Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Rest of the Story

By Joann M. Ringelstetter

In our last blog post, Ruth told the story of the fun we had with some people we met at lunch in Shawnee, Ohio in the spring of 2012. What she didn’t tell you was what happened prior to lunch that day and a related occurrence a day and a half later many miles away.

Prior to arriving in Shawnee, we had stopped to get gas and bought a big bag of ice for the cooler. Rather than mess with the cooler at the gas station, we decided we’d wait until we got to a park in Shawnee to do that. Irwin, our trusty GPS, does a fairly good job of telling us where parks are located, so we followed his directions to take us to the one park he knew about.

Irwin guided us along the main street where there were many old historic buildings that we would have liked to photograph immediately. But we knew we needed to get to the park to take care of the cooler. So, we turned down a side street off the main drag and followed Irwin’s directions. He said the park was at the end of the block. When we got there, unfortunately, there was no park. After expressing our frustration to Irwin, we turned around and headed back towards the main street to find someone who could tell us if there was another park in town.

But we were worried about the ice melting in the bag, so we pulled over on that street to deal with the cooler. On one side of the street, there was just a wooded area. On the other side there was a hill with a house on top. And near that house was a storage shed that had been painted with a “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” sign. We pulled the cooler from the cargo area, unloaded all the food, drained it, replaced the ice, and reloaded it. Then we tried to find someone who could tell us if the town had another park. Luckily, it did and that’s where we met the two women with the hungry children.

That night, we stayed at a motel in Athens, which is about 40 minutes south of Shawnee. The next day we started heading north (in our usual roundabout way). We planned to stay overnight in Berlin so we could explore the Amish countryside the following day. As the crow flies, Berlin is about 2.5 hours from Athens, but we spent the day zig-zagging along the backroads of central Ohio, admiring many beautiful farms along the way.

And we passed through many small towns where we explored the streets for special treasures, like this service station sign for Buick and Ford cars, along with Firestone Tires.

That evening, we checked into our motel in the heart of Amish country and, as we were unpacking the car, we noticed a woman watching us and looking like she had something she wanted to say to us. Finally, she approached us and said, “I feel like I know you.” Well, she didn’t look familiar to us and we didn’t have the same feeling about her. So, we waited to hear more.

She then asked us if we had been in Shawnee the day before. We said that, yes, we had been in Shawnee, and we were thinking that maybe she had passed us on the street while we were busy photographing. But then she asked if we had pulled over on the side of the road and emptied our cooler. Again, we said that we had, and we were trying to figure out how she knew that because no one had passed by while we did that. Also, here we were two hours north of Shawnee and someone was describing our exact movements in Shawnee the day before.

The woman then sheepishly explained that she lived in the house on the hill, with the Mail Pouch Tobacco shed, and that she was watching us the whole time, trying to figure out what the heck we were doing. Well, we had a good laugh over that and we ended up talking with her for quite a while before wrapping up our day and figuring out where we would be at first light the next morning.

As the famous radio storyteller Paul Harvey used to say at the end of his broadcasts, "And now you know the rest of the story."

Happy Shunpiking!

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  1. Thanks for telling the balance of the story of your trip to Shawnee. 'Would have been interesting to discover what she was doing in Berlin herself!

  2. What a lovely happenstance of meeting of the person from Shawnee, in Berlin. As usual wonderful story and pics. :)

  3. Wow! Funny how those things happen. It's nice that she "introduced" herself!

  4. Jean, Stephanie, and Phyllis, sorry for the recent delays in responding to your comments. We used to get emails when someone left a comment, but that hasn't been working for weeks now and a fix has not been forthcoming from Blogger. So I have to remember to continually check for comments. Yes, it is funny when you find out someone was watching you without you knowing it and also to meet them many miles away. She was probably in Berlin to visit the Amish like we were. One thing I didn't mention was that she gave me some contact information for one of Shawnee's historians, which is always a helpful bit of information to have. Thanks for your comments.