Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Just Another Friday; or, A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight

We often go to movies on Friday night, but last night the mood was not there--so we headed out on what has become one of our occasional, even customary, Friday (or sometimes Saturday) no-movie-tonight jaunts.

We headed down Norton Road, which cuts along the southern edge of Hudson, under new Rte. 8, across old Rte. 8, and down into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  We almost always see deer on that road, once we cross both 8's, an experience that combines fundamental wonder with a soupcon of fear (Good thing we saw that one in time!).  Last night, a young doe stood in the road regarding us, her look conveying the obvious: What are you doing here in that machine in my house!  We slowed; she turned and executed a lovely, effortless leap into the woods, where she disappeared like a dream.

At the bottom of the hill, we turn left on Akron-Peninsula Road, going as slowly as following  traffic will permit.  Last night--a cloudy, drippy, gloomy gloaming--there was none, so we coasted more than drove alongside the Cuyahoga River, surprised by how bright the leaves could be even in the absence of much support from the sun.  Once again I was startled by a goat that isn't a goat, just a black two-dimensional silhouette/sculpture some folks have installed beside their mailbox.  Every time--every single time--we pass it, I slow, thinking I'm about to hit an animal ...  (What's that line about Old Dogs and New Tricks?)

We turned right on Bolanz Road, a short connecting route to Riverview Road--and Szalay's Farm, where, last evening, we stopped in the rain and bought some corn and lettuce and peaches.  As I was going through the corn on the wagon--fresh-picked (all the ears were wet)--I jokingly asked one of the farmhands who were sorting there, Got any dry ears?  He looked at me quickly (Is this guy all there?), saw I was just being a jerk, and laughed enough to let me know he didn't really think it was all that funny.  He said, You know--that's not the craziest thing I've heard here.  One day a guy complained that the kernels were too shiny.  I agreed: That is a bit daft.

Back in the car, we turned left on Riverview and drifted, now on the west side of the river, toward Bath Road, where, in the early spring, we like to park and watch the blue herons building their nests--always a wonder: How can such a weird assembly of legs and wings and body ever get itself aloft?  And how, once it does so, can it move me so entirely?

Our grandson Logan adores blue herons, so we feel an even stronger affinity for the bird.

Along the way, we cross Ira Road, which leads to Old Trail School, where I very nearly taught in the 1981-1982 school year (but that's another story).

The herons are gone now, though, so we turned right on Bath and drove up out of the Valley.   Next, we turned left on North Revere Road, climbed some more to Smith Road.  And civilization.

We pulled into Summit Mall and walked down to the little Starbucks, where I sat and read a Henning Mankell novel on Kindle while Joyce went off in search of something Pendleton (no luck).  While sipping my grande decaf Americano, I also worked on finishing the memorization of Robert Browning's "My Last Duchess," a poem I first read in English 101 (Freshman English) at Hiram College in the summer of 1962.  (Link: "My Last Duchess")  When Joyce returned from her (failed) mission, I recited it for her the first time. She held the text, corrected me a few times.  (The story of our marriage?)

Then--off we went to West Market Plaza.  I sat in Panera and read some more and tried to eradicate the errors I'd made in "Duchess."  And did so (but for how long?).  Joyce was reconnoitering in TJ Maxx (no Pendleton there, either, alas).  When she came back, we shared a bottle of water; I watched her eat a blueberry scone (and wanted with all my heart to eat it all myself!).

Scone and water gone, we drove down to Barnes & Noble, the last sizable, sort-of-real book store near us.  (A confession: I like to look on the dust jackets and paperback covers to see if any of my reviews from Kirkus or the Plain Dealer have made an appearance; sometimes they have.)  We stayed awhile and very nearly bought a few things, then didn't.  (We keep telling ourselves it's time to downsize but somehow never manage to get to the down part.)

We headed out onto I-77 North, the slow way home.  It's a way that takes us through Akron, where Joyce was born and grew up.  I cannot drive through that city without feeling a surge of gratitude for my good fortune in finding her, in fooling her sufficiently that we got to the altar before she knew me very well.  Whew!

Back home we decided to watch via DVR the third installment of Wallander.  Microwave popcorn (plain--no butter, no salt).  Cold club soda.  Kenneth Branagh looking grumpy and grungy and breaking our hearts.

I was puzzled, though, watching.  I have read all the Wallander novels now but did not recognize this one.  Later, I checked: Before the Frost was actually the first of a series (I hope) of novels about Linda Wallander, the detective's daughter, who also joins the police force.  I've now ordered that book on Kindle because I'm sure it's quite different: In the film we watched, Kurt Wallander took the lead in all ...

And then it was after eleven.  Bedtime.

The lights went out on Church Street after yet another Wild Friday Night ...

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