Back to Special Things

Last Monday, we went searching for a hidden waterfall. Today, we went searching for cinnamon-sugar mini-donuts.

In both cases, we experienced some success and some failure.

The fall foliage and waterfalls were beautiful in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But the path to the waterfall was a wild one: crossing the creek several times, leading us up and down steep hills, slipping and sliding on mud all along the way.

This week, we drove half an hour to Garrettsville, Ohio, where I recently saw a restaurant advertising a favorite carnival midway treat. Unfortunately, once we got there, we learned that the cinnamon-sugar mini-donuts were a special, short-term, offer. No longer available. So it seemed like we drove all that way for nothing.

But then we decided to follow the trail of James A. Garfield.

Garfield was the 20th President of the United States of America and the 1st President of Hiram College (just north of Garrettsville). The high school in Garrettsville is named James A. Garfield High School. There’s a small storefront on Main Street that advertises itself as being the James A. Garfield Historical Society (though it never seems to be open). And Hiram College features several statues and plaques commemorating their connection to James A. Garfield.

He wasn’t that memorable of a President, assassinated just six and a half months into his term in office. But he’s still an interesting point of connection to the Gilded Age of Ohio. And we occupied ourselves for an hour or so, wandering in his footsteps — and playing in the football stadium at Hiram College.

No matter what we do on Monday afternoons, I appreciate the chance to spend time with my kids. We’ve got a weekly tradition going back to when our kids were very little. We started by calling it “Special Thing with Daddy.” More recently, it’s been shortened to “Special Thing.” But we try to maintain a variety of museums, parks, cafes, playgrounds, historical sites, and whatever else catches our fancy. As my kids have gotten into middle school and high school, our “Special Thing” has been compromised by after-school activities (especially soccer practices). When soccer season ends, though, it’s all the more special to get back to Special Things.

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