A walk in the park
My great-grandson, Stephen, and I walked in Rocky River Reservation one day recently and for a while, returned to the America that once was.
Stephen saw his first gray squirrel as we walked along the river path toward the Nature Center. We passed it to climb the 155 wooden steps up to the top of a big hill overlooking the river. As we made our way up, we received encouraging words from people coming down. Once on top, Stephen, declared, “We did it! An 82-year-old man and a 6-year-old boy did it!” To the amusement and congratulations of others on top.
We paused briefly there to watch a few planes in the distance just over some trees and after arguing whether they were taking off or landing at the airport, we continued along the upper trail.
We then came across a young deer with new antlers calmly eating some greens, not bothered as we stood right next to him, “up close and personal.” A nice lady approached and told us where to see a woodpecker farther along the trail, loudly pecking.
As we walked, everyone we encountered and their dogs, could not have been nicer – as if we were meeting old friends. Leaving the trail for the river bank near a bridge, Stephen skipped rocks and waded in the water – along with other children, safely distanced.
A nearby family with small children was doing some wading and fishing. The smallest child, a girl about 15 months old, picked up a little rock, decided that I should have it and walked over to present it to me. I treasure it.
Another family’s mom, a little farther away, fishing in some clear water. She kindly told us we could watch. When she caught a fish, Stephen got to feel a live fish for the first time. Last week when we went fishing, without any luck, all he got to feel was the worms.
Our brief adventures that day made me feel as If I had traveled back in time to an America most of us loved – friendly, neighbors helping neighbors, with strangers as friends we just hadn’t met yet. It was as if, although we had never met these people before, we had all missed each other.
My thanks to every new friend we made that day and to that squirrel, that buck, a hard-working woodpecker and the fish – who was returned to its river.
Mel Maurer is a retired Manager of Administrative Quality and Distribution for the Boston Weatherhead Division of Dana Corporation. During his 43 years with Dana, He held management positions in Accounting, Information Technology and Administrative Quality and Dsitribution. Mr. Maurer’s civic duties when working included being a member of the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce serving as Chairman of the Government Relations Division and serving as host of the Chamber’s Public Affairs Roundtable. He was also member of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce - Government Affairs Committee and a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee. He also served as a member of the Williamson County Economic Development Showcase Committee, a member of the Tennessee Association Of Business Public Affairs Committee; a member of the Policy Board of Directors for INROADS/NASHVILLE INC. and a member of the Board of Directors of the Williamson County Heart Association. He wrote columns on government affairs for the Chamber Newsletter and the Nashville Multiple Sclerosis Association. He chaired the Williamson County Toys For Tots (T4T) Campaign and chaired the Government Relations Committee of the Middle Tennessee MS Society. In his retirement, he is a member of the Government Relations committee of the Buckeye Chapter of the MS Society and a 2007 enductee into the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame and was selected as one of the “Faces of Westlake” in 2007. He is past president of the Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, now its Historian, and past president of the Philosophical Club of Cleveland and a member of the Titanic Historic Society. He is the 2009 Charirman of Westlake’s Charter Review Committee. He also writes articles for various organizations and speaks on a variety of topics. He has had more than 500 “Letters to Editors” printed in a number of newspapers and magazines including: Time, Readers Digest, USA Today, The Plain Dealer, The Sun Press, The Nashville Tennessean, The New Republic and others. He is also a published poet. He has hosted over 50 hours of TV shows broadcast on on cable in Cleveland and other cities in Northeast Ohio and has appeared in two plays presented by the Civil War Roundtable and one at the Huntington Playhouse. Mr. Maurer received a Bachelor of Science degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He and his wife, Elaine, live in Westlake, Ohio. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter. His interests include writing and speaking on community affairs, charitable causes, history, political issues and personal experiences.