Presidents Day in Ravenna

The "Chester Alan Arthur"

Scanning through the archives of old photos and blog posts, it seems that this is the tenth year of my Winter Beard Tradition. I have a good, smooth shave on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and then I let it grow for the next couple of months until Presidents Day. This obscure holiday usually falls a week or two before my birthday, so I often (but not always) start by “honoring” some of the Presidents of the United States who had facial hair (in case you’re interested, I have them all listed and categorized on a post from 2019, but sadly the photos and links have fallen into disrepair). The two main paths are a “Ulysses Grant” to an “Abraham Lincoln” to a “John Quincy Adams” to a “Jimmy Carter” or a “Ulysses Grant” to a “Chester Arthur” to a “William Taft” to a “Theodore Roosevelt.”

Romping around Ravenna

This year, I opted for the “Chester Arthur” on Presidents Day — though I don’t plan to do other U.S. Presidents on my way back to a clean-shaven face this year. Instead, I’m planning to follow an absurd suggestion that’s been made (a couple of times) by my daughter Olivia, going from the “Chester Arthur” to the “Oxygen Tubes.” But not until the end of the week, when I’m within striking distance of my birthday (walking around with the “Chester Arthur” can be distracting enough!).

Romping around Ravenna

And Cor and I participated in another Presidents Day tradition by going together to a historical site in Northeast Ohio that has some connection to U.S. Presidents. This year’s destination: Ravenna.

Romping around Ravenna

I’ll admit that Ravenna’s connection to Presidential history is a tenuous one. The town served as a temporary residence for the Grant Family, into which Ulysses Grant was eventually born (though, I believe, his birth didn’t happen until his family had moved to a different part of Ohio). There are actually no historical markers pointing to the site of the Grant Family’s farm. But Ravenna is still a beautiful old Ohio town, with a classic Main Street featuring the Portage County Courthouse. So, it feels kind of Presidential. And in any event, Cor had a dentist’s appointment in the afternoon, so the visit was inevitable — whether we made much of its history or not.

Romping around Ravenna

The air temperature was pretty cold, but the sunshine was brilliant. And it felt kind of fun to walk around downtown after Cor’s appointment was finished (no cavities, but the dentist says that his gums may need some more attention in his daily brushing regimen). The town has some really eye-catching murals, and other visually-engaging places for shooting photographs.

Romping around Ravenna

Our favorite part of this informal field trip to Ravenna, however, was probably our visit to the local Dairy Queen. While enjoying Blizzards together (immediately undoing the work that the dental professionals had just finished), we happened to notice an older couple who were enjoying Banana Splits nearby. I thought their sense of style was so “on point” for today’s younger generations that I decided to ask them if I could take their picture (thinking that I would send it to my son Elliot and daughter Olivia, who love to visit thrift shops for the very sort of clothes that they were wearing). And even though we felt it was a little risky to interrupt their conversation with such a bold request, they were happy to oblige.

Romping around Ravenna

Don’t you just love the kitties sweater?!? The yellow sunglasses over top of the eyeglasses?!? The jackets… the shoes… They just looked great! And they were happy to talk with us for a while. Their names were Ray and Jan, and they grew up in Ravenna. They couldn’t tell us much about the town’s connection to U.S. Presidential history (seems like we may have known more than they did on that particular front), but they could tell us a lot about the local schools and restaurants and themselves. They were lovely. And our conversation in the Dairy Queen just ended up being the icing on the cake for an enjoyable Presidents Day in Ravenna.

This entry was posted in Adolescence, American Politics, Food, Ohio, Photography, Politics, Recreation, Traditions, Young Adulthood. Bookmark the permalink.

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