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Busy Week! Heckuva weekend.

Lots of it was just stuff. You know, things that have to be done but really not planned for except in a sort of fly-by-night fashion–medical events, grocery shopping, yard work– that kind of stuff. Then there were actually scheduled activities –lunch with the Nelson Literary Musical Club (All decked out in green they were; I wasn’t), choir practice, 20th Century Club meeting at the James A. Garfield Historical Society ( Some of the members are as historical as the exhibits). Then there was the good stuff. On the spur of the moment I drove up to Middlefield to the Dutchland (a reference to the Amish as “Pennsylvania Dutch”, presumably) Hunting and Fishing Show and Sale up in the old Paul’s building in Middlefield. Interesting. The ad–in The Villager, natch–said : hunting equipment 50%-75% off ( Like I would know the difference!), fishing equipment, boating, camping, seminars on fishing, food plot management (Do you suppose that’s a garden?), deer, turkey, coyote hunting seminars. Just the kind of thing for me, right? How could I pass this up? No activity like this is without merchandise for sale. There were T-shirts (I seriously considered one that said “Pro Staff” on the front…. Didn’t say “Pro” what, now did it?), fishing tackle–lures & hooks, rods & reels, tackle boxes, fishing line guaranteed to be strong enough to haul in Moby Dick, knives–oooh, lots of knives– plain and fancy, Native American tschotschkes of all sorts (Ever notice that Native American faces on these things always look like us WhiteEyes with really good tans?), blankets & leather belts, decoys, deer lures, outboard motors, camo wardrobe improvements, archery equipment with compound bows that Hiawatha never would recognize (some of them were pink), other items that I could only guess at. Plenty of booths touting outdoor adventures–big game, just regular game (bear, bobcat, deer, coyote), Maine woods trips, charter fishing (Lake Erie, Pymatuning, points north, like Quebec), the Trumbull County Rod & Gun Club, the Trumbull County Beagle Club, a bear skull, plenty of displays of the taxidermist’s art (one cooler chest full of plasticized fish,) the U.S. Coast Guard. There was a video shooting simulation; there were turkey calls (being tried out by all and sundry–it was noisy in that part of the building), there were targets and stands, raffles and giveaways and seminars. There were wonderful names : Lucky’s Jerky, Tru-Trip Deep Divers for walleye, crappie jigs, Froggy Toggs. And a few incongruities : Bath Fitter, Ohio State Water proofing, Tom Warren, running for state representative–those politicians will go anywhere. My personal favorite was the display by Birds in Flight Sanctuary, Inc. They had there several rescued sick, injured and orphaned raptors which they had cared for. Gotta love owls! And the food! Amish bakery goods! Hungarian Pepper Relish! Meatball wraps! Bowl-O-Meatballs! One stop had Hickory Syrup. Hickory Syrup? The ingredients list said: Hickory, Sugar. Was it the bark? The wood? Nuts? Interesting flavor. And speaking of nuts…. St. Patrick’s Day in Garrettsville was a big green success. Anything that could be even remotely connected to the Auld Sod was being played, displayed, photographed, eaten or drunk…happily…for most of the day. Sam Bixler and his big Shire horses were taking wagon/carriage-loads of merrymakers on trips around the downtown area. Jason Adkins, the Balloon Dude, was making fantastical creatures (He says that he was not responsible for Leppy and his crew; lets hope not). Most of the restaurants in town were doing a land office business in corned beef in all of its many permutations–hash, sandwiches, with eggs or potatoes or both, even as reubens. Green was the color of the day, of course, though orange would have been equally apropos, unless you’re inclined to discriminate against Northern Ireland and/or Protestants. It went beyond Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to green beer and Grasshopper Pie, maybe Key Lime, in a pinch. Guiness was flowing like water; several partakers subsequently required pouring into their respective beds later in the evening, which went on for quite a while. The streetscape patio at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company (AKA, The Mill) was buzzing from early until late; ditto for Sean’s Pub, Slim & Jumbo’s, Sky Lanes…you name it. I got to sing an Irish ditty about a little red fox with the musicians ensconced in the Bookstore playing on guitar, harp, flute, buttonbox concertina, whistle and the Uillean pipes (That’s one Irish take on bagpipes; most of us only know the Scots version. Virtually every western musical culture has some variation). Maith thu’! And in there somewhere, I stopped for pancakes with the Garfield Middle School football program, courtesy of Coach Apple and his expert flapjack flippers. Great syrup and they did a special-order stack of wheats that landed with a thud and stayed with me all day. Great stuff! Bigger and better next year…if the weather repeats. Dia ar sabhail!

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