Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Parades

The weather was nice and there was a promise of sun so Stuart and I headed downtown to Lebanon last Saturday for the first time in years to watch the Holiday Carriage Parade.  I didn't pay attention to how many carriages past but the local paper later informed me that there were more than 120 so I guess it was okay that I wasn't counting other than there were .  Lebanon holds the parades annually.  The only entries allowed are horses (donkeys and mules) and carriages.  One at 1 pm and a second one at 7 pm. For the evening one, in the past anyway, the organizers pass out small candles and the audience becomes part of the festivities.  As you can see most of the carriages are decked out for the holiday.  What you might not notice are all the batteries sitting in the back. There were even a few with small Honda generators fastened behind the seats.  All for the lights in the evening.  I passed on the evening parade even though for once I don't think it is going to be so bone chilling cold.  You will just have to use your imagination regarding an evening filled with musical clop, clopping and twinkling lights....

This is how Lebanon celebrates the holidays.    We started the afternoon watching the parade from one of the back streets. Fewer spectators and a thinner crowd.   As we were waiting a teacher I had worked with going back to the 70's recognized me from across the street and walked up to surprise me.  Stuart and I came went across to watch with her and a friend of hers that had come.  It was a wonderful surprise.

Along the back streets you didn't have as much crowd to look through and the streets are not as wide.

I tried for a video clip of two of the rigs. The clips are full of clip clops and harness bells but alas, I could not get them to load from iPhoto.  I think I may have to post them differently than I did before. I will work on that......

After watching the parade, Stuart and I  decided to walk over to the old school grounds were the staging area was and where most of the participants were hanging out and relaxing until time for the evening parade rolled around.

These guys were pretty cute. There driver said that they had belonged to her father. She raised quarter horses and had made fun of her father's interest...until she inherited the little guys.   She said that it is so much fun, even when they were so very naughty as apparently they had been in the earlier parade.  She said that they just know that you can't correct them right out in the middle of the street with everyone watching and then thinking that people are mean.  Apparently they did had a little attitude adjustment back in the parking lot in preparation for a smoother performance in the evening.

While I was talking and taking their picture, her friend was photographing Stuart sitting quietly over on the grass upon request.  "He's poising isn't he?"  Yeah, will he was. He thought himself rather handsome and liked the attention.

On Monday, all this turns back into a school parking lot.

Good butt shot...

Heading back to the car, we watch one of the carriages heading over to the main street. They didn't get to rest up between parades as much.   These guys were used to working the street, The motor cycles and cars did not phase them.   And were all parade participants are required to have at least one "side walker" walking along with the carriage, these professionals worked the streets on their own.

"You are right, Stuart, that is no pony!"


After wandering around the staging area we headed back up towards the main street, in this case Broadway.  The main street through Lebanon was designed to be wide enough to turn stages and carriages around with room to spare.  It is a perfect setting for a modern parade.  The street is lined with chairs reserving the front row seats for the evenings performance. By seven o'clock the sidewalks on both sides will be filled and hard pressed to let crowds even wander through.   These two blocks remained blocked off all day. There was a stage set up between the blocks and local youth gave holiday performances with music and dancing. 

The hotel on the corner is the Golden Lamb, famous tavern and stop on the original stage coach roads between Columbus and Cincinnati.

Another pair of professionals giving rides along the blocked off street to the parade crowds.  They completed their turn in the wide street quite handily, as long as the strolling bystanders were paying attention and stayed out of their way.

So, it only took me a week to post last Saturday's pictures.   No excuses, life is in the slow lane right about now.  Getting oil changes on the Short Bus and the car and sending off for a new set of steps to replace the ones that got flattened.  The boys make me leave the house from time to time to take them to read with the kids at the library and visit their friends at the nursing home. The have gotten used to both doing "ride-a-longs" every change they get.  

They also had me take some pictures for the annual Christmas card that they hand out to their friends.

"Honest, Santa, we have been very good." 

But the boys still miss their Big Red Elf....he is up there somewhere helping Santa this year.....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Small Journeys

This blog entry is made up of several recent trips and adventures and whatever was left on my camera from my trip to Alabama.

There was that stop over at the Blue Marlin Bed and Breakfast place in NW TN, but somehow the cameras never got out to record anything.  Doesn't mean that it didn't happen though, or that Stuart dog did not once again find his way into the pond or enjoy being able to run the estate off lead with a bouncy Remi dog on his heels or that they both tried out all of Miss Abby's beds to see which ones were the softest.

Then off we went to take another side trip to Illinois to check in with BJ in Carbondale.  Only a day before the campground was to close for the season but good enough for me. It was quiet and sparsely populated on these last days of October but also a National Wildlife Refuge which  means 50% off for us "magic" old people's card holders.   Ten dollars can get you this!  Stop by and visit BJ more often I think. Most all the sites were easy to get into and flat and graveled and close to the city.  BJ was kind enough to pick me up and let me attend her evening hypnosis class at the Community College with her.  It was good.  I am thinking that living near a Community College that allows local seniors to attend classes for free is a real plus in that "location, location, location" real estate advertising. 

 On the drive back towards Ohio I stopped again in the Hoosier National Forest. Because I have visited so long with BJ in the earlier part of the day and because I knew where I was headed, I drove past dark to pull into the campground without even a moon to show the way and no Hosts left.  Since it was considered off season and I had that magic card the dogs and I paid all of $4 in the slot for electric and water. When walking the boys at night there was only one other, a 5th wheel, in the park. By morning a second traveler had arrived apparently after I was sleeping.   Remi and Stuart really didn't care how many folks had moved south or stayed home, they enjoyed the morning hike in the sunshine.

First Tuesday of the month and the boys know that they get to go to the library.  Here Remington listens carefully to his reader.  It is a wonder to watch a dog that you know still has many fears in his life figure out that kids reading books to him are not one of the things he needs to fear.

Later in November I got invited to a puppy evaluation party for a small litter of English Cockers.  I think the puppies were also evaluating the host's children.  "Looks like good bone structure to me. What do you think?"

"Temperament seems fine, also. Doesn't appear to be frightened." says the pupper.

And then it was turn for the humans to look at the puppers.

There is a lot of looking at angles and proportions and feeling for bones....

"Wow, that was fun. Anyone else what to check us out some more?"

"You do know that my rear may not be my most endearing angle, don't you?"

"I'll stand still if you will?"  "Pass some of that cheese stick back here, will you?"

After getting a good puppy fix I was able to drive back to Lebanon and hug my own.

And then came the wonderful weather around Thanksgiving.  Ohio was gifted with several beautiful 60 degree sunshine days.  Remi and Stuart noticed and demanded to be taken out of the house and to the woods and fields.

Remi has graduated to taking hikes off lead when the environment provides an opportunity.

Stuart enjoyed out standing in his field.  He kept reminding me that he is a "flushing" spaniel and is suppose to find all those hidden birds in the underbrush.  "You aren't worried about the burrs are you?" he smiles back at me.

A few minutes later Stuart and I have traveled down an old path that now has no outlet.  We decide just to muscle through to meet up with the path we know we can find traveling next to the edge of the trees.  

"Whoa, just wait a minute!" Comes the silent plea from a small gray, off lead  Remi.   "I have gotten a lot braver about this wandering through the wilderness part, but I draw the line at dense underbrush that is way too tall and thick.  You guys do remember that I am not very tall, right? I am NOT  a flushing spaniel and I don't do brambles. I am not moving. Please come back and help me over this stuff!"

After the Remi rescue and making our way safely to the edge of the woods, we all continued.   Stuart suggested going down to the creek.  It was here that we began to really miss our big red Herschel dog and all the fun he used to have in these woods....  We could see him trotting just ahead, sniffing everything that needed sniffing and turning from time to time to look back to make sure we were still following him.

Yes, it is good to know where the creeks are.  Stuart still wondered why he wasn't taking the trail directly to the lake...

So for today he only got to look at the water and no swimming, sigh.....

So on we went without a swim but through the woods, avoiding the brambles and sticking to the paths that Remi likes best......