My parents were the quintessential power couple when it came to grumpy kids. My father would accuse us of “bulling around,” and Mother would chime in: “scratch your mad place and get glad!”
Living up to that heritage, I do my best to manage periodic occurrences of crabbiness. Although nothing of deep, dark import has happened recently to rile me, I have been a bit cranky around the edges. The panacea: adjusting my view of the proverbial glass or – even better – looking on the sunny side of things. Checking my inventory, I can indeed recall a fair number of reasons to smile.
For example, I thoroughly enjoyed almost every televised minute of this year’s Olympic trials. A favorite spectator sport is women’s gymnastics, so obviously I remained glued to my TV for every flip, twist, and stuck landing.
While I also followed most of the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle events, I paid extra attention to another water sport, springboard diving – which looks downright death-defying to me!
I also became completely engrossed in the running, jumping, and throwing of track-and-field. Fascinated by the triple jump, I also learned that the steeplechase is not just for horses. And while I was wowed by the speed, height, or length of each event, I was double-wowed by such amazing athletic feats accomplished in triple-digit temperatures.
Naturally, a local connection to national and international events makes them even more exciting, and the Graham community has just that in David Taylor, the 2009 GHS grad and now Olympic wrestler headed for Japan. There are also a couple of young ladies whose names and achievements are making Falcon folks proud.
As recently detailed in the UDC, Lora Current of Rosewood is now the reigning Miss Ohio. Lora’s father, Dr. Chad Current and his siblings, graduated from GHS, so lots of the Falcon faithful will be watching Lora compete for the title of Miss America later this year. By the way, she has also worn the crowns of Champaign County Fair Queen and Ohio Fairs’ Queen.
The other new queen in our midst is Katelynn Hall, recently crowned National Junior Miss Agriculture USA. Her mother, Elizabeth Bodey Hall, is a GHS alum, as are her grandmother and aunt, Kim Thompson Bodey and Jenn Bodey Randall. Katelynn, an upcoming freshman at Miami East, will serve as an AGvocate in celebrating and promoting agriculture during her reign.
What makes me happy about these girls and the groups they represent goes far beyond glittery tiaras and sparkly dresses, however. As longtime members of well-established organizations such as 4-H and Girl Scouts, they have also discovered the importance of setting goals. Now both have great opportunities to learn about themselves and their abilities while creating outreach programs to help others improve their lives. I love this kind of positive potential for young women!
When I need to ignore the ridiculous or the unfair, I turn to trivial trivia. Just last week I clicked on an internet list entitled “50 Unexpected Things Made in Each State.” There may be limited actual purpose for such information other than to neutralize life’s minor irritations – but, hey, I might be able to shout more correct responses at whichever celebrity is guest-hosting on Jeopardy!
I now know that chandeliers fashioned from bull elk antlers are made in Wyoming, and Alaska produces costume jewelry and holiday ornaments from moose feces. Georgia, known for peaches and pecans, is also the sole source of Vidalia onions, its state vegetable. The first bundt cake pan was manufactured in Minnesota in 1950, but sales really took off in 1966 when the Tunnel of Fudge Cake won 2nd place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
But here is the really good stuff. The first Wiffle ball and bat were manufactured in Connecticut in 1953, and production of these classic toys remains exclusive to that state. Same story for Moon Pies, the popular snack of round graham cookies with marshmallow filling: the Chattanooga Bakery has continued as sole source of the confection since 1917. And I am still trying to wrap my head around the factoid that 90% of all disco balls in the U.S. are made in Kentucky, of all places. Since the demise of Studio 54 and the Bee Gees, however, just one lady in the Louisville factory glues mirrored tiles onto metal spheres, completing a half dozen of the glitzy orbs during a good week.
And what about Ohio? It seems that Brillo Pads, the steel wool cleaning items containing soap, have been manufactured for 100 years just down the road in London. Who knew?
As these several bright spots improve my mood, I feel the crankiness draining away. With national athletic achievement to cheer, with locally-connected young people to cheer on, with bits of Americana to recognize and celebrate, why pout about things I cannot control anyway?
Life is good when a friend drops off a piece of homemade pineapple upside down cake just because. Appreciation for gifts bestowed expressed in the form of a friend’s spontaneous call or a handwritten note from a great-niece lights up an entire day. And it is smiles all around when another great-niece announces she will go to first grade if her daddy’s NASCAR driver wins a race; if not, she is staying in kindergarten!
I guess I am living the dream, after all – over here on the sunny side of the week!
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.