Today, one of those cold days, when I don't want to be outside, but I want to be out and casual, I pushed going to Lake Tavern in Mecca, Ohio, home of Mahoning Valley's best burger. I have driven by this establishment for twelve years, never stopping for lunch or even going back on a weekend off with my family.
About a year ago, an article in the Vindicator raved about the burgers here. I love hamburgers and determined then we would go some day. Today was that day. Sun streamed through the heavy clouds, but for the few snow flakes this morning while the sun took a nap, the light prevailed. We raced across the Ohio farmland.
The Lake Tavern, although on Mosquito Lake, does not take its name from the lake, but the family who built in 1837. In 1837, Mosquito Lake would have just been the creek. This is about the same time David Thompson built the back part of Mt. Hickory. The beams over the bar are from the some of the original work. A tavern, in the literal sense, is one big room, sort of dark, but quiet on an early Saturday afternoon. After nine, we would not have been able to take Mary Ellen into this establishment. Today, I chuckle, because she is dressed more adult than I in my oversize pink Penn State hoodie. The waitress asks if this is three checks or one.
I stare at the wooden beams, trying to imagine Mt. Hickory when the first Thompson's lived there. Their home, too, was probably dim, like this too. Depending on where the rooms caught the light. I have been in the updated Mt. Hickory, which is more like a modern home(like in Home Beautiful) inside than this tavern. The part David built is longer and narrower than the tavern, which is squarish. The Thompson's had windows on both sides of their home, catching the north and south. Probably had west and east windows, but General Pierce added on the west side. David used poplars found on the property.
David Lyon, clueless to my feelings yesterday of Dad's storytelling, starts a story my dad told him to Mary Ellen. She is getting double dose with the grandfather she never met. David then laughed that Uncle Dave, Dad's brother told David the story at the funeral home, as somewhat a confirmation of Dad's story, not that David had doubted it.
The story is about one of their friends, Dad and Uncle Dave were thirteen months apart, who had a non-healing wound on his ear. According to David, the friend's mother was rather well off, taking the boy to specialists, without any results. The mother worried, not letting the boy out much at all. I'm thinking with good reason as the Furnace Hill gang was boys. He sneaked out one time to swim with the boys in the Shenango River. They had to hose off after because of the acid from the mines at the time. When this boy's mother found out, she was beside herself, but after about a month or a month and a half, the wound had not come back and it never did.
The funnier thing to me, is I never remember Dad telling me this story. I have no idea even who the boy was. This is how my dad told stories. Something must have moved him to tell his son-in-law. Were they down by Valley Mould? Talking about boy things? Growing up in West Middlesex? And why did David tell Mary Ellen today?
How does all story telling start? We want to pass on more than facts to the next generation. Stories covertly hide values. The boy sneaking out of his house for a swim proves in some cases, swimming in acid may help.
I'm finding I crave writing fiction. This is an example of "JT" stories. Stories I want to write about my dad as a kid and young adult. We are losing this generation of the Great Depression and World War II, as age and death take over. Dad would be ninety two and his brother, ninety three. Aunt Pick, even older. I guess one hundred, as she was the oldest, at eight years older than Dad. I find a freedom in fiction that uses a lot of truth, faith and values.
I'm wondering which way this blog should go often. I think constantly of my writing. I'm not as anxious as before to get out there, being published, to be free of my day to day job. A journey of writing to enjoy stretches before me. Summer Triangle freed me to express a great deal of myself through Maria, but I am in no way Maria, nor is my husband her Brendan. I need to write.
More fiction writing, but continue this blog as is. I'm not sure how a blog of fiction would work. I meet with the writer's group tomorrow and I feel like the mother in The Prize Winner of Deliverance, Ohio, meeting her peers for the first time. The attempt is foiled by her baby boy bringing only the tops of the neighbor's prized tulips, unable to embark on the trip then. She tries another time, with the daughter who writes her story later. The engine heats up and they are stranded in a middle of nowhere town. But the car gets fixed and she arrives, late, but she arrives to embrace her soul mates. She comes alive with the other participants in contests for product jingles. I am excited about tomorrow.
I recommend this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406158/?ref_=sr_1 or book http://www.amazon.com/Prize-Winner-Defiance-Ohio-Mother/dp/B002C8D5M8/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366514480&sr=1-2&keywords=prize+winner+of+defiance+ohio