Merry Christmas from Ohio

I’m currently at my mother in law’s near Lebanon, OH. Up until recently she lived in Cincinnati but she’s moved closer to family. We were supposed to arrive yesterday but weather predictions were lousy so we drove Thursday. It went fine until the last dozen miles or so, which probably took an hour. It’s late, we’re coming down I71 and it’s raining and about 40 degrees. Then the temperature starts dropping. Fast. When we reach our exit to go across country to our hotel in Monroe it’s snowing. Not in the forecast. I deliberately left a shovel at home. It’s sticking, it’s blowing like mad, cars are getting hauled out of ditches, semis can’t make it up hills, and for both reasons we’ve got to make U-turns and figure out ways around our route. The snow is very fine. Temp is now about 16 degrees and when I pull into a lot to try to clear my windshield the snow is so fine my hair’s getting wet at that temperature. We eventually get there. Long day, a bit under 600 miles.

Yesterday morning we get up and it’s I think it’s like that store I just shopped in for stocking stuffers: Five Below. I’ve been in colder; last winter at home it hit 14 below; but at 14 below we didn’t have wind. Yesterday we had high winds, at one point high enough to rock the minivan I’m sitting in parked. Wind chill hit -28. That I’ve never been in before. I do not recommend it. It stayed like that basically all day. Today things are warming up. Right now it’s ten degrees. I never thought I’d look at ten degrees as a relief from the cold but it absolutely is.

Yesterday I carried out lunch from a Skyline. Once I found out there was one close If you haven’t been to this part of the country you may not know about Skyline. They do fast foot Cincinnati chili, which mainly means chili over spaghetti, often with cheddar and onions. You wouldn’t confuse this with anything Mexican and you certainly wouldn’t confuse the spaghetti with anything Italian, but this is a good thing nonetheless.

We were trying to phone order a meal for today from home before we came. Kroger makes carryout meals but they were all booked. On the way here we ate dinner at a Bob Evans and noticed they made meals like that. We knew there would be some near where we were going. If you’ve spent time in this part of the country, chances are you know what a Bob Evans is. They’re based in Ohio so there are zillions of them here. If you don’t, they’re sort of a second cousin to a Cracker Barrel. If you don’t know what a Cracker Barrel is… Both are reasonably priced sit down places with a country shtick – not like country music but sort of neo-traditional. Think “Pepperidge Fahm remembers.” Having just finished lunch, I’m glad Kroger’s couldn’t do it. The food was seriously good, even if I had to shlep back to Bob Evans because they forgot to put gravy in my order.

I placed the order yesterday. I was trying to leave my name. Being a New Yorker by upbringing I talk fast. My last name is unusual and starts with a T, so I’ll say Steve T as in Tom….etc. But I’m not sure she’s getting it so I spell it in airline/military, something I learned with Jonah, so I start “Tango…” I get there this morning to pick up the meal and


Have any of you ever seen a tree like this?

It’s apparently called a feather tree. It’s maybe a yard tall. This one dates from about 1940. It’s what my mother in law is using. I’m not sure how old the ornaments are, though I’ve seen some like these that date from the fifties.

Of course there are two holidays going on which will, unusually, end at the same time.

Happy Chanukah from Ohio.