought about it, the more I realized Pine Valley’s bad girl wouldn’t really play in Lima. At least not on me.Guess I’ll have to wait until “All in the Family” puts Edith’s clothes on sale.
By Kim KincaidAt my family’s Christmas gift exchange, the Surf Ohio T-shirt my brother-in-law brought was the item we were all ready to trade our children to attain. With few exceptions, all 16 of us traded our gifts for the shirt that read Surf Ohio on one side, and Ottawa River Masters Surfing Classic, Lima, Ohio, on the other.Because of that Lima connection, my husband was the last gift grabber and ultimate winner.I complained loudly enough that for my birthday, my brother-in-law sent me my own Surf Ohio swag. And with it, he told me the guy responsible for the shirt was from our shared alma mater, Ohio University in Athens.I had to call him. From somewhere in the depths of my memory, I remembered Surf Ohio when I roamed the streets of Athens. And sure enough, Ron Kaplan, Surf Ohio founder, said my memory was not faulty. He had gotten his start selling the shirts at OU in the late ‘70s.Back when it meant something. Back in the day. My day.“Actually, I first sold them in Columbus. I grew up there on the Olentangy River. My brothers used to have a lot of Beach Boys albums, and as a young teen I would listen to those, and I was obsessed with the beach scene and sunsets. When the Beach Boys played in Columbus, I came up with the idea of the Olentangy Surfing Classic and put it on T-shirts that I thought the band would enjoy me selling in the parking lot. Thankfully, I didn’t get busted for that,” Kaplan said.Fast forward a few years to Ohio University, and he was still designing shirts for sale. In 1976, he printed “Disco Sucks” on the shirts. The following year, “Disco Still Sucks.”Can’t argue with that.In ‘78, he used his Surf Ohio concept with the local waterway nearest Athens, the Hocking River. To promote the shirts, signs were hung around town promoting the Hocking River surfing classic. Such was the stampede of college kids to register for the classic that the school newspaper had to print a story saying the surfing classic was a hoax to sell T-shirts. Adding insult to injury, the $4.49 price to enter the competition was actually just the price of the shirt.“At the time, I was printing them in an empty dorm room,” Kaplan said. He couldn’t keep up with the demand and soon abandoned the plan to head home for Christmas vacation.Priorities.After graduation, he reinvented the idea and sold the concept to actors on Family Ties, which was supposedly set in Ohio. Those crazy kids wore some of the shirts during that program’s heyday.But time moves on, and so did Kaplan.He took a job with a non-profit, got married and had twin sons. But as his sons got older, they suggested he kick-start the Surf Ohio concept again.“I agreed that it was time to get my entreprenuerial DNA stirred up again, so Surf Ohio started again,” Kaplan said.He has gotten orders for the shirts from as far away as Hawaii. “One guy told me his first Surf Ohio shirt was threadbare, but he still wore and still got lots of comments on it whenever he brought it out,” Kaplan said.The shirts have turned up in unusual places, including on the backs of the Ohio band, The Black Keys, who wore them in concert.“The 20-somethings think they’re the coolest thing,” he said, chuckling at the resurgent popularity. He has also spoken with folks from the television shows “Glee” and “Hot in Cleveland,” both set in Ohio, to see if there was interest there.“This isn’t my full-time job. It’s my hobby, but it’s fun to see where it goes,” Kaplan said.I told him the shirts went to our Christmas, and they were the hit of the party. He didn’t seem surprised.
By Kim KincaidShe’s been family for so long, sisters Phyllis Butler and Janet McClintock have to think hard to remember when Carol married their brother Neil Meeks.“Let’s see, they got married right before the tornado on Easter. I don’t remember the year, but I remember we were so worried about them, and they never even knew about it because they were on their honeymoon,” said Janet.So when Carol’s cancer returned recently after 15 years of being cancer free, the sisters wanted to wrap Carol in their love and let her know their thoughts and prayers were with her all the time.“Phyllis had seen a quilt with hand prints sewn in it on the Internet, but when we thought about making a quilt for Carol — that quilt — we couldn’t find it online,” Janet said.So the sisters, Janet a quilter and Phyllis a sewer and a planner, put their heads together and came up with their own idea for a quilt covered with hands. But they took it a step further and decided to use the hand prints of family to sew in the quilt.At Christmas, the covert mission began. The two sisters called family one-by-one aside and traced their hands, explaining to each their plans for the quilt. Some family, including Neil and Carol’s daughter and her family living in Israel, couldn’t attend the family gathering so instead sent their family’s hand prints via email to be traced.The first weekend in January, Phyllis came to Janet’s Lima home from Marion, and the two poured over Janet’s scrap material to find just the right pieces for the quilt. “We looked through my stash and couldn’t believe how much brown I had. That’s Carol’s color, so we went with it. One family member is in the Army, so we cut his hand out in a camouflage scrap,” Janet said.The handprints of Janet and Phyllis were done in floral scraps of material.From morning until after midnight, the sisters cut and stitched. The next day, they started again. As they had time throughout the coming weeks, they continued their task, until the quilted coverlet was completed.“On the back, we covered it in flannel to make it cozy and extra warm,” Janet said.On Jan. 22, the sisters took the quilt, along with a meal, to Carol’s home in Indiana and surprised her with it.“She was at a low spot that day in treatment, and I think seeing that quilt was just what she needed. The love and support of the people in her family really came through,” Janet said.“We told our brother that the quilt was big enough that the two of them could cuddle together under it,” Janet added.When finished, the quilt had 54 hands covering it. Among those hands are those of the family patriarch Philip Meeks, 91 years old. The youngest is from a 2-month-old baby.The prints come from as far away as Israel, Washington, Illinois, New York and Wyoming. They come from as near as Lima, Cairo and Marion. But they’re all there, ready to cover Carol in love.“I think she was surprised and touched to get it,” Janet said.And 54 people kept the secret of the hand quilt?“That’s what they’re saying,” Janet said.“The love of family is life’s greatest blessing. We believe that. And at the bottom of the quilt, we put a small sign that said this quilt was sewn with love for our Carol.”
LIMA — It's never too early to start planning ways to show your best girl, or guy, a little Valentine love.To help you out, the Lima Beane Chorus will again offer their popular Singing Valentines all day on Feb. 14.“We say this is cheaper than a dozen roses and healthier than a box of chocolates,” said chorus member Charles Huffman.On that day, chorus quartets, dressed either in tuxedos or the official red blazers of the Lima Beane Chorus, will visit your loved one and serenade them with two songs.“We usually call the person by name and give them a chair to sit in, then we circle that chair and sing. We also deliver any message we've been given for that person,” said Jim Michael, president of the chorus.“Normally, there's some tears shed. That can be hard on the chorus members because once these ladies start crying, it's easy to shed some tears with them, and it's hard to sing when you cry,” Michael said.Of course, it's gone south on a few occasions too.Michael said more women prefer the serenade than do men. “And we've had a time or two when the marriage wasn't real good and the lady didn't appreciate the song. We had one who wouldn't stay,” Michael said.Memorable results, always.After the serenade, recipients are handed a mug filled with candy and information on the Lima Beane Chorus's March 10 barbershop show.“This is a fun day for us, and we make certain it's a fun day for everyone getting a singing valentine,” Michael said.
LIMA — Celebrate the art in your life.Embrace what you love, recognize it for the art that it is, and don't be afraid to surround yourself with it. That's the message being preached the next three weeks when ArtSpace/Lima hosts its annual winter lecture series, “The Art in Your Life.”“Everybody has art in their lives. It's time to recognize it,” explained Bill Sullivan, operations manager for ArtSpace.Helping in that regard are three artists who know of what they speak. Painter Laura Corle teaches and practices her art, as does artist and teacher Linda Lehman, while artist and teacher Brian Krawetzke also works at a framing shop in Findlay.Kicking off the lecture series, Corle wants to guide people into the benefits of art in their lives.“I know a woman who built a magnificent home. I asked her about buying a painting for it, and she said she'd gotten a Renoir reproduction and had it framed. I asked her why she went with a reproduction, and she said she didn't know if original art would be any good,” Corle said.“I want people to make a leap and say ‘I like it' and therefore, I will buy it. It's doesn't have to be of market value, there's value in it to you. You like it, and that's the value,” Corle said.The lesson to be learned? Trust yourself, and what you like. “It's just like buying clothing. Finding something you like is a very personal thing. What touches someone else might mean nothing to you, but you need to find what it is that captures your eye and heart,” she said.But, for those who want to buy a piece by the masters, or even the wanna-be's, Corle wants to make certain people know what they're buying and what the market value might be for a particular piece.“For example, a print is different from a reproduction. A print has plates that are hand made and a reproduction is a glorified copy. I have seen people pay up to $1,000 for a reproduction, thinking it was a print. I don't want that to happen,” Corle said.Linda Lehman also wants to inspire people to give the local arts a chance.“A lot of art is a narrative, a story. The more you know about that story, the more interesting it is to you,” Lehman said. She suggests people begin browsing museums and art shows just to see what it is that draws them.“I like starting a conversation about art to really help people see a piece. One of my favorites is to begin by ‘I see, I think, I wonder.' It helps you look at something on the surface by asking yourself what you see. Then you go a little deeper with what do you think. And finally you delve deeper and begin to think more critically with what you wonder about a piece,” Lehman said.“It's important to appreciate art, and to have a tolerance for different forms of art. Learn about it, reserve judgement until you think about it. One of the beauties of art is that it's so individualized. Art gives us a lot to think about,” Lehman said.Opening your mind even farther, Brian Krawetzke said people need to really think outside the box on what they want to hang in their home or office space. A teacher as well as a manager at Gaslight Framing Plus in Findlay, he sees a lot of potential art come his way.“I love history, and one man brought in to the shop his discharge papers from World War II, and his father's discharge papers from World War I. He also had some medals and a little sliver of a parachute from France. Such history for him, and we framed it for him to hang in his home. That's the sort of thing you don't want to put in a drawer, you want to put that out. Hang it as art,” Krawetzke said.“We've framed jerseys. We framed a tie for a guy who was retiring. We've framed everything but the kitchen sink is what we say. We like that people bring in things that have meaning and purpose in their lives,” he adds.Everything from basic frames to frames that constitute art themselves, Krawetzke will discuss. “Framing is an art in itself. It also helps conserve a work, it raises the re-sale value of art work, and prolongs the life of it.”Still we need to know, how high should art work hang? Should it be displayed asymetrical or balanced? How should it be arranged and on what wall should it hang? Does the art work and frame need to match the couch?“These are all questions we get a lot, and we're going to discuss it. We don't want people to be inhibited by art. We want people to have fun with it, and enjoy it,” Krawetzke added.
Celina's Merl Brookhart at 82 years old is trustworthy, loyal, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.He has to be. He's a Boy Scout.“A few years ago in the Lake Fest parade, they put me in a car that said I was the oldest active Scout in the area. That was pretty nice,” Brookhart said.For Brookhart, being a Scout was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.“From the time I was 8 years old I wanted to be a Boy Scout,” he remembers.His love for all things Scouting began the first time he thumbed through his older brother's Boys' Life magazine, the official magazine of Boy Scouts of America.“My old aunt gave a subscription of that to my brother. I was 8 years old, and I wanted to be just like the boys in that magazine and do all the things they did. I really wanted to get the chance to go camping,” Brookhart recalls.But the world at that time was not a good place for boys' dreams to come true.“At the time, it cost 50 cents a year to be a Boy Scout. The Depression was going on, and we didn't have that kind of money. Think about it,” Brookhart said.But by the time he was 16, the financial strain had lessened, and he could find the 50 cents annually to join the Scouts.“I was older when I got to be a Scout, but I still enjoyed it. I got some awards like the Silver Beaver, and I went three times as an adult to the Boy Scout Ranch in New Mexico.”Brookhart was so happy with the Scouting program that he served as a Scout Master for his three sons as they got older. Twelve years he volunteered in the Coldwater area, and later in Celina.“My job was working for oil companies, building stations in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Monday night was always Scout meeting, so I always made sure I was home on Monday night,” he said.Even when the days were long and the drive longer, it was important to Brookhart to give his sons the same joy he got from Scouting. “I had three boys and all were Scouts, but no Eagles. I have two girls, too, and they were both Cub Scout leaders,” he said, chuckling.So what is it about the Scouting that means so much to Brookhart, even after 66 years?“I don't know that you can put a name to it. I learned a lot. Before Scouting, I couldn't cook on an open fire. After a few years I could cook, and even gave demonstrations. It just taught me a lot, and I had fun along the way.“I tell people that the only thing I got anymore is what I give away. You can't really put a price on what the Scouts gave me. And if I can help out others in that, it's good.”He's quick to point out that he's now a registered Scout, if not an active one.“Sure, if they do things I can do, I try to make it. But that's getting harder and harder to do.”Yet in his heart, he will always be a Boy Scout.“I think it's just something that was born in me. I still call myself a Scout,” he said.And does he still follow the Scout law of being loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent?“Well, I work at it. Sometimes I do it, but I always work at it,” he said, chuckling.Like a good Scout young or old, he's always prepared to do his best.
My favorite meal has always been anything in a sandwich bun.Roast beef, turkey, chicken — if it's between two slices of bread, I'm a fan. Add some mayonnaise, why not? It's a sandwich, everything but the kitchen sink is good in there. Normally I'm not a huge fan of avocado, but in a sandwich it's great. Same with corned beef and sauerkraut. Heaven in a bun.I don't even have to know what's between the slices. I have a trust that no sandwich will ever let me down. If it's good enough to get wrapped in bread, it's good enough for me.Perhaps what I really enjoy about a sandwich is that it can be eaten on the run. In fact, it was created just because someone needed a meal-on-the-go centuries back.Seems an 18th century servant was the first to layer meat between bread so that his boss, John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, could eat and not leave an intense card game.Poor devil probably never got the royalties he or she deserved. Absolutely not the recognition as the creation was named for the needy card player, not the imaginative servant.And since that first sandwich, it has grown in popularity to become a mealtime classic.At least in my house.But much to my amazement, I found recently that I am a sandwich purist. I prefer my sandwich with some form of meat, and the common condiments known to all. Mustard, ketchup, onion are good, and if I'm feeling particularly daring, peppers and mushrooms.Seems that these days, the idea of sandwich is expanding as rapidly as the waistline of sandwich lovers like me. Case in point, my husband and I joined some friends in a Chicago restaurant my husband had seen on the television show, Man v. Food Nation. On that show, the host competes weekly to eat the most food any restaurant can offer. In Chicago, he had gone to a little pub that my husband wanted to scout, certain he could beat the challenge.And in this tiny spot, the walls were lined with glossy photos of successful eaters. Beside their smiling faces were the trophies they were awarded for beating the challenge.Said challenge involved eating three sandwiches in under an hour.My husband was certain he could do that. Heck, I was pretty sure I could do the same. Three sandwiches in an hour? I saw another couple's plates and the sandwiches didn't look too daunting. Bring it.So we ordered the sandwiches, which came in basket form complete with fries and slaw.Never did we imagine that the entire basket — meat, cheese, slaw and fries, would be between the sourdough bread slices.It was so large that we could barely fit the entire thing in our mouths. I saw this as a problem. My husband saw it as a dream come true. In his mind's eye, his glossy photo would be hanging on the wall within the hour.The first bite went down easily. As did the second and third. By the halfway point, he was beginning to slow. I could cheer him on because I had given up the challenge instantly. I knew that was not the sandwich for me.My other half had no such recognition. He was certain he could beat the clock and finish the challenge.And had the challenge been to finish one sandwich in an hour, he might have made it.Alas, no photo. No trophy. No bragging rights. But also, no belly ache. We could still walk out the pub after our meal-on-the-go.And that, I assured my would-be champion, did the Earl of Sandwich proud.