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I have officially voted in my 8th general election.  My first election to vote was in 1984.

I am always excited to get my I VOTED sticker.  There is something powerful in that little badge of admission that reminds me of my responsibility as a citizen of the United States of America.  My little badge does not discriminate by defining me into a political party. It does, however, broadcast I participate in the life of my country.

I pulled into the parking garage at the Montgomery County Building on West Third at 12:55pm.  I was a bit daunted by the long line that wound around the main floor hall.  In fact, I compared it to lines at Kings Island – long, winding, and filled with a wild assortment of individuals and personalities.  Despite the line’s length, I only stood in it for less than 10 minutes.

Next to me in line, and throughout the process was a really neat couple, Don & Jane Russell, from Miami Township.  They are friends with several families I know and love, The DeVores and The Kopecs!  In fact, they attended my production of The Sound of Music in 1999!

From the first staging area of seating, we were moved downstairs in a group of approximately 150.  In the first basement, I received #371.  After a ten minute wait in the next area of seating, we were moved downstairs to the auditorium where we filled out our ballot envelope and form.

After a short wait, we were moved into a corral of folks to enter our information into the computer.  I was assisted by a lady who happened to be the manager, and she was a delight.  In fact, all of the board of election personnel were absolutely kind, and very helpful.  Their sense of humor added to the enjoyment of the process.

Within a minute, my ballot was ready and I was aimed to a series of rooms where folks were voting.  I finally found a place way in the back, and settled down at the table to fill in my ballot.

I proudly voted for neighbor, Ashley Webb, first.  Ashley is running for Montgomery County Commissioner.

I had never voted with pen and paper – always the little punch cards, or electronic voting machines.  This felt incredible to actually fill in my own ballot.

When I had completed my ballot, I walked it to the reception area to have it sealed.  It was handed back to me so I could place it in the ballot box.

That was so exciting!

As I returned to the one lower level, I saw a prospective voter holding a card with #974!  Upstairs, the lines were ever longer, and I followed the line clear out to the parking garage!  Incredible!  I suspect there were at least 1500 waiting in line on two of the three floors.

All in all, this was a positive experience, and one for which I am proud to have participated.  I got to meet some really nice folks (the Russells), and experience the voting process in a completely different manner. It felt good to see tons of people taking the time to vote. Simply impressive!



One hundred seventy years ago, Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln, November 4, 1842.

Mary Todd weds Abraham Lincoln

Thus, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married at the Edwards’ home on Friday evening, November 4, 1842. About 30 relatives and friends, all hastily invited, attended the ceremony which was conducted by Reverend Dresser who was wearing canonical robes. Mary wore a lovely white muslin dress. She wore neither a veil nor flowers in her hair.

Mary’s bridesmaids were Julia M. Jayne (in 1843 she married Lyman Trumbull who later became a U.S. Senator), Anna Caesaria Rodney, and Miss Elizabeth Todd. Abraham’s best man was James Harvey Matheny, 24, who was a close friend and worked at the circuit court office in Springfield. Matheny was asked by Lincoln to be best man on the day of the wedding!

Reverend Dresser used “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony” from a book entitled The Book of Common Prayer According to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States(Philadelphia, Carey & Hart, 1836). Standing behind Abraham during the ceremony was heavyset Judge Thomas C. Browne of the Illinois Supreme Court. Browne was a blunt man not accustomed to weddings. As Abraham was putting the wedding ring on Mary’s hand and repeating the words, “With this ring I thee endow with all my goods, chattels, lands, and tenements,” Browne impatiently blurted out, “God Almighty, Lincoln, the statute fixes all that.” After a brief delay following Browne’s interruption, the ceremony was completed as rain poured outside. Judge Browne was once impeached for feeblemindedness after a hearing in the Springfield courthouse.

A week after the marriage, on November 11, 1842, Abraham wrote a letter to a friend, Samuel D. Marshall. Most of the letter dealt with legal matters, but Abraham closed the letter with the following sentence: “Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me, is a matter of profound wonder.”

The Day Miss Todd became Mrs. Lincoln

…Love Is Eternal…

The night of their marriage, Abraham Lincoln slipped on to Mary Todd’s finger an Etruscan gold wedding band.  Inside the ring, the words, Love is eternal, were engraved.

When historians refer to the wedding ring that Abraham Lincoln gave to Mary on November 4, 1842, they usually claim that the inscription read “Love is eternal.”  However, according to the Chicago Tribune edition of July 18, 1882, there were more than three words engraved.

Prior to her death, Mary removed her wedding ring from her finger.  On July 16, 1882, in her sister Elizabeth Edwards’ house, the same house where she had married Abraham Lincoln forty years before, she passed away.  The following day, some of Elizabeth’s friends found the ring and discovered that the inscription read, “A.L. to Mary, Nov. 4, 1842. Love is Eternal.”  The ring was subsequently placed on Mary’s finger, where it had been for forty years, and was buried with her remains in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.

Happy GOTCHA Day to Flyer!

I went to a farm just South of Xenia, Ohio, and watched four adorable 10 week old puppies scamper about the back. I noticed the black and white runt was the leader for the larger three who were brown and white.

The daddy, Caesar, was a black and white Springer Spaniel, and the mommy, Portia, was a black lab and husky – looked exactly like a slender black lab but had bright blue eyes.

The mother tried to kill the runt by hiding her in the foot rest of a recliner in the woodshed, but the young girls at the farm would rescue her. The family kept the runt alive, and she took over the lead of her 8 siblings (one had died at birth).

Wilbur Wright with Flyer, 1908

I paid $25 – one of the most inexpensive, best $25 I’ve ever paid.

We got into the car, and the puppy sat down and looked around. As I drove away she looked bored, already. She was too small to look out the windows, so she walked over to me, laid down, and laid her head on my thigh.

I decided she would be named, Flyer, in honor of the Wright Brothers. En route to Centerville, we stopped at Woodland Cemetery. Flyer hopped out of the car and hopped among the tomb stones. She stopped at the Wright family estate, sniffed, walked over to Wilbur’s stone, and laid down.

It was not until three years later I learned Wilbur Wright, while demonstrating his flying machine in France, 1908, acquired a dog which he named, Flyer! Wilbur’s Flyer is commemorated on the nifty carousel at Dayton History at Carillon Park.

Flyer knows her commands in English, German, snapping fingers, and when she could see, sign language.

August 2010, Flyer suffered from acute pancreatitis, and nearly died.  She rallied, and resumed good health, but within a few months, she began losing her sight.  Flyer’s blindness does not prevent her from moving around with ease, nor having a great time with the family.

She’s been a great pal for eleven years.

At Wilbur Wright’s grave through the years…










Wilbur Wright’s Flyer & the Carillon Park carousel’s Flyer…

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Tonight, Fairmont’s Marching Firebirds took the performance field for the final time this season.  We placed fourth in a line-up of excellent bands.

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Watch the photos in the video:

The Marching Firebirds Final Competition, 2012


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