Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Venice, Florida(pt 3) The Venice By-Way 1957-58{from a 2008 blog}

The big news this morning is obviously coming out of Boston, where a couple of "punks" from Russia, and wanna be Islamic Terrorists have come under the gun of the FBI for the Boston Marathon Bombings...One punk dead, one police officer at MIT dead, one more cop critically wounded, and the other punk Muzzie Brother on the run....meanwhile our fool of a President and his appointed "Iron Dyke" at Homeland Security continue to prove they are not fit to serve:

The media coverage has been a the lame stream press continues to try to protect their chosen PC Religion of Radical Islam.

Rained out yesterday at Hicksville, my 9th rain out of the season, closing in on a record...this will hit my beer money hard  :(  The 80 degree temperatures of yesterday have dropped by half, after the rain hit again, the wind and cold's game way north at Cory~Rawson is in doubt...Tomorrow I picked up a JV Double Header at Van Wert, but the conditions don't look pleasant at all.

Today I take a look at part 3 of my blogger posts looking at growing up in Venice...this covers the years, just a bit over 2 years, that we lived on the Venice By-Way and across the road from the Blackburns, part of one of the founding families of the Venice Area.

GROWING UP IN VENICE, FLORIDA....Part #3 1957-58....

Pretty chilly at Spencerville yesterday...seems when Sam and I have worked games together of late, they have been blow-outs....last night was no exception. I did the plate as Fort Jennings traveled to play the Sp'Ville Wildcats.....the home team wins in a 6 inning run rule by the score of 14-4. The result surprised me because Spencerville had had a rough time of late, including last Friday's game that the younger Houseworth and dad did with Spencerville hosting St. Henry, a 21-0 final for the visitors.

Tonight, I travel to the campus of Ohio State-Lima, for a game between Lima Central Catholic and Lima Shawnee....Sam meanwhile has the Junior Varsity game between the same schools at the field in Elida.....sunshine is slated, but still cool.....then warmer, but wet weather comes a calling later in the week.

Growing up in Venice, Florida
1957-1958/The Venice By-Way

The summer of 1957 remains one that is pretty vivid in my memory banks. I had just finished 2nd grade at Venice Elementary, dad then decided to load up and move the family back to Ohio for the summer months. I have no idea if the Old Man had planned on a permanent move, or a more temporary set up. Anyway we packed up and headed north at the end of the school year....for the next 2 months we would reside in Scott, Ohio, dad's hometown, and where I had lived for most of my first 5 years on the planet. I remember hanging out at gas stations and walking the railroad tracks with my friend Al Foust...sometimes we would take the corn fields north to Haviland(about 3 miles) or sometimes head south....I know for one thing, we never lacked adventure for those 2 fact, I could have stayed there and lived with Grandma Houseworth, and my 2 divorced(nee Old Maid) aunts least in my mind.

But that wasn't to be. In August 1957, we packed up, and headed back south. Dad would find a new job, working at Johnson Lumber Company in Venice, Patty Johnson, the owner's daughter, was a classmate of mine at Venice Elementary. This was like starting over, we needed a new place to live...the folks found a old rural home several miles north and east of Venice, located in a wild woods area...the Hatchet Creek ran nearby...another place that I could ply my youthful outdoor lust for life at. At this place on the "By-Way" I would spend my 3rd and 4th grade years there for just over 2 years, before Stan and Peg would buy a house "in town".

Third Grade at Venice Elementary was a pretty good gig, at least for me. There I would have one of my 2 favorite teachers in all my years in school, whether they be Elementary, Jr High, High School, or College. Mrs Clara Hill was my 3rd grade teacher, for some reason her and me with my big mouth would get along...I loved baseball, and see seemed interested how anyone my age could have the knowledge that I had, of the players and teams of those days....Mrs Hill was not an easy teacher, and see wasn't afraid to use the board of education of boys and girls...after the butt whippings I received in 2nd grade, I would skate with none in 3rd. God rest your soul Mrs Hill, who passed away in 1987.

Meanwhile back at the house on the By-Way, I would meet up with the Blackburn boys....a collection of good-ol-boys whose grandad was one of the founders of the Venice area. The Blackburn family owned acres and acres of orange groves, and I suspect they were what we call "rich", however, you could never tell it, they were, like us, simple folks, and for the next 2 years Teddy Blackburn, who was in my class, and I would become inseparable....His passel of younger and 1 older half brother would thrive in the backwater areas of what was then wild territory.

The Blackburn's had coon hounds, we had cur hounds, those old dogs would live, run, die, and be a part of my life that I will cherish until the day I pass on. On more than one occasion, Teddy and me would head back to the swamp area along the creek, I remember one sunny buy rather cool south Florida day in particular he and I and one of the dogs were walking along the water about a mile from the house....we heard a commotion and a "snort" or grunt in a group of bushes and wooded area, the dog heard it as well, and we went to investigate...well that old hound came hauling out of that patch like his behind was on fire...Ted and I didn't wait around to see what it was...we began hauling ourselves, back to the house.

I remember Teddy and I sat on our front porch and discussed what we might have stumbled upon that scared that damn dog so didn't take long to find out, in a few minutes, out of the woods and into the field south of the house, walked a large white(albino?) Wild Bore....I still to this day remember the wind blowing his mane, and the wild, pissed off look in his eyes...didn't take long for the dogs, now numbering a gang of 4 or 5, mostly young pups, to get their "stones" and chase him back into the brush and woods....We never saw him again, nor did I want to, just wish I had a camera at my ready.

More Adventures on the Venice By-Way coming up---back later>>>>>>>


photos-Top is a 3rd grade spring musical at Venice Elementary, I'm in the middle of the middle(second) row, the good looking kid right below the "sun" hitting the widow in the background....then Al Foust(L) and me with our bullfrogs we had gigged the night before at my Uncle John's pond in the Summer of 1957 in Scott, Ohio. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs Hill, from Venice...and me and the Blackburn boys celebrating my 9th Birthday at our place on the Venice By-Way...I'm the kid with the new Catcher's Mitt, my friend Teddy Blackburn is on my left, sister Marty was the Tom Boy in the photo...March 16, 1958.--sure wish I had the car in the back, that Chevy is what mom, at the age of 33, learned to drive in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Growing up in Venice(pt 2), The Alston years1954-57(originally posted in 2008)

Back in April of 2008 I posted a week or so's worth of blogs looking back at my early childhood growing up in Venice, I will continue to re-post that look back:

Amazing that we got our game in at Delphos yesterday, WOSN TV out of Lima broadcast the contest, and the Jefferson Wildcat Field drained nicely....more big storms on the way, and Garry and I are supposed to head north to Hicksville for a GMC game, that remains to be seen if we will get it in, I am making no predictions except to say things look "iffy" at best.

Back Later>>>>

The cool front blew through McGuffey about 6 O'Clock yesterday, right in the middle of our game(Sam and I), between USV and Fairbanks....a bolt of lightning put a halt in the 4th inning for the mandatory 30 minute wait...then we get started, finished the 5th, with Fairbanks up 14-5, we called the game due to darkness. The clouds had poured in, and the skies opened up....we were done, the game was official...and we made the 55 mile trip home.....watched my Flyers get outplayed by Montreal, but still come away with a 3-2 win and a 2-1 lead in the best of 7 series...I think Philly was out shot 34-12 but still pulled it out, after almost blowing a 3-nothing lead. Tonight we head for Spencerville again, for some reason the week works out with Sam and I have 4 games in a row together, I don't believe that has ever happend until now.

The temps will hover around 50 for the next couple of days, with a freeze warning out for tonight....28 for a low, is what they are saying.
Venice, Florida 1954-1957
The Alston Cottage Years

As I wrote yesterday, in the summer of 1954, when I was 5, the family pulled up stakes in Ohio, and headed for southwest Florida. We ended up in the unincorporated area called South Venice, about 4 miles south of the small beach town of Venice. Along with our cousins, the Polings, we rented small houses(more like Army huts) at a place called Alston went to work for Venice Redi-Mix, and mom would stay home until the youngest Marty(one more daughter would come much later in 1962), headed off to school, then mom would return to the work force. I guess you could call us lower middle class, or even poor, Hell, if we were, we didn't care or know. We had food and a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, and a year around warm vacation spot to live in.

Brother Mike was enrolled 3rd grade at Venice Elementary that school year of 1954-55....even though I was Kinder Garden age, it wasn't madatory, and I got to stay home and live the adventure...take a look at yesterday's photo of Alston's, and you could see I had plenty of places for adventure...US 41 was located on the west side, but east and north I had plenty of places to roam....and I did....usually managed to get my ass swatted on occasion...once for playing in the roadside ditch and letting Marty(who was maybe 3 at the time), hang out with me...dangerous stuff.

In addition to the Polings, we had some southern neighbors, who had migrated to Florida from Georgia, their names were the Ellis family....the oldest boy was Billy, he had a year on Mike, and thus about 4 years on me. Billy and Mike had built a Club House(a wooden fire hazard of a shack in reality) at ground level in the marsh like area in back of the memory is pretty clear on this, we had come home from our usual weekend shopping trip to Sarasota, Mike and I met up with Billy at the CH......the floor was covered with blankets and we used an extension cord with a small light hooked up to light the dingy, dark, small space, which was barley big enough for the 3 of us....we had just settled in, when I heard Billy gasp, he grabbed one of the forked sticks we kept in the place and said "Snake!", Billy was about 10 at the time and compared to the Houseworth boys was wise in the way of the world...when he grabbed the stick he knocked the single light out, and we were in complete darkness....somebody(Mike?) grabbed another stick and pushed our crude door open....Billy had the large snake held down with the fork end...I scrambled out, with brother right behind....Billy kept the snake down and circled out.

Dad and Mr Ellis came a running, and the old man dispatched our snake, with a quick shot to the head....turns out it was a 7 foot diamond back rattlesnake....we were some lucky boys. That, it turns out was the end of our "Club House"....the dad's pushed it over and set it on fire.....and all that was left was the memory...which is still pretty vivid for me some 52 or so years later.

I entered first grade at Venice Elementary School in the fall of 1955 at the ripe young age of 6...Mrs Brown was my first grade teacher, and I remember her as a short elderly lady(must have been at least, Ms Stutz was my teacher in 2nd grade, I remember 3 things about her, she was attractive(I even noticed those things at 7 years old), she got married during that year in school, and she wasn't afraid to use the paddle...I think I got my butt whipped at least a dozen or more time during the 56-57 school year....must have been that big mouth of mine, it got me into trouble on more than one occasion of the decades.

All-in-all, those years at Alston's were more highlighted by what we did than on what we didn't have.....despite the Rattlesnake adventure, I would go out and catch birds, gopher turtles, black racer snakes, and keep them for "pets" for a few days at a time before releasing them....Mike and I even managed to rob a couple of baby gators from the swamp(the whole area was swamp and sand back then)....those little buggers didn't stay out back long....we kept them in a barrel until their teeth, like razors, became a hazard in themselves, and dad or mom made us release them.....all-in-all, my years in South Venice were interesting for anybody, let alone a kid from Ohio....we would move on to another outdoor adventure area, known as the Venice By-Way in, snakes, coonhounds, the Blackburn brothers, and even an encounter with an albino Wild Bore would await....

That story next>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


photos----PRH in 1st Grade at Venice Elementary in 1955-56, Mike and me showing off our string bow and hunting knives at the Manasota Beach....I was not yet 7 and Mike was politically incorrect is that?, Me, with another fish photo, this one a snook I caught, probably off the Manasota Bridge, Me, PRH, with a studio outdoor mug shot, mom must have paid what we considered a fortune back in 1956 for this one and others...and finally Marty, Mom, and Dad, at Myakka River State Park near Sarasota.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Growing Up in Venice Florida(part 1) Redux....from 2008

Interesting weekend...somewhat! I did get my double header in at Hicksville on Saturday...couple of more injuries, sorry to say they were players this time. Hicksville's pitcher took a hard liner off his left shin in the 8th(extra) inning of the first game, ended up going to the local hospital for X-Rays...then when the Aces scored the winning run in bottom of the inning, an Archbold player got spiked in the ankle area, and off to the ER he went....hopefully both came out with negative results. Archbold split the day with a 6-0 second game win. Enough Hell was caught by me and my veteran partner after those incidents, that the beer when I got home was welcome....then with the Flyers beating the Canadians, all was well in the sports world....yesterday, I mowed for the 2nd time in 4 days, Sam did the same with mom's yard, her and brother Mike will be returning from the Florida winter stay around Thursday.....meanwhile we might get a touch of snow overnight tonight...a cold spell for a few days, then again next week, no surprise in Springtime Ohio.


Venice, Florida 1954-1962

My dad always had the wanderlust, guess it runs in the family...if you check out my genealogy blog:

You'll see my GGG-Grandfather Israel Houseworth and his father Jacob Hauswirth had the same....if taking a ship from Zweibrucken Germany at age 20 in 1751 to young America isn't the wanderlust, nothing is. Meanwhile Israel who was born in Bucks County, Pennslyvania in 1775, took his family on a tour thoughout his life, that went from Bucks County to Waldo, Ohio, where he passed away at the ripe of age of 88 or so....with stops in at least 2 more PA towns and 4 areas of Great Grandfather and mother kept the tradition going, settling in the Great Black Swamp of Paulding County, Ohio, in the early 1870s.

Meanwhile back to our direct family....Dad and his cousin Marty Poling's husband, got this burr back in the early 1950s to head south where the weather was warm...both men were in the auto repair business, Brownie Poling ran a body shop, Stan Houseworth worked on engines, back in Ohio.

The Polings and their 2 sons, Jack and Jim, headed south to the west coast of Florida, a few months later in the summer of 1954, Stan and Peg Houseworth, with Mike, Pat, and the younger sister Marty, headed the same way....If I recall the story correctly, Mom said dad had $40 in his wallet, with another $100 in a pouch on his we were, 5 members of a rural Ohio household, the WW2 veteran, his Wilmington, Delaware, wife(whom he met while in the Army Air Corp), boys 7 and 5, and a daughter not yet 2, heading for the unknown.

I don't recall much about that early trip down the byways and highways of the south, except I was prone to get car sick....back then there was no I-75, just miles of mountains through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia...which I am told, I made a few "deposits" in. One flat tire, 2 nights in a motel, and 3 days later, we arrived in the town of South Venice, Florida.

For anybody that has ever been to Sarasota County, Florida, you must know, the Venice and Sarasota areas of 2008 have little in common with that area in 1954, except the heat, humidity, and Gulf water....50+ years later, it is nothing like those glorious days of the middle of the last century.  Today it is overcrowded and filled with diversity and frankly is not anywhere near what it was then....and don't let the PC Crowd tell you it's better now is NOT!

We hooked up with our cousins in South Venice....and would live the next 2 years at a place in South Venice called Alston Cottages....the place, now that I recall, resembled a old fashion "camp"....but I would learn about snakes, gators, fishing, and what was then, wild and wonderful south Florida. Dad would quickly find work, mom would raise the 3 kids, until returning to the work force a few years later, when Grandma Houseworth would come in the winter from backin Ohio, and live with us....

As I write this, It almost seems like it was yesterday, but it was indeed a different life in these United States, we are all the poorer for those changes.

This story will continue on a daily or semi daily basis, mixed in with the usual daily 'rants'......back later>>>>>>>>>>>


photos-----Alston Cottages in 1954...this post card was sent by mom to Grandma Houseworth in early 1955, the X marks our "Motor Cottage" which would be home for the next 2 years. Two views of the Beach Casino on Venice Beach, the older one, which also served as City Hall would be replaced in 1960. A classmate of mine, Jud Curwood's dad would do the contruction on the 'new' casino. As I said, I learned to fish when I lived in Venice....and if the truth is known, I was a much better fisherman at 10 than at 59....plenty of opportunities to salt water fish....the Venice Jetties(shown) was one of many places I learned to land them, and lose tons of line and tackle on the rocks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

This Time of Year

When I started this blog last July, it was with all the intent to do a daily(as best I could) update, and a look back at days gone it went by I usually managed to do about 25 posts a month, and take a gander back at my life about a dozen times during each 30 days. I have noticed with the increased warm weather(about to come to an end for a week or so?) and baseball season...the "look back" segments have been less frequent. I'm afraid things will stay that way until at least the end of the Spring Baseball season.....I've got to give up something...and the time out of doors it won't be. So I will press on, try to keep up on things, although it may be a tad boorish at times....but the weather and the outdoor times take precedent in this situation.

Did the plate for the Coldwater/St Marys game last night at C/W...7-3 final for the home team...bad part was, the game was sailing along, then with nobody out in the top of the 7th and a man on first for SM, my partner get nailed by a hard one hopper, right in the shin. That play results in a dead ball and the runner getting first(MLB Rules are different). After I call the play dead, we go out to check on Chuck, my partner in this game and one of the better umpires in the state of Ohio.....he was limping, but continued....the game ended without any further problems about 5 minutes later. Coaches and fans alike were concerned about Chuck, but he insisted he was OK...hopefully no major damage, but I can pretty well be certain, he has one sore leg bone today....I'm 59, he is older than I, at our ages, it takes longer to heal, as well as being easier to bruise.

Sam and I will be at Spencerville vs St. Henry tonight...Sam's turn to do the plate....rained overnight and probably again tonight, but looks like we might get the game in before. Tomorrow I'm at Hicksville for a double header, Sam at Convoy Crestview for same...but rain might challenge those plans....then next week look for colder temps(40s for Tuesday highs), such is the typical weather for Spring Time Ohio.

Managed to walk around the house after I got back from Greenville this morning...and got some more flower shots from the yard.
Back Later......................b-t-w Flyers lose to Montreal on a suspect call late the Habs tie it, and then beat Philly in OT, always tomorrow, and The Red Wings hold off Colorado in that bitter rival renewal.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ohio's Spring Weather

When Spring strikes, you won't find me around the keyboards as much, especially if the weather stays like it has for much of the past 10 days(last weekend, especially Sunday being the exception)...yesterday topped out about 80 and was a little humid until about half way through my game at Lincolnview...then the small cold front pushed though and the temps dropped about 10 degrees, but the big difference was the wind, which picked up from the northeast to about 20 MPH.....that's just a small change in weather this time of year in Ohio.

Despite being a small (area wise) state with a large population, the various areas of Ohio have much different weather patterns and seasons....for example the northeast areas around Cleveland, Akron, and Ashtabula, have more snow and longer cold/cool weather than we do in the west and west central and northwest parts of the state. Meanwhile the Dayton/Cincinnati areas in the southwest and the Athens area in the southeast, where I went to school, have less snow and much earlier springs....I remember when at Hocking (Technical) College in Nelsonville back in the 70s, we would plan our Environmental field trips in early February, because the weather usually would warm up that early down in that region.

For the most part around these parts however, you never know what April and even May might bring....80 yesterday, 70 something tomorrow, with rain off and on through early next week....they were even calling for a touch of snow by Tuesday, but I see that has been tossed out of the thing for sure, a full blown warm up won't be likely to happen until after Memorial Day.

Today will be my shortest commute this baseball season(exceptions the 3 dates in Celina), heading the 8 miles to Coldwater for a non-league game with St. Marys. Both teams have strong baseball programs, but Coldwater's is one of the tops in the state over the years. With league games slated for tomorrow(rain?), both teams will not use their #1 pitchers in this one....but it should be a good game, well coached, fundamental teams.

Have been debating to get out the fishing equipment and trying my luck...but the weekend weather has been poor, and I've been at Greenville in the morning this week, but maybe I can give it a try next week, when/if the next warm up occurs.

back later>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

photos-a typical spring weather photo in Ohio...snow on the roses/and my fishing poles, still hanging around the garage, waiting to get some use.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ottoville's New Digs/Flyers Win!

Sunny today about 78 and just a chance of a thunderstorm in west central Ohio. Yesterday I made the 50 minute drive north and a little east to Putnam County and got to umpire the first game ever played at the Ottoville High School's new baseball diamond. Behind the plate I see the home town "Big Green" score 7 runs in the bottom of the first, get perfect game pitching into the 5th from their senior starter on the mound, and go on to beat Leipsic by a final count of 10-3.

The new park is layed out behind the school and abuts a large takes many years for a ball park to get "character", and this one's a great facility. The old diamond located across the creek near the church at the local park had all the character one would want, but it also had no fence and a pea gravel diamond......those type playing surfaces are going the way of the dinosaur, and I believe Fort Jennings may have the only one left in that league.

Anyway great new place, congrats to the fans and folks at Ottoville.

Got home about 8pm and watched the 7th game of the first round between the Flyers and Washington Capitals....I had pretty much given up on Philly after they left the Caps back in the series, after blowing a 3 games to 1 of little faith.....Joffery Lupac 6 minutes into the Overtime sends the Washington fans home blue, by scoring on his own rebound shot.....Philly moves on to face the Canadians in Montreal on Thursday......the underdogs, we will see how the young Flyers match up against the even younger Habs.

Out to mow the at Lincolnview this afternoon....Back Later>>>>>>>>>

photos-Joffery Lupac scores the winner in O.T./And a few views of the new Ottoville, Ohio, baseball diamond.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring is Spung

Greenville this morning, and not much time after that. 70 yesterday, a great day to do baseball...this afternoon up to 75 with plenty of we all know this won't last, but the grass is growing, yards need it again already. The flowers, trees, and grass has grown great guns just in the past 72 hours.....

Today I drive north to Ottoville, Ohio....the "Big Green" are opening their new High School Baseball Diamond in a league game vs rival luck(and the weather) would have it, I get the duty as one of 2 umpires to do the first official game on the new field. Will try to get a couple of photos for the blog.

Gotta run..........back later>>>>>>>>

Photos-Compare the flowers with the ones taken of the same tree/plant just 3 days ago(see April 20th post)......and the Coldwater, Ohio, Baseball Diamond, one of the finest in the area...the City is in the process of putting up a new scoreboard....I'll be there Thursday as the Cavilers take on St. Marys.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Foggy Monday and the Useful Idiot

9:25am and I see the sun is just starting to burn off the thick, damp, fog from overnight...schools are delayed, although Patricia made the drive to St. Henry for a meeting anyway....if the 2 hour delays around the area have turned to closings I don't know....because I have not checked. I took Reagan in for her alergy shot this I mentioned last week when she was in for the "hot spot" treatment, I should have purchased "Doggie Health Insurance" 35 years ago when I started raising Airedales...the old Coonhounds seldom needed treatment, or if they did, they never told me. :)

I've been pretty good to my word of keeping my political and Christian beliefs in the background of this blog....not that I mind pissing off folks, I'm pretty good about that...but I think you know where I stand, just by reading between the lines, or viewing the left hand side material of this blog....but I do have to rant about someone I believe to be the most useless human being ever to hold the office of President of these United States...The Peanut Farmer himself, Jimmy Carter....a most useless of assclowns, even more so than LBJ or Billy BJ Clinton....LBJ of course was the sob that gave us the build-up(and eventual defeat) in Vietnam and the so called "Great Society", both which have left America "hamstrung" in today's world(don't worry Nixon shares plenty of the blame as well)...Clinton of course just sold us a bill of goods while plundering the country and White House.....but it's Carter, Jimmy Fing Carter, that goes down as the most useless President of my time.

He not only didn't have the guts to take out Iran when he had the chance(the Nuke option would have been fine with me), he now wears his Monica Lewinski knee pads in support of the PLO and the rest of the Islamic terrorist trash in that region....all at the expense of Israel(our only ally in that area), and the American people....Mr Carter needs to do the world, and especially the US a favor....."Go Away"(you thought I was going to say "Drop Dead" didn't you?) made us sick in the late 1978, you are a miserable, useless, slug in 2008.

OK, got that off my tonight, if the fog lifts, at Delphos, for a NWC game with Jefferson hosting Spencerville.....saying a prayer for my brother-in-law Dave in his wife battles her serious health problems, Dave at 48 has a spell of chest pain yesterday, and undergoes surgery for a clogged valve, with a stent being put in.....the family doens't need this.

MRS Board meeting today at 11am....Back Later>>>>>>>

photos---Fog shots..down West Livingston looking east towards the sunrise, and across the street into the Mersman lot.....and the Useful or Useless Idiot, Jimmy Carter.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Photos and Musings

Weekend traffic on these blog sites is always less than during the week....if you figure most folks use the internet when at home, you wonder why? Now people don't acutally "surf" when at work, do they? Seriously though, it doesn't come as a surprise....I know I spend less time on the computer on weekends than the other 5 days....but that's just me, or maybe not....and the fact is, the nicer the weather, the less time "computing" or wasting time inside it will be. Not a big fan of sitting in the house, come May and June.....same goes for September and October, those have to be my 4 favorite Ohio weather months, and even they are sometimes "iffy".

Yesterday the weather held off, and Sam and I got our game in at Lincolnview...a few sprinkles and the game was over in 1 hour and 40 minutes...a 4 1/2 inning run rule won by the home team 20-0....although the score was ugly, TC played hard and had no errors, they just don't have the pitching nor the numbers(10 players on team, total) to compete day-in-and-day-out....the effort was there.

I got home just in time to watch the final 15 minutes as my Philly Flyers fell to Washington 3-2....but they are still up in the best of 7 by that same total, 3 games to 2, and are heading back to Philadelphia for game 6....hopefully to finish the series off. Best game of the night was Boston getting even at 3 games apiece with the Canadians, by coming from behind to win 5-4...6 goals scored in the final frame, with the Bruins getting the winner with less than 3 minutes left.

After the Flyers game, I walked outside with Reagan, the Airedale, fired up a torpedo, and took some photos out back....I've got 2 places I can smoke a fine cigar and down a beer or 3.....usually at night when the weather is right I will park myself on the front porch in one of the iron chairs....the day light hours I prefer to sit out back where I don't have to acknowledge those passing by when I'm enjoying that fine cigar and a beer....the fenced in back yard does indeed have advantages, you don't have to worry about your hair being combed, your gut hanging out, or a beer and smoke in your hand.....just one of the pleasantries of life.

After a week of dry weather(we could use another 2 weeks of the same), the skies opened up overnight, not a hard rain, but my guess is, it will keep the farmers out of the fields for awhile is indeed going to be a late planting season.

Photos from yesterday-Reagan with her trusty old half deflated basketball, the flowering tree beneath the dining room window, some of Patricia's flowers out front, finally emerging from the long, long, winter, and cold early spring....and my essential supplies for sitting out on the back steps.....
This Week's Baseball Schedule:
Monday April 21st---Northwest Conference game Spencerville at Delphos Jefferson
Tuesday April 22nd--Putnam County League Leipsic at Ottoville
Wednesday April 23rd--non conference New Knoxville at Lincolnview
Thursday April 24th--non conference St Marys at Coldwater
Friday April 25th--non conference St Henry at Spencerville(with Sam)
and finally Saturday at Hicksville a non league double headers against Archbold
All Varisty contests, of course it all depends on the weather(this past week being the first we got them all in), there should be some good games among this bunch...
BACK LATER>>>>>>>>

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Country Bumpkins and other weekend thoughts

9:15 on a Saturday morning, waiting to see if our game at Lincolnview gets rained out or time is slated for 1PM...a rare single game(teams usually play double headers on Saturday) between Lincolnview and Lima Temple Christian. Yesterday I was at Antwerp, where my Uncle Jack DeVore got over at 7 and I should have stopped by his place, Jack is the last of my blood uncles(or Aunts), on either side of the family. At 77 he is still a go getter, a widow who, until a year or so ago was still climbing roofs with his oldest son, doing construction and repair.

Jack is a great guy, and I don't hold the fact that he is a Democrat, a Notre Dame fan, or a Union lover against him.....too much! Jack and mom's other brother Bill(who died 10 years ago), both great guys, we just didn't talk politics....because no way we could stay close if we did. Uncle Jack has taken up a gig in his retirement years, he is now an usher at Notre Dame football games in the fall.....a hour and a half drive from Antwerp is South bad his team sucks at the present time. Anyway back to the point, if I had stopped by Jack's place, we would have ended up at the local watering hole, and I would have never made it I'll save that for later on this summer, or when he comes down to see mom, on her return from Florida in May.

Antwerp beat Lincolnview, the wind was blowing out of the southwest, right over home plate towards the outfield.....the home team was down 7-3 before a mammoth wind blown Grand Slam home run tied the score at 7...Antwerp went on to win 12-9, 4 home runs in least 3 with the wind helping out....more than I've seen in total all spring.

The early umpire rankings came out from the state OHSAA and I sit at 4.0 out of 5.0...not bad, but I guess I managed to piss a coach or two off so far....not everybody votes and this tends to skew the rankings...some coaches don't bother, some vote only if they are mad at you, and others are pretty faithful in getting their votes in...Sam, on the other hand is still waiting for a vote total...meaning not enough coaches have voted on his games yet.

Country Music___________

I was never a big fan of Country Music, liked a few songs back in my youth, but just didn't get into the twang of the's County is pretty much akin to the bubble gum or top 40 stuff from the 1960s...not a lot to like about it. There was a time back in the early 90s when disgusted by racist rap crap, mindless disco, and every artist who couldn't sing the English language, that I turned to County....oldest son Sam was into the music and I picked up on a few artists on CMT(Country Music Television)....there was some bad music(Tim McGraw comes to mind, along with his ditz of a wife, Faith Hill), but a few folks sang traditional music that I actually became fond of....artists that come to mind include, Patty Lovelace, George Straight, Alan Jackson, and Toby Keith.....but my favorite from the early and middle 1990s had to be John Anderson....I'll leave the weekend rant with 2 of my favorite videos from Ol' John....

Seminole Wind:

and my all time Anderson favorite, Straight Tequila Night(audio only)

Go outside and make it a great weekend--


Weekend Sports---Ohio State Spring football scrimmage today in Columbus, 60,000 or more expected to see local Senior Todd Boeckman from St. Henry lead the Buckeyes...hopefully this year, all the way to a victory in the BCS Championship, the bridesmaid thing is worse than not being there. The IHL Fort Wayne Komets, riding a seaons closing 25 game home win streak hope to begin their way towards the Turner Cup this weekend vs Muskegon, and the Philly Flyers look to close out the Washington Crap-itals and move on to round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

back later---------------

Friday, April 18, 2008

Just a Quickie & the "Earthquake"

Not a lot of time this Friday morning...lawns to mow(both our and mom's need their first full yard deal), Sam and I will get to those in short more nice day for lawns and baseball before rain ruins the weekend weather...but we will take what we got this week and be thankful for the sun and the drying that has occured.

Drove to north of Sherwood, Ohio, last night for the game between the host Fairview team and GMC league rival Antwerp....did the plate without incident. The game, while not as close as I thought it would be(15-5--6 inning run rule by the home team), two pretty good, well coached teams, is always a plus. Back at Antwerp tonight, they host Lincolnview...and as things would fall(if it doesn't get rained out), Sam and I are at Lincolnview(where he's at tonight) for an early afternoon game tomorrow with Temple Christian, out of Lima....this turns out to be a week of seeing the same teams more than once.

Many of the games I do are at medium and small rural schools and communities where townships and small towns of less than 2000 feed their schools with students. Sherwood Fairview, about 57 miles north of Celina is one such place. Fairview Schools are located about 4 miles north of Sherwood along US 127, they have a strong baseball and football tradition....the photo is from the northwest parking lot and while not showing the improvements at the field, give you an idea of just how rural this wide open spaced school is.
Guess I would be remiss if I didn't mention the little 5.4 Earthquake that was centered around the Evansville, Indiana/East Illinois area this morning....about 5:30 I was awoken by the sound of a rumbling in one of the upstairs bedroom's closet, and the Airedale let out a little yelp....the wife was awake, and I thought she was looking for something in that closet and I went back to turns out it was a fine little rumble of the earth moving, which I'm sure those readers this blog in Illinois, Indiana, and Bruno, out in the Missouri Bootheel can attest to better than damage to report here in west central Ohio.

more later>>>>>>>>>>>>

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Columbus Grove Baseball and the New Chairs Arrive

Spring is trying to take a foothold in western Ohio...some sun and 70+ today...same for tomorrow, before rain and cooler for the weekend...but we will take what we get, and no long term rain or cold in the forecast for the next 10 days......or so the weather "experts" say....not sure I believe a damn thing they say, but hope "springs" eternal.

Sam and I umpired together at Columbus Grove yesterday afternoon, and it went much better, argument wise, than the day before. Sam did the plate and as far as I could tell made few mistakes(any umpire that says the did the perfect game is in denial or a liar, no such thing in my knowledge of baseball, and I've been playing, coaching, and umpiring the game for over 50 years)...with the score 3-0 in favor of the home team, the visitors, MC, got a liner to deep left center, a run scores and the coach sends his batter towards 3rd on a fly....I had the position, the runner slides, and his tucked leg doesn't reach the bag, before the CG 3rd baseman slaps a tag on his ankle....I called him "out", and MC's coach calls it "a terrible call", well I've been called worse, I got the call right(99% sure), and told him "no coach, the tag beat the leg...I'm sure he still is not happy with the call, but the argument ended there and we moved on....Grove comes out a 8-2 winner in just under 2 hours......tonight I have a big Green Meadows match up between 2 of the leaders, at Sherwood Fairview against Antwerp....should be a good one and the weather looks good, tomorrow as luck would have it, I'm at Antwerp for a non-league game with Lincolnview.

I've decided to try to get a photo of the ball parks I'm at for the rest of the season....posted today is one of the Grove Diamond....a new scoreboard, which sits boxed, waiting for the grassy areas to dry, will be a welcome addition to the park.

About 3 weeks ago, Patricia, Anissa, and I, went to Lima, picked up a treadmill for Ness, and ordered a pair of costly Ashley Leather/Oak will they be a softer sit than our old pair of Lay-Z-Boys....the photos don't do them justice, but trust me, I will be very protective of these for awhile, and when the boys sit on them, they better check out their pockets.....or some butt will be chewed! I'm sure I'll get over that in due time, but I'm always a little paranoid around leather, especially with kids(even though these guys are 26 and 24) and dogs...Reagan beware!

OK, out to enjoy the weather.....think I'm smoke a nice long torpedo cigar when I return home tonight....should be a great night for a smoke and beer, although I will also have to catch the Flyers in Game #4 against the Caps.

back later---------------

photos-the new chairs, the photos are dark because the sun is hitting the windows, but they do look good, and a wide view of the Columbus Grove Diamond.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just another Day at the Office(Ball Diamond)

Headed out of town just after 3PM yesterday, winding my way through the back routes and roads towards the small town of Columbus Grove, about 55 miles away in rural Putnam County. Got to the ball field around 4:20, which gave me plenty of time to take in the improving weather, get the home plate umpire gear on, and wait for my partner who lives in Delphos, about a 20 mile drive away from Grove.

Sunny and upper 50s with a good, but not strong south wind, were going to be the conditions....the game, while not well played, or umpired for that matter, would be interesting to say the lasted just under 2 hours.

Right off the bat in the top of the first inning, the Grove pitcher, with a man on first, drops the ball...I make no balk call because it did not appear he was on the rubber of the pitching mound(for those not savvy in baseball lingo, you'll just have to bear with me on the terminology)...the visiting coach goes off and begins to yell at my partner, Terry, for a balk...Terry says no balk, well the coach explains his point, and my cohort does the unpardonable sin...changes the call to a balk...this brings the home coach out of the dugout, and the theme for the day was set. I walked out, asked Terry what he had, and he ends up calling it balk, runner to second. The visitors scored a run, but this series of events, while not important in the final outcome(it was a home team 15-5 blow out shortened by run rule to 5 innings), led to the eventual 'Murphy's Law' being kicked into play.

Even though I escaped the wrath for the most part, poor Terry ends up with another balk argument(once again it would have been my call had I choose to call it, I didn't because, it was borderline), 3 "bangers" at first base, meaning very close calls that given the situation already in place, Terry was going to catch Hell no matter which way he called them, and he did.....finally Grove scores a run in the bottom of the 5th to end the game via the "Run Rule"(being ahead by 10 runs or more when the trailing team has batted 5 times or more, and had at least an equal number of at bats)..Grove wins and we get out of Dodge.

Topping it off, I got hit on the left forearm, not once, but twice, within 2 innings, and that arm now looks like "Popeye's" arm....only mine isn't all muscle, and it's got a nice dark shade to it....all-in-all an "interesting" afternoon....and to make it all the more interesting, I get to go back to Grove tonight, this time with Sam as my partner, and he can do the plate, it's his turn...I can catch Hell, if it's mine to catch, as the field umpire.

Funny how things work out....I had not been to Columbus Grove in two years(got rained out last season), and here I do 2 games in 2 days at the same location....not something you plan on...especially if you or the home coach needs time to cool this case it's not a problem, but I have other stories on other diamonds that would prove my point.

On another related note...the Gas Prices are killing my profit margin, although I can't complain..the games pay $50 to $70 each for varsity....but a round trip to places like Grove, Antwerp, Hicksville, Sherwood, etc, usually take 5 gallons of fuel for the intrepid(more when I drive the Jeep) and at $3.45 it's costing me $16 or $17 bucks a opposed to the 8 to 10 back when I took the contracts...the schools are helping out, them and most leagues have raised the fees....which don't come cheap to them....guess I could get all my games closer to home, but I like the different locations and frankly I like the drives to and call me stupid?

I then Drove a different rural way home, just to clear my head, and hit the door about 8:10 last night. I grabbed a beer, and watched my Philly Flyers thump the Washington "Crap-itals" and go up 2 games to 1 in that best of 7 NHL series....I am really enjoying the coverage on the VS Network(formerly the Outdoor Network), and NBC....especially the VS game to game broadcasts.

65, windy and sunny today, things are looking up.
photos-Lou Pinella...when he was getting along with me, the broadcaster not the umpire, back in 1991, as Reds manager, and a more familar photo of Lou, giving it to one of the MLB umps last season. And GO FLYERS!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day/Gas Prices and Other Ramblings

Tax Day...not a big concern, we had ours done back in February by our CPA.....since we(or I should say Patricia) has to work with Anissa's SSI accounts and Hal was and will be on our's in part through this year due to attending Wright State(not sure what the story will be now that he's be accepted to Grad School for the fall)....the tax BS is a complicated mess. But despite being an independent contractor and semi-retired, we still get back rather than pay in(because Patricia has a boat load taken out each pay), i.e. we let the freaking government use our money interest free.....but what the Hell? It's always nice to get back a nice chunk, because you know if you don't, you won't be saving it anyway.

Taxes, the way they are collected these days would make our founding fathers, Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin, spin in their graves at warp speed....the IRS is a legal crime syndicate, without a doubt.....a Flat Tax/Fair Tax should be the way to go, but let's face it folks, as long as liberals are in charge, and despite what the media would have you believe, liberals(Socialists) are in charge of almost every facet of our lives....and it's getting worse day by day.

I think Sam, who is an Independent Contract, does his via computer via Turbo Tax. He finally got his in this weekend, except today he walks his Celina City Tax forms up to City that waiting till the last minute thing.

I searched You Tube looking for suitable Tax Man videos by the Beatles, and some were pretty lame, on even had the Bush Administration as the Tax Man, no doubt posted by some liberal ass clown who never met a tax they didn't like, and then blames Bush who actually did lower taxes, one of the few good things he has done since he got in he put a couple of good Supreme Court Justices in, IMO....other than than, it's been the same old Washington nightmare as always. ANYWAY I did come up with a pretty good You Tube vid, with the Beatles tune as background.

Pretty least I thought so.

Did the Greenville gig this morning and noticed the price of unleaded fuel, gas, petrol, had jumped to $3.45 a gallon locally....making the 120 mile round trips to umpire baseball a Hell of a lot less profitable...but what you gonna do? I've got contracts through 2010 in both baseball and you bite it, making enough to pay for fuel, buy a few cigars, and a 12 pack if you're lucky. Listening to WLW in Cincinnati on the way home, I heard that it was up to $112.35 a barrel for "sweet crude", whatever the Hell that means? Only kidding, but I never could figure out why the coined it "Sweet", ain't nothing sweet about it, especially the cost.

You can blame the oil companies, government, or the Arabs, and they do have a part in the cost....but for the most part, you can look to Wall Street and look in the mirror, the speculators and the American consumer are to blame. Sure many of us have to drive long miles to get a pay check....but when you are in good health and can't walk a block or two to get to where you are going, you(and me) are a big part of the problem.

Columbus Grove(no where near Columbus), Ohio, is where I'm at the next 2 nights, then Sherwood Fairview, and then Antwerp on Friday....all between 55-60 miles one way....the weather looks better until at least Friday, so they say, hopefully Spring has turned the corner and we will get out more often....did mow the back 40 yesterday, will do the rest of the yard tomorrow, and Sam can take care of his Grandmothers for the rest of the mowing season, when he's home. One thing for sure, with better weather on the horizon, I will be spending much more time outside and less on the old internet.....Ohio weather stinks much of the year, and I plan on being out when it does turn nice.

Photos-Finally a look at Grand Lake with no ice, nice to see the sun bouncing off the small waves......and the ugly news...Unleaded $3.45 and down the road Diesel sets at $4.19 a gallon....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

84 & 24/1924 and 1984

Leave it to April 13th to be a strange kind of day. After all, it the 13th, albeit not a Friday. Just past 8:30 in the morning and I look out and a touch of snow is falling, wet, miserable, cold conditions surround west Ohio, it's been like this most of the late winter and early spring....damn Al Gore, why not bring your fat, lying, ass here to preach your Global Warming Religion of BS?

I have had 4 games in a row, including yesterday's double header at Lincolnview, rained out, Sam has been a little more lucky, he only missed Friday's also at Lincolnview(Van Wert)...he got the Celina double header on the artificial grass against Sidney in yesterday....but this is putting a dent in my cigar and beer money.

Well enough of that, April 13th is a day of importance to our family, and this year, 2008, the numbers fall into what seems some sort of cosmic alignment...hence this Sunday post. Here you have it, by the numbers....what are the odds?

My mom was born in Chester, PA, on this date in 1924, making her 84 years old...meanwhile, our youngest, Hal Houseworth, was born 60 years later to the day on this date in 1984, in Coldwater, Ohio, making him 24....there you have it...Grandmother 84 born in 24, her grandson 24 was born in 84. Figured that out all by myself while drinking a beer and watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night.....hardly a statical wizard am I(the belongs to Patricia and more especially to the boys, Sam and Hal, who, if nothing else placed high in national math scores).

That's it, short and sweet, the weather really stinks(sunshine by Tuesday?, so they say), Sam's in Michigan. Hal should be on his way home from Dayton for the day, mom in Florida for another few


PHOTOS-Me, Patricia, and mom, on Patricia's Wright State graduation, and me, Patricia, and Hal, at niece Holli's wedding.