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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 1/9/2010

Special people, animals shape memories of 2009

"Review" is the key word with the arrival of each new year. Looking back to the outstanding happenings fills a lot of news space, and remembering the past year is a popular topic of conversation among friends.

My personal review is not from a national prospective and it does not cover a year, but has to do with several simple, sweet things and one sad memory since Nov. 19 when I pulled out of my Posey Lake driveway on a road trip heading south. When am I coming home? No plans. Snowbirds may brag about where they are from, but they also keep a watchful eye on back-home weather reports.

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At a major truck stop on the outskirts of Ohio Amish country, where many semis and cars were competing for a place to park, an example of faith and entrepreneurship remains fresh in memory. I wish I had taken the time to park and approach the Amish woman selling baked goods in the midst of the busy intersection. Her horse and buggy were parked nearby, lending a tender contrast to the massive motor vehicles.

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When you travel alone having breakfast at a counter is a chance to talk to people and not occupy a booth. At one counter breakfast there was a bonus. When I told the waitress I had to hurry because my dog was in the car she said, "Just a minute" and returned with two slices of bacon culled from a plate that was destined for the garbage. It made Digby's day.

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The sad entry in the diary occurred at a gas station in the rolling Virginia countryside. I wrote down the name of the station thinking I might return to in some way help the dog that had been abandoned. Instead, I will always hope that some kind motorist took the dog home or to a shelter. As I left the dog continued to run to each car that drove into the station and once chased a pickup truck a long distance.

The folks at the station said it is a common occurrence for people to let their dogs out of the car and then drive off, leaving the animals in total dismay and frustration. They said most of the abandoned dogs get killed by a car or truck. I bought some bowls, gave it water and some of Digby's food, and probably should have put it in the back seat. But it seemed at the time the large, strong, excited dog - he looked like a boxer - would overpower old Digby. Excuses come easy in such situations.

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When you see a decorated car in Florida at Christmas time you can count on it being a snowbird who misses having a tree and other traditional decorations. The Merry Christmas sign stayed secure inside the windshield, but the big red velvet bow was hard to keep intact on the front grille. After losing the bow twice in the wind, and stopping in heavy traffic to retrieve it, I stopped at a hardware store for more wire. As I had hoped, the salesman wired the bow on. It is still there, making it easy to find the car in parking lots.

Another Christmas good deed goes all the way back home to North Dover Cemetery near Posey Lake. On a bitter cold day friend Randy Schnee drove from Rossford to the cemetery to decorate my mother's grave with arrangements of holly and poinsettias. Then he called to tell me he had kept his promise.

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Brigitta and Tibor are among the hundreds of foreigners who come to the United States to work in the hospitality industry. After watching them clean my room thoroughly and at a fast pace in a St. Augustine Beach, Fla., motel during a two-week stay, my respect for their work ethic increased each day.

Brigitta, 26, also does body painting at a downtown St. Augustine store. Tibor is 25. When they have saved enough money they will return to their homes at Nyiregyhaza, Hungary. They will do similar work in New York City after this assignment. Between here and there, hopefully they will get a taste of Tony Packo's Hungarian cuisine in Toledo.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

Contact her at: mpowell@theblade.com.



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