Time off here I come, I hope

Today I have good news. And I have bad news.

The good news.

I am only 6 days away from a three day weekend. A three day weekend complete with our annual trip to the Swapper’s Day extravaganza in Johnstown, OH. Home of the Johnstown Johnnies.

Unless you are from Johnstown you probably don’t care too much about the Johnnies, that is the mascot and namesake of the high school sports teams. I just think it is a great name for a team. So, I gave them a mention. If you read this blog send an email to the school saying “Go Johnnies!” and reference my blog. They won’t have any idea what you are going on about, but they will appreciate the sentiment and they might read my blog. It is what sales people call a “win-win scenario.” Everybody loves a winner, right.

Swapper’s Day is fantastic, it is a huge sale, almost a yard sale in a yard the size of pasture, with hundreds of different “yard sale vendors” (if that is the right term). There is something for everybody. Fishermen, hunters, collectors, people who are obsessed with knives, oh there are knives, bayonets, machetes, swords. Crafts and arts, clothing, and crowds.

Popup covers run down long lanes radiating from a central point. Spokes of a giant wheel, and on the edge, where the business part of the wheel would be, runs the biggest tents of all, the booths of the gun sales people. It is serious out there. RVs sit behind tables and racks loaded with guns. People talk about guns, bicker over the price of guns, discuss the distance at which a certain gun is no longer accurate, occasionally they will bicker about that, too. Displays of guns by kits to clean guns next to books about guns. There are boxes of straps and handles and accessories to carry guns. One trip to Swapper’s Day and you will never worry about the well being of the second amendment again.

And at the hub of the wheel is one of my favorite parts, the food vendors. Most of the time we dine on the cuisine of a local organization for youth. Sometimes the PTA will have a booth, or the 4H selling chicken and noodles or pulled pork, maybe street tacos. Volunteers sweating in the cramped, hot shacks hawking the value of their work and the taste of their food. Often they will have several children employed cleaning tables, handing out napkins, or just smiling and saying hello. Who could refuse?

As long as we started with good news;* In two weeks I will spend three and a half days at Lake Lifestyles of the lower middle class and unpopular airs again. This time the cabin is a little more appropriately sized for two, not as luxurious, or well equipped. And the lake is smaller, farther away and probably pretty forgiving when compared to Gitche Gumee. It probably has very few deaths, and will gladly give them back. Just a bit of boating, grilling, a little wine, a little relaxing and enjoying life. It is the stuff of paradise. Just my wife, our kayaks and me.

Lake Hope lies in the middle of Southeastern Ohio. An area that was once a thriving hub of iron mining, iron smelting and munitions manufacturing for the civil war. Bricks, tiles were made by the thousands, trains steamed across the region. Now, it is mostly just forested hills cut through by lonely highways going places mostly forgotten. Two lane roads that wind through dark, dense woods eventually taking you to Washington Courthouse, or Nelsonville where you can jump on a real road. Multi lane, controlled access expressway, with bypasses so you don’t have to waste your time watching the small parts of America dry up and die. You can hurry to the coast, or the mountains or, in my case, the lake.

And that’s the good news, in a depressing way.

Now for the bad news. I have to get through today, tomorrow and all of next week. Somehow I have to find a way to claw, fight and will my way through the next six, or so, days. Then a long weekend After three days off it will be the desperate struggle to get through two and a half days to reach three and half days off. Give me strength.

*Please note the semicolon, I was told never to use one, and then in a class I took on self editing (a practice I am still learning) the teacher said it was alright; the semicolon is back.