Within hours after the For Sale sign was staked in front of the Farm House, people began asking, Where are you going? I would rather they would have wanted to talk business and get out a check book, but I suppose that was a normal question.
To answer it, I say probably Toledo, which provokes a second question: Why?
That s an easy answer. There is a lot to do in Toledo. All sides of the city and areas throughout Lucas County are bustling with activities that are both fun and educational.
I lived there enough years to know what I have been missing since returning to Lenawee County in southern Michigan, 12 miles from Adrian, my hometown. Since the move to Posey Lake in 1995, the Toledo calendar seems to be bursting at the seams.
One reason is that every first-time event that is declared a success becomes an annual event, especially the benefits that go on and on. I have put thousands of miles on three cars returning for special events. The last two weekends are good examples.
Digby and I were invited to judge the pet parade at the Little Sisters of the Poor Dog Days of Summer festival last Sunday. Are we going to turn down such an honor, especially when Sister Paul promised a golf cart for us to ride in and to dog-sit Digby?
I must interject to tell those of you who have written such kind letters after my report of Digby s increasing signs of aging that he is doing remarkably well. I suspect he read the column about his demise and decided to show me. In fact, at Sunday s festival when he was in the dog-sitting area he jumped into the lake to cool off. When the attendants expressed concern, I said it s OK, we live at the lake and he swims often to cool off. He did stand still when the Rev. Joseph O Brien blessed the dogs. If you are into baking dog biscuits our favorite recipe is on the Little Sisters Web page.
An equally important reason for the drive to the Little Sisters facility at Navarre Avenue and Wynn Road was to see the Sacred Heart Home now that it is completed and with 70 permanent residents and therapy dogs living there. The festival funds are earmarked for the order s mission to help the elderly poor, and the spacious, beautiful new building speaks well for their determination. Never without a new project, the Little Sisters now have a senior center in the works on the same property that they say will have goals no other center has.
I have judged many contests, from apple pie to zucchini pizza, but I must say judging the 50 dolled-up dogs was tough. The young mother from Blissfield who pulled a wagon with five Newfoundland puppies and her children got a lot of attention. The woman carrying a sign reading, When I am an old dog I shall wear a red hat and purple dress, made me think Digby and I could do that. She and her dog were both dressed in red hats and purple dresses.
I have a strong feeling that the sisters, led by Molly Long, their dynamo development department director, will make the festival an annual event, so begin thinking of a costume for your dog.
Such major community benefits depend on volunteers. At the dog days festival more than 100 volunteers did everything from serve chicken and green beans to sell Nun Better Dog Biscuits.
One week later, it was back to Toledo for the annual Northwest Ohio Rib-Off on the river at Promenade Park, where selecting the professional judging panel has been my bailiwick for the 22 years it has been held.
I have often wondered if the estimated 70,000 people chomping on ribs know where the money they spend at the rib festival goes. Sure, the vendors take home money, but the major recipient is United Health Services, which is headquartered in Toledo and reaches into the 19 counties of northwest Ohio to help people with disabilities. It takes 800 volunteers to make the Rib-Off happen, and most of them are repeaters.
Other reasons to live in the city are the Mobile Meals benefits, Wine Gala, and the Chili Cookoff, and being closer to the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Museum of Art, to say nothing of choices of several large supermarkets, department stores, a smorgasbord of restaurants, and Dr. Good and the Maumee tooth fairy.
On the other hand, Adrian and Lenawee County have plenty of culture. The Croswell Opera House presents great productions, and today is the last presentation of Hello Dolly! The Adrian Symphony Orchestra, a professional orchestra drawing talents from an 80-mile radius, promises a delightful entertainment of classical, pops, chamber, and family concerts under the direction of John Dodson. For its 13 performances in the 2004-2005 season the orchestra will move from Dawson Auditorium at Adrian College, to Francoeur Hall at Siena Heights College, and to the Croswell, which gives ticket holders a variation in settings as well as music.
I cherish my lifetime ties with Adrian College and the monthly meetings with high school classmates. Now an Irish Festival is being planned in the Irish Hills 12 miles from my home for this fall, which I won t want to miss.
Less traffic and the small city environment are big plusses in the Adrian area. You can get from points A to B is a few minutes. Lately, Toledo traffic sends me home stressed, and it s not just the orange barrels. No, it s not my age, shame on you.
I surely am torn between the two Ls. Lenawee or Lucas: Which county will be my new home?
I have always wanted a motor home. This may be the right time for one so that I could avoid the decision about where to buy my new house.