Tag Archives: Marion

Marion, Ohio, Flora—Not Much to See

An orange flower teems with bees.

This is how you know that your partner of 22 years really understands you:

When the Mister (and our #2 son) picked up our #1 son and myself from the Columbus, Ohio, airport recently, he wanted to do one thing first: Drive to Delaware State Park (yes, it’s actually in Ohio) and show me some wildflowers to photograph. Good thing I had my Nikon D300 and Nikon 105mm macro lens at the ready!

A lily blooms in front of the Warren G. Harding Memorial.

As regular readers know, shooting photos at a disc golf tournament, like the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships, involves so much more than just capturing action for me. I sometimes enjoy snapping the flowers and insects more, especially the ones that don’t move!

The top view of a bee

Speaking of bugs, there weren’t many willing to sit and pose for me. Particularly not butterflies, unfortunately.

A bug rests on a black-eyed Susan (no relation).

And there really weren’t a lot of wildflowers to photograph. Kind of disappointing considering some of the disc golf play was in state parks, which I thought would be overflowing with flora.

An ant checks out a purply wildflower.

Texas definitely has more wildflowers everywhere you go. Perhaps it has to do with the climate.

Purply flowers starting to de-purple.

This wildflower was my favorite among the few I saw. It starts out purple . . .

Fluff city!

. . . and ends up all fluffy! Ready to dance in the wind and settle in new locations around Ohio. Maybe they’ll even swoop down south, pick up some wildflower seeds from Texas during their travels, and give the locals more variety to look at!

The Jinx Family Flies Again

Only we would be on a plane that needs to park on the runway.

Would someone please remove that “kick us, airplanes” sign from our backs? Our family really is tired of encountering problems every time we travel . . . which isn’t very often.

As my #2 son succinctly put it: “We suck on airplanes.”

Yep, sadly we do.

My #1 son texts on his iPhone 4 to pass the time.

Check out these previous posts for evidence of our past plane problems here, here, and here.

I wonder if the other passengers would have been trying to book other flights if only they had known about our reputation. As in, oh, oh, here comes the Jinx family.

My #2 son wishes we were back in Houston.

For awhile, I thought we actually were going to have a trip that was almost flawless when it came to air travel. Sure, the Mister and our #2 son were delayed about an hour leaving Houston for Columbus, Ohio, because the plane was waiting for passengers and then their luggage. But leaving from Columbus to return to Houston seemed easy-peasy. Almost too easy.

As we were on the small Continental Express jet, I watched the flight attendant give her safety spiel. I remember thinking, “Could we finally have a flight where nothing goes wrong?”

We started to taxi on the runway and prepared for takeoff. I settled back in my seat, anxious for the moment when I could turn back on my iPad, when the captain spoke to us.

“An alarm has gone off in the cockpit. We’re going to pull off to the side of the runway and check it out.”

Oh, oh! Not something someone who hates to fly likes to hear.

Long story short, we went back to the terminal, deplaned, and walked back inside. With express jets, passengers board outside up a flight of steps. We had to go back down those steps, grab our carry-on bags, go up the stairs, and sit and wait for another hour until a new plane could be brought in. And then we had to ride that same travel merry-go-round one more time.

This was much better than our six-hour delay in Kansas City last summer. But it just figured that the Jinx clan would get kicked one more time.

Next time we fly, I’m checking to make sure nothing’s been taped to our backs!

Up in the clouds . . . I think

My #1 son blocks my view of the great outdoors.

As I’ve posted before, I’m a huge cloud fan. I never can get enough of photographing the fluffy stuff, either snapping away on the ground or in the air.

Usually when we fly, I make sure I have the window seat so I can take photos. However, this time I was with my #1 son on our way to Ohio to meet his dad and brother, and I put his comfort ahead of my photographic needs. So, of course, he totally blocked my view, both with his head and by keeping the shade closed. Saddened me greatly.

The moon is visible.

But on the way back to Houston, I made sure that I got a window seat (my three guys all sat in single seats). With my Nikon D300 and Nikon 24-120mm lens at the ready, I intermittently snapped away while reading an iBook. At first, the skies were clear.

A double cloud layer

But before long the clouds started to roll in.

Patchy clouds

There’s just nothing like looking out the window and feeling like you’re in another world.

Fluffy clouds

Fluffy clouds are all you can see for miles and miles. It’s so easy to get lost in your thoughts without a care in the world.

Terra firma appears once again!

Fortunately, just when you’ve entered an alternate universe and begin to forget your identity, the clouds part, and Texas appears below.

That means that before long we’ll be on the ground and soon headed to our house . . . back to our rain-soaked yard and several loads of laundry. It’s just life’s way of hitting you with that reality 2 by 4 and saying, “Welcome home!”

Discin’ It Up at Am Worlds

My #2 son tees off during the tournament.

The primary reason we were in Marion, Ohio, last week on our non-vacation was for my 15-year-old #2 son to compete in his second Amateur Disc Golf World Championships. #2 was anxious to see if he could build on the lessons learned from last year’s tournament in Kansas City (where he finished 14th out of 25 boys in the 16 and under age group)—specifically, his goal was to advance at least to the semifinals after the six rounds of 18 holes each.

#2 drops in an easy birdie putt.

#2 was right on track after the first three rounds, sitting in a comfortable tie for seventh place out of 20 boys. Then I showed up. The Mister and #2 had flown to Marion early, while my #1 son and I came in time to watch #2’s final three rounds (not that big bro watched any of the disc golf action).

The first hole #2 faced for round number four. See the basket through the trees?

The venue for round number four was Alum Creek State Park. Almost every hole was surrounded by lots and lots of trees. Our disc golf courses in Houston are wide open, almost the opposite of those #2 played on in Ohio. So he was ill-prepared for the conditions. And that meant he hit a lot of trees. Hitting trees usually isn’t a good way to keep your score low in disc golf.

Ian's drive needs to clear the lake.

Speaking of being ill-prepared, so was I photographically! I had no idea how dark the woods would be (didn’t even know there would be woods!) or how bright the non-woods conditions would be in contrast, which meant I was constantly fiddling with the settings on my Nikon D300 that I paired with my trusty Nikon 105mm macro lens.

Oops! Somehow this post is now about me and my photo problems. Mea culpa! Back to the disc golf action!

Colten tees off.

Long story short, my beloved #2 son did so poorly that he dropped back to tenth place and rode back to the motel with his face buried in a towel the entire way. Which made me cry, because he thinks I jinx him when I watch him play. My heart was breaking as I looked at him in the back seat of the rental car, towel not moving from his face.

Being a parent is not always easy!

Nate F. putts.

Once #2 looked at the results online and saw that some other boys struggled, too, he felt a little better. But not much!

It's an easy putt for Nate S.

The next morning we moved on to round number five in the oddly named Delaware State Park (not that we were even in the state of Delaware). Once again, state park = more trees than you can possibly count. And all those trees, sadly, once again meant that my little guy struggled. In fact, by hole nine he was telling us that he was quitting the sport totally and wouldn’t play his final round that afternoon.

John flies his disc towards the basket.

The Mister and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. . . we’ve been there before with him. This kid has retired from sports more often than Brett Favre!

Our good friend Eric comes to the rescue!

Fortunately, when #2 was at his lowest point, our disc golf-playing pal from the Houston area, Eric (who was competing in the advanced division), showed up and walked the last few holes with him. That seemed to steady #2’s emotions. He still finished with what was a poor score for him, keeping him in the tenth spot, but he had rallied from the shortest retirement known to mankind. Soon he was making plans for next year’s Am Worlds in Rochester, New York!

With a better, uplifted attitude, #2 showed what he could do in his last round at Aumiller Park in Bucyrus. Even though there was, as usual, a plethora of trees, #2 made much-better shots and stayed out of trouble. He was rewarded with his best round of the tournament. No, it wasn’t good enough to move him up a couple spots to the semis, but it was a great way to end his Am Worlds competition. Plus he finished better (10 out of 20) than a year ago.

And I felt so relieved, because I walked every step of the way with him . . . and apparently broke loose of my jinx designation! Hooray!

Truly the “worlds”

Felix sinks a putt.

What’s neat about Am Worlds is that players come from all over to compete. My #2 son played with Seppo, who hails from Finland, and Felix, who calls Normandy, France, home. Nate S. flew in from California, Colten from Colorado, and Stephen from Georgia, while Nate F. made the short drive with his dad from Dayton, Ohio. And now #2 is Facebook friends with some of them!

Andrew's putt heads for the basket.

The competition in the boys’ 16 and under division came down to Seppo vs. North Carolina native Andrew, who had won the 13 and under division last year. After six tourney rounds, the 18-hole semifinal, and the nine-hole final, both boys were tied for first at 37 strokes under par. What an epic battle they waged!

Seppo shows off his cool putting style.

But on the first sudden-death playoff hole, the Finn got the best of Andrew, winning the coveted title by a stroke. My #2 son watched and wondered what could have been for himself if he hadn’t experienced so much “tree love” in his early rounds.

There’s always next year in Rochester!

Our Family Takes Another Non-Vacation

The Warren G. Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio

When is a vacation not a vacation? If there’s little in the way of sightseeing or relaxation, then what you’re really on is merely a trip. Now trips can be journeys and fun in their own way, as the Mister, our #2 son, and I found out last year when #2 competed in the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships in Kansas City. But for us, they sure ain’t vacations!

Information about the Harding Memorial is contained on this cement structure.

That point once again was driven home last week when my #2 son played in yet another Am Worlds, this time in Marion, Ohio. What was there to do in this little town 50 miles north of Columbus? Play disc golf (#2 son), watch disc golf (the Mister and I), and enjoy the hotel room (our #1 son; we’ll look into why he came along later this week).

Warren G. Harding and his wife Florence

Other than that, we had the Warren G. Harding Memorial to visit for, oh, five solid minutes.

Inside the memorial are the final resting places of the Hardings.

Harding ran the local Marion newspaper before moving on to become an Ohio senator and lieutenant governor. He was elected as our 29th president in 1921 only to die of a heart attack in 1923. His wife, Florence, passed away the following year. The rumor was that she poisoned Warren G., because he was a womanizer who had fathered at least one child out of wedlock. Sounds like things haven’t changed much with some of our politicians, unfortunately.

A close-up of where the Hardings are buried.

Even though this looks peaceful, I wonder what it’s like to spend eternity next to the woman who might have killed you!

My #1 son is, of course, less than enthused.

For my #1 son, the Harding Memorial was, of course, Lame-o City. Even though many historians consider it to be the most beautiful of the presidential tombs, the building was all yawns and “can we go now” for the college kid.

My #2 son, though, enjoys the Harding Memorial experience.

But not his younger brother! #2 had fun during our short visit for one reason:

My apparently headless #2 son tries to move cement.

He wanted to see if, like in the “National Treasure” movie, the information kiosk could be turned and taken out to reveal something exciting hidden beneath.

Big bro doesn't want to help little bro.

Alas and alack, none of us would help him turn the heavy structure, leaving him to ponder the what-ifs.

And it left me to wonder what if this was to be the highlight of our trip?!? Only time would tell.