Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rock & Roll Memories - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Rock & Roll Memories

Bob Seger’s 1979 hit, “Old Time Rock & Roll” was playing on the radio recently, and a blog topic came to mind when listening to the following lyrics:

Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n’ roll

This hit song is the number two most played jukebox single of all time, behind Patsy Cline's “Crazy; maybe it should be the theme song of my blog! Oops; Tom Cruise already used it as his theme song from the movie “Risky Business”. Hilarious!

Speaking of theme songs, another one of my favorite Seger songs is “Like a Rock”, the song in Chevy Trucks during the 1990’s. As a Ford employee, it was not good to like a competitors ad, but I did! Little know fact; in 1963 Seger took a job on the Ford assembly line near Detroit, filling conveyors for automatic transmissions, nine hours a day, six days a week for $4.20 an hour. He left after three weeks, began recording and the rest is history! One of his early songs was “Night Moves” about “working on those awkward teenage blues, in the back seat of my '60 Chevy, trying to make some front page drive-in news, workin’ on our night moves” Hum, that line could be the subject of an entire blog, except I had a ’59 Chevy!

Seger and the Silver Bullet Band got their big break in the mid-70’s opening for the rock band KISS's US tour, including one show at Dayton’s Hara Arena as shown on the poster below. KISS head singer Gene Simmons said Seger and company made them a much better band, because they had to be a cut above their opening act, which was a real challenge.

Soon Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band were headlining their own tour and it would stay that way until the late 80’s, when Bob took a 10 year sabbatical from song writing and touring to raise his kids and spend time with his family while they were growing up. About the same time, my wife and I were looking for a lakefront home here in Michigan and the very first home our realtor showed us was a California-style contemporary on Upper Straits Lake, aerial photo shown below. We were looking for something more traditional so chose not to make an offer on the home; however, shortly thereafter, Bob Seger and his wife bought the place as they were returning from living in California. He said at the time he wanted to raise his two kids in the midwest away from the Hollywood scene. As a result, the home was perfect for them; meanwhile we did eventually find a more traditional place on the same lake about a 1/2 mile away.

Several years later, the home next to Bob Seger burnt down (not for lack of water), so he bought the lot, demolished his place and built a much larger home on the combined lot pictured below. Likely the royalties Chevy paid him for the use of “Like a Rock” during his sabbatical paid for the new home, which included a fully furnished recording studio, as well as a 16 car garage and based on the number of chimney’s, a ton of fireplaces. He also took up golf, playing most Sunday afternoons with his wife and kids at the golf course shown in the aerial photo just north of the lake.

Bob is also an avid Detroit Tiger’s fan, having sung “America the Beautiful” at the first game of the 2006 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tigers. Occasionally, we see Bob riding his Harley around town, which always brings to mind his ballad “Roll Me Away” about picking up a girl in Mackinaw City and heading west on his bike.

Once his kids were grown (see photo of the family on the right at Seger’s 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction), Bob restarted his Silver Bullet band to begin recording and touring again. One of his songs, “Beautiful Loser” is about a guy who "wants to dream like a young man with the wisdom of an old man.” Right down my alley, neighbor Bob! Thanks for the memories.

For more old time rock & roll memories, catch Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band on their upcoming tour in Toledo, Columbus or Cincinnati by clicking this link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Famous Shelby County Native - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Famous Shelby County Native

Ever wonder who are the most famous people from each of Ohio’s 88 counties? Me neither, but someone did and took the time to create this interesting website listing photos and bio’s of each. Of course, most are Presidents, movie stars or athletes. Many were in their prime as I was growing up. For example, Shelby County’s most famous native, Paul Lauterbur, whom you’ve likely never heard of, invented the MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, a device he is standing next to in the photo above. His invention saves the lives of countless people each day. He was awarded the Nobel prize for his invention in 2003.

Mr. Lauterbur was a 1947 graduate from Sidney High, and was recognized for his accomplishments by having the science wing of the school named in his honor. He attended Case Institute of Technology where he graduated with a chemistry degree and eventually earned a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. He came up with the idea for the MRI in the late sixties while eating at a Big Boy restaurant in Pittsburgh and scribbled the concept on a paper napkin.

Mr. Lautebur never became rich from the invention because the State University of New York, where he was working at the time, never chose to have it patented. He died in 2007 at the age of 77 after finishing his career teaching and doing research at the University of Illinois.

Many of the more populous counties in Ohio listed runner-up nominees, like Lucas County, with Coach Jim Harbaugh runner up to Gloria Steinem; although Jim’s dad Jack Harbaugh was most famous from Crawford County. And no surprise, Urban Meyer made the list from Ashtabula County. Interestingly, Pickaway County had slim pickings as its most famous was porn star John Holmes aka Johnny Wad! Jack Nicklaus beat out Archie Griffin in Franklin County while Paul Newman bested Bob Hope and President Garfield in Cuyahoga County. My favorite famous person of all the 88 counties is Civil War General and President Ulysses S. Grant. After reading a ton of Civil War books and presidential biographies, Grant was a standout, even more so than Lincoln in my view, if for no other reason than being an Ohio native like me!

Some of the other famous people from nearby counties are:

Allen - Comedienne Phillis Diller

Darke - Sharpshooter Annie Oakley

Montgomery - Airplane inventor Orville Wright (Wilbur was born in Indiana)

Auglaize - Astronaut Neil Armstrong 

Mercer - Songwriter Wendall Mobley

Miami - NFL player and TV announcer Chris Carter

Champaign - Golf course designer Pete Dye

Logan - Writer Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Binge Golf - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Binge Golf

Ever since retiring, I’ve been invited every year by a fraternity brother to play Double Eagle Golf Club, shown in the aerial photo above. The Club is in Galena, Ohio, north of Columbus and the goal for their guests as shown below is “to enjoy the game of golf in near perfect surroundings”.

Double Eagle’s founder, John McConnell a WWII Iwo Jima veteran, was the owner of Columbus-based steelmaker, Worthington Industries, until his death in 2008. The land where the golf course is located was once a hunting preserve for his employees. When it became known that the land was to be converted to a golf course, a number of employees wrote a letter asking for a meeting with him to request that the land be kept as a hunting preserve. Now Mr. McConnell was a cigar-chomping, old-style, tough-as-nails businessman, who upon their arrival, purposefully took the tip of his cigar, lit the letter in the corner and threw it in the waste basket. That burnt remnant of the letter is now framed and prominently displayed in the front lobby of the Double Eagle club house that is visible behind our binge golf participants shown in the photo below. Mr. McConnell’s and his wife Peggy’s ashes have been spread over the par three 16th hole shown in the above aerial view where his wife once scored a hole-in-one while they were playing together. There is a monument plaque in the ground behind the green commemorating their lives. The couple's former home on the golf course grounds is now used for conferences and overnight golfers.

Double Eagle represents quite a contrast to the local courses I first played years ago, Shelby Oaks and Arrowhead, both literally carved out of “cow pastures”. Never having a lesson back in those days, I honed my "grooved swing" over the years, adjusting on the fly to whatever worked. Click on this previous blogpost about my first round while in high school. Ironically, as stated in the blog, I scored a 45 on my first ever 9 hole round, and that is just what I scored to close out our last nine at Double Eagle this past week. Some things never change!

The eight of us had a great time playing binge golf last week. Our host is on the far right and that’s me on the far left. We departed at 5:30 in the morning for the three hour trip, played 36 holes the first day (thus the “binge golf” moniker for this annual event), followed by dinner at the Club. Each of us brings a bottle of wine to share, and all 8 bottles somehow always disappear as the evening progresses. We started that practice years ago after one of the guys (Mark Mathews - second from right) who claims to be a wine connoisseur, ordered the most expensive vintages from the Club's fine wine list. Our host made this discovery when he eventually analyzed his monthly bill from the Club so the costs could be divided. Ouch! The next year, our host brought along a bottle of Two Buck Chuck (Charles Shaw Winery) and had the Club decant it so Mr. Mathews, with the self-proclaimed "fine wine palate" that cost us big time the previous year, couldn’t see the label. He tasted it and really thought it was an outstanding wine, exuberantly describing the nuances of the flavor and aroma. Then the empty bottle suddenly appears and we all had a hearty laugh at his expense. This year, he brings a cheap bottle of wine from of all places, Mathews winery in Washington state that was not spectacular. Next year we’re already planning to have fake labels made up with each of our last names to paste on our respective bottles.

After arriving at the Club, I was assigned to a locker right across from lockers of two famous Double Eagle members as shown in the photo below. For all you Buckeye fans, I did leave a maize and blue deposit in Urban’s locker!

After 36 holes, wine and dinner, we then proceeded to the illuminated putting green to play “putting for dollars”, eventually adjourning to our on-site cottage with bedrooms at each corner and a large great room in the middle to watch the last quarter of the Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals game on a huge big screen HDTV.

After a restful night’s sleep, we were up again bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning to play another round. The finishing hole is a long par five over water from both the tee and to an elevated green behind the Clubhouse as pictured below. I don’t ever recall having made par on the hole! Most likely neither has our host, as after any errant shot, he puts the blame squarely on his once-broken collarbone that occurred back in college during a pick-up football game when I tried to block a punt he was kicking and my arm come down on his collarbone, breaking it in several places! He’s earned many, many handicap adjustments out of that incident from 50 years ago!

After the round, we enjoyed lunch, dividing up the winnings and sharing stories of the round before heading home. On the way back to Michigan, we were lamenting that our gracious host is in the process of selling his home, with plans to eventually move to Asheville, NC (he claims the arthritis in his collarbone is forcing him to warmer climes!). Unfortunately, once the move occurs, he will probably give up his membership at Double Eagle - boo hoo! But then we suddenly realized that Augusta National is only 3 hours from Asheville. We challenged him to get a membership there (right!), so we can upgrade our “enjoyment of golf from near perfect to perfect surroundings”.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

New Lake Loramie Spillway - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

New Lake Loramie Spillway

The Lake Loramie spillway dam, pictured above, is being reconstructed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. I’m not sure when the original was built, perhaps in 1844 when the Loramie Creek was dammed up to feed the Miami-Erie canal documented in this past blogpost. As kids, we would climb all over that 220 foot long spillway and also fish in the downstream catch basins. In those days, we never had spinning reels; instead we used cheap cane poles that could be broken down into several pieces just like the vintage cane pole pictured on the left being sold on eBay recently. The line, bobber and stringer were wrapped around the cane pole pieces and attached to the side of our bikes for the ride to the lake. We’d find worms for bait under rocks around the base of the spillway, and keep anything we caught, mostly yellow-bellied catfish, on the stringer which was hung from the handlebar of the bike for the short ride home.

In later years, the walkway above the 23 foot high spillway was beyond repair and closed permanently. I do distinctly remember riding my bike across the spillway many times. That and a thousand other things we did as kids would be considered taboo today, but back then, we were adventurers, always pretending to be Danial Boone or my favorite, Davy Crockett.

In order to remove the old spillway, a temporary earthen and stone structure called a cofferdam had to be constructed to keep water from entering the existing spillway area as shown in the photo below. Also, a temporary pumping system was added to bypass water downstream around the dam to facilitate drainage and any excess flow. This allowed the area around the old spillway to eventually dry up so demolition and dam reconstruction could occur.

Construction on the new dam is underway as shown in the May 10th photos below. The new dam, due for completion in the spring of 2018, will be of a totally different design than the old spillway and will meet all the latest design standards. For more information, click on this recent Sidney Daily News article.

The ODNR has placed signs around the construction zone reminding Park visitors to stay clear of all work sites at the spillway. At my age, I’ll heed their warning, but if I were 10 again.....

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Turn Back The Clock 42 Years Russia Fans...

Russia baseball fans should enjoy this one from the Piqua Daily Call archive and our favorite sports writer Jim Naveau...

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