Fortress of Solitude: Part 3: Simple Living
The next day in Ohio, we woke up to temperatures in the 60s. It was amazing. I enjoyed some hot coffee and Mark enjoyed being outside. He went just about everywhere, all over the place in his bare feet. The grass is so much softer up there. If I said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Mark got to get outside and explore quite a bit. We also played in the house. It was beautiful and reminiscent of when my brother and I would play up there.
Summertime in Ohio is truly something else. Especially in a town so small and so simple. I don’t mean any of that as a bad thing. It just brings to light what simpler times were like.
For instance, after our coffee and morning breakfast, Mark and my Aunt went outside and he got to help her mow the lawn. It doesn’t seem like a big deal and honestly, to me, it didn’t either… until I saw his face light up when she turned the riding lawn mower on. At first, Mark was taken aback, but his face… that big ole smile took over his frightened expression in an instant!
He had the time of his life. He sat on her lap and she would let him steer all around the property. Thank God for no HOA up there, otherwise, I am sure a few grumpy folks would’ve had a thing or two to say about my three-year-old’s lawn cutting ability. When he was done, she loaded him up in the back and cruised around some more. Mark has never done that before so this was another first and it will certainly not be the last. Watching him go up and down the same driveway, I would rollerblade on, or ride my dad’s bike from 1980-something, or catch lightning bugs on, put a huge smile on my face
Later that day, we traveled across the small town to visit more family. I hadn’t seen this family since I was a little girl, visiting them in Titusville. Moving out of Titusville was such a good decision for their family. As Florida continues to get overrun by snowbirds and people escaping their current cities for a year-round vacation land, I can see why one would decide to up and leave for someplace more… simple. Not that there is anything wrong with that (shoot… if I had my way, I would be up there too).
The afternoon was spent sitting on the porch, snacking on chips, watermelon, and grapes and talking about how life has changed each one of us. It was great fun to sit down and laugh and catch up. It is something I feel we don’t do often. I am not talking about my family and I. I just mean us as in all of us. People. Humans. In this day in age, we simply don’t stop. We don’t stop to smell the roses or the coffee, or the crisp cool Ohio air. We get so caught up with ourselves and our lives that we forget to ask about anyone else. This trip really put that into perspective.
The evening was spent with Mark taking another ride (or two) around on the tractor with my Aunt. While I sat on the porch and just watched. The two of them walked down to the lake and enjoyed the sun slowly creeping down below the treeline. The breeze danced again and the cottonwood tree released more “snow”. It was sad to know that the next day, we began our journey home… to our real home.
I say it like that because, in some strange way, Ohio will always be home to me too. Who knows? Maybe this is why my grandmother remained a snowbird. She came down to Florida for my dad, my brother, and I … but she would always return to Ohio and I finally think I understand why. It just breaks my heart to think it’s too late to tell her all of this.