So I ended up being soooo over the whole 11:00 a.m. check out time and had to get some work done and rest a bit, so I stayed in Ohio for another night and I’m so glad I did. As you can see below, lunch was at Bob Evans and it was lovely. After many hours of writing, I needed to nourish myself again and figured it was easy to just walk over there and eat dinner. I’m so over trying to find authentic, independent eateries in these towns. It’s just too much work. I have found some by chance but it’s not high priority anymore. It would take a lot of research and considering this trip only started being thought of about a month ago, I didn't exactly have the time to plan or the desire to. So I ordered a BBQ fried chicken tortilla chip corn on the cob salad. Yup, all of that was in there. And lettuce. It was dead this time because it was 8:30 p.m. and folks were probably getting ready for bed. But not two gentlemen who were nice enough to strike up conversations with me. The first simply saw me with my laptop and said, “what’s that you got there?” and asked if I was doing my homework. He was very cute. Asked who made it. I said Apple and he nodded with pursed lips. Said good night and was on his way. Then another gentleman walked in and sat at the counter. The adorable waitress asked if he wanted his “regular” and he nodded as she recounted each part of his order. The other cutie patootie behind the counter confirmed that he is now a full-fledged regular if she can recall all of that. His name was Rod and when he saw me on the computer, he too, asked if I was doing my homework. I said, “work but not HOME work since I am pretty far from home.”
This exchange made me realize that this was the first person that started a genuine conversation with me since I left Saugerties. Sure I had spoken to folks but no one actually initiated anything. So he asked where I was from, what I did for work and why I was in Ohio. He was very sweet. Every few minutes or so, he’d stop and say, “Sorry if I’m buggin’ ya.” I kept reassuring him that this was the most I had spoken to someone in days and it was a welcomed change. And I think that these are the only places where folks will talk to me because they are damn friendly, they're relaxed and this IS where most folks go when there is a chain option. Not sure why but it's the truth.
He asked if I would critique his company’s website since I had the laptop and all and I agreed. Luckily, it was very nice and organized. He said a French guy did it and he liked the guy. Rod explained a little about his furniture business and said that it was housed in one of the oldest barns in the state and it was made of brick, not wood. He told me a little about the area and said that a few weeks back, the GM Metal Fabrication Division down the road closed so a lot of people around these parts would be out of a job. Lots of depression type feelings going on around here. I said that I had been to Bucyrus and got that feeling there. Lots of stores closed down and little going on other than the bratwurst festival. Rod had lived near Mansfield his entire life. Had been a golf pro for some years and went to college a few hours away but ultimately lived in the area his whole life.
I explained that I was heading out tomorrow to go to Indiana for the next leg of my trip and he asked if I’d like to see his store before I went to the movie I had scheduled for the evening. I said yes, took a photo of his license plate without him knowing (just in case), and followed his car to the Furniture Barn. It was incredible! Took lots of pictures, learned a lot of history and saw amazing craftsmanship. He showed me the only known pool stick holder with 24 (?) locks for back when players would leave their stick at the bar but lock it up. He now found an ingenious way of making his own using lipstick. Sorry Rod, I hope I'm not giving away trade secrets but I love when I meet folks who absolutely LOVE their work and have a passion for sharing it with others. He is a collector of many things antique and country (slot machines, horseshoes and copper bins) and I had a great time seeing it all. Little did he know that he came across the one person in that restaurant that WOULD truly appreciate all the antiques and stories behind the barn's history. They even made moonshine in a small house out front but it's no longer there.
So if you are ever in Ohio and are in the market for some high quality furniture, drop by. Here's his website: springmillfurniturebarn.com. And be sure to tell him Elizabeth sent you. Then again, I'm not sure I ever told him my name after all that chatting. Funny, eh? Then again, I'm sure he doesn't run into too many NYC girls with laptops at Bob Evans so just mention that instead. Apparently, folks fly in on helicopters to shop there! I saw the pictures.
He took a photo of me in this enormous chair that has travelled to many places as a fun prop. And on my way out, gave me a yard stick with the company’s info on it. So sweet. I couldn’t help but ask as I saw his vintage slot machine collection whether he had children that would inherit this all or maybe even continue the business. He has a son and daughter but didn't think they'd be interested to continue the business. Understandable but sad nonetheless. Anyway, it was a pleasure to meet him and I was so glad he spoke to me. I told him this as I shook his hand and headed out to make my movie.
Sure enough, I got "lost" and once I got to the theatre, I was at the wrong one. So instead, I doubled back and went back to his shop because as I was leaving the driveway, I noticed an active drive-in theatre across the street. I would have bailed on the Cineplex if I hadn’t already purchased my ticket on the internet (only $2.50). But whatever, it was a good twist of fate. I went to see the same movie (“Funny People”) at an old-fashioned drive-in theatre across from the oldest barn in Ohio. I am just steppin’ in it left and right. First the drive-in root beer place, now this. So the girl at the ticket booth at Springmill Drive-In Theatre told me to tune in to 91.9 FM and just pull up to Screen 2. That’s right. This drive-in had not one, but two screens. Never heard of that before. It was awesome. I sat my Subaru between two pickup trucks that had young folks making out on blankets in the flat beds. How cool is that! Now I’m back home at the Motel 6 watching some Comedy Central. Good times, good times.
Another thing I realized today is that this is my vacation. I didn’t plan it and although I had these crazy ideas when I set out for this adventure, it doesn’t matter one bit if none of those things comes to pass. What I was thinking when I devised this plan to have an on-the-road tag sale, I don’t know. I would have to have major cojones to pull something like that off. Major! Also, the idea of only going to small towns and finding a place to stay. Not as doable as it sounds in the little movie I’ve made up in my silly head. This is so like me though. Since I was a young girl making up stories about passers-by in the mall while my mother and sisters shopped, I’ve always thought my ideas could become reality. Even when they involve middle America, a hatchback and an umbrella to keep the sun away. But I’m glad I never stop making up these insane scenarios. It’s still fun to dream that life can be like the movies.
By the way, the real reason I stayed another night here is that the light in here makes me look fabulous. You girls know what I’m talking about. When you look in the mirror, even without makeup on and start unscrewing light bulbs to see what brand they are because you’ve never looked better! That is this room! I look tan, have definition in my face in all the right places, and don’t even need to put eyeliner on. Oh, and Matthea and May, I totally did my EO-TaiChi today outside of Room 107. Granted, no one was around to watch, but I did it. I needed to after all the lying in bed with my laptop on my legs. They needed some stretchin’.
So if I can get my ass to bed now, I am going to try and wake up at a reasonable hour to get on the road and head to Peru, Indiana.