Columns

2011.09.21 Where shall we go?

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

It was a brutal weekend. Football, cross country, two music-in-the-park events, a 5K run. To top it off, there was a drive to Ann Arbor to visit my fake Uncle Bill and Aunt Joyce, plus my fake Cousin Joanie. I guess that makes her husband, Paul, a fake, also.

All that brutality sent me back to the archives again to dig out a column from a few years back.

I have to note that once-shy daughter Maddie is on what I call her West Coast Tour. She’s starting in Seattle and working her way south to Santa Barbara, visiting friends and relatives on her way down the coast.

She’s had only one near-death experience along with a lot of fun. I mention this excursion so you’ll have it in mind when you reach the last line of this old column.

Sept. 25, 1991

If you could go anywhere in the United States, where would you choose?

That was a late-night question to Colleen sometime last week. If I remember right, Idaho was the first state she mentioned.

The Archbold Buckeye was responsible for bringing up the question. Two members of their advertising sales staff took off to Florida last week for a short vacation. That struck me as one of the strangest things to do. Why would anyone want to go to Florida when there are 49 other possibilities? Make that 48 if you take out Ohio.

On second thought, maybe Ohio should be left in the running. As the Ohio Tourist Council points out, September is when the buckeyes drop from the trees. What’s that little jingle they make the governor sing?

“Autumn’s when the buckeyes fall.

Come and see us, one and all.

Bring a pail, collect a few.

Plant them and life springs anew.”

I asked at the Buckeye office about the women’s choice of Florida and I was given three reasons: very cheap air fare, shopping, and something about a man. That’s not enough to get me down there.

As I said, Colleen mentioned Idaho first. Perhaps she want to visit our only Idaho subscriber, Connie Seymour. I met Connie when I worked in a hotel during a college summer. She began receiving the Observer around Christmas last year and she still assumes I gave her that gift. Actually, the subscription came via a mutual acquaintance from Montréal. Sorry, Connie, but Colleen will explain it all if she ever gets to Idaho.

I remember Colleen saying that North Dakota would not be among her choice states, and I was just flabbergasted. We have no subscribers there, but they have the Badlands. I only saw them from a bus window and I’d love to get closer sometime. Some say that Florida is a different version of the Badlands, but I’ll take the original northern variety.

Colleen wondered if I’d ever been to Rhode Island. I wasn’t sure, I might have traveled through it on a train, but she wasn’t going to allow that as a visit, anyway.

I asked the kids where they would go. Ben, as expected, said Florida was his first choice, but unexpectedly, he never mentioned Disney World. It must have been in his subconscious. Why Florida? He wants to see what the undertow is like. He said Alabama would probably do all right, too. He wants to collect shells.

Rosanna’s first choice was Florida, also, but only because Ben said it first. After she chose it, she asked, “Is Florida a beach or a lake?”

The two then rattled off a list of states. Washington, D.C.—Ben: “I want to see the White House.” Washington—Rose: “Killer whales.” Maine—Ben: “Tidal pools.” Alaska—Rose: “To see my cousins.” Ben: “And seals.” Rose: “And elephants.” No, we explained, it’s only Uncle Kevin doing his elephant imitation. They don’t actually live there.

What about Ohio? “I wouldn’t want to live in Ohio,” said Ben. It’s just like what Midwesterners always say about New York City: It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I visit Ohio frequently and NYC every few years. Both are just fine with me. New York is much more exciting, but Ohio has the Mounds, Nettle Lake and falling buckeyes.

I would join the kids and choose Maine without much hesitation. Whales, seals, undertow—they have most everything but the White House.

The kids never mentioned Oregon. They’d have a good time there, but that’s a state I mentally avoid. I lived there for a couple years, and if I go back I’m afraid I won’t want to leave. I lived in Saginaw for a couple years, also, but I seldom get the urge to return.

California would to fun to visit. Look at it as a study of foreign culture. The problem is that I hate the thought of messing with passports and immunizations.

When we consider available time and finances, we probably wouldn’t even get too far into Ohio. More likely, we’ll just go along with Maddy’s choice of where to go: Around the block in a wagon.

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