The First Stop for a week
Our first week on the trip south was spent in Lakengren, a gated community outside of Eaton, Ohio. Which is in turn outside of Cincinnati.
On our first weekend south we overnighted in a Cracker Barrel Parking lot near the PA/OH border. had lunch with friends of Margaret in Columbus, then on to her cousin’s where we were hosted for a week at her cousin’s lake house. Or maybe that’s Lakenhouse.
I won’t post full names or photos of anyone I met on the road out of respect for privacy. I try not to even post photos of private residences. While I am on the never-ending walk I try to focus my photos on what appeals to me, which is land and water features.
Private residences don’t appeal. I have yet to want another person’s house. Don’t even want one of my own. I see that kind of thing as the worst possible anchor to tie around one’s very own neck. One with no promise that The America won’t happen to them and that fine property ripped from beneath them. And they drop into the deep dark sea of poverty, hopelessness and despair. So no. Not in my roll.
Impressions of a gated community
Lakengren is a totally lovely community. Nice homes with huge green lawns without a single garden, which I see as a complete waste or arable real estate. But I am weird that way. I still don’t know if that is an POA rule or just people who work too hard and too long to want to fool with a garden.
All the properties have lake access, some are on the lake. A decent sized home with a massive lawn can be had in this community for around 150k. Yes I did talk to a realtor. Not out of interest but curiosity. Same realtor was a maintenance supervisor who saw me walking about, did not recognize me and asked nicely if I noticed any maintenance issues. Of course the silent under-question was “Who are you and what are you doing waking around our zone of safe crime-free joy and happiness?”
That didn’t offend me. I found it sensible and added points up in my head to the community. Along with the fact that the POA fees were low to the point of ridiculous. My week long walking explore and questions showed me a very well organized, self-governing community that looked easy to live in. I explained who and where I was and had a short but pleasant conversation with the man.
Even though I am “Yeah, Whatever.” about Ohio. Not a thing in the state would ever make me want to move there. Okay a free house in Lakengren and permission to farm my yard might do it.
Meeting people on the road
My experience of meeting people on my travels has been first-rate all the way. Firstly you have to understand a couple of things about John.
- I am deeply introverted (INFJ Meyers-Briggs type). Meeting new people is painful and awkward for me. I almost NEVER stay at someone’s house. No reflection on them. Reflection on me. I don’t dislike people. I just have a very difficult time being comfortable around people I don’t know, a process that can take several years in fact.
- I can still manage to be charming and engaged even though inside I am wishing to be anywhere other than under the scrutiny of strangers. This comes from a misunderstood childhood that left me with the lifelong burden of feeling personally inadequate and as though everyone I meet is somehow better, smarter, more human, therefore more deserving of success and good things than moi. Sure I have largely overcome those feelings. But still, the end result is a person who is intensely private and for the most part wants to be alone and left alone except for a very small circle of Trusteds. A circle that has grown significantly these past few years as I heal.
We all have our traumas great and small to get past. It is the fruit of a world sold out to sin. And it is a test of our own resolve and capacity to allow our healing and let love shine through. Or to stay broken and become jaded, bitter and filled with hate. Enough on that.
The truth-burst about self is part of why I have this blog. Its a bit of a therapy place.
Our Hosts and the case for sidewalks everywhere
Our hosts were Tom and Linda. It was great meeting them both. Tom was a ready provider of beer. I slso was privileged to meet Tom’s sister Ann, a retired teacher. Who for an absolute rarity I was instantly comfortable with because she reminded me so much of one of my dearest friends outside of Margaret, Amy.
Tom and Linda were perfect hosts and great people to meet and share the conversations of dinners and drinks. Linda had an almost identical career path as my brother and she validated everything he had ever told me about working in the retail end of the automobile industry.
Tom, however got my brain working overtime on a topic near to my own passion of walking miles and miles. And my biggest complaint about some towns and communities I have visited because they lack… Trails and sidewalks. Especially sidewalks in a town or urban setting.
Tom, a political scientist by both degree and pre-retirement work is an authority on sidewalks, on getting funding and easements for sidewalks, navigating local bureaucracies and urban planning involved with designing and building sidewalk systems. And they are systems with as much complexity as any sewer or water system.
It was a very enlightening conversation with a brilliant man who was passionate about something a lot of people don’t give a great deal of thought to and I learned just enough to whet my curiosity and desire to know more. Enough to make me wish I was young enough to start all over as a champion of sidewalks.
There is a town outside Cincinnati (not Eaton) that has impressive sidewalks and a rail trail due primarily to Tom’s successful efforts to convince a community that “If you build it, they will come” with regards to walking infrastructure. Sidewalks that not only provided a safe path to greater fitness, but became a community meeting place, bringing a community closer together.
This, to me makes Tom a bright light among the faceless army of heroes who do things that make life better, easier and most of all safer for the people in their communities. Bravo Zulu (Navy Speak for “Fantastic Job”) to you Tom!
At the end of the week we were told we are welcome back anytime. And I for one would relish the opportunity to again visit the wonderful Lakengren community and learn more about sidewalks!