Last weekend we visited with Trevor and Lauren and Bryce in Athens, Ohio. It had been awhile since we had seen them, and Tom had never been to Athens, and I had never seen their new house. We had a wonderful time. Trevor and Lauren, despite being sick themselves, scheduled a delightful weekend for us. As Trevor has already described much of our goings on, I will just point out my favorite parts!
Saturday morning we attended a genuine Appalachian auction. Now this was my first real encounter with the Appalachian mentality. It seems one of their favorite pastimes involves passing around “stuff”- most of which the rest of the the US would regard as junk. They are your mental image of hillbilly and in Athens, they actually define the stereotype- everyone lives on a hill, without much of a yard, just a steep decline covered in trees. We arrived at the auction late, do to a relaxing morning and a delicious pancake breakfast, so we didn’t have time to scope everything out, as is apparently usually done. That meant that everything was a surprise for us. They were selling a menagerie of things. Everything from toilet paper to a gorgeous dinning room set equipped with 8 chairs, a beautiful wood table with 3 leaves, and a china closet (that sold for $300!). At first we were just enjoying the cultural experience. Watching the regular bidders, amazing at the speed of the auctioneer, and laughing at some of the purchases. But not long after being there we found ourselves swept away in the adrenaline rush that an auction is. When Tom saw a man walk out with a telescope he had reported bought for $100 dollars, he got excited and he and Trevor decided to register. With their white cards with big numbers written on them they were ready to bid! We sat there anticipating every item. When a huge painting was held up we all looked at each other in excitement. Tom and I looked at each other questioningly. Did we want it? Where would be put it? How much would we pay for it? Could we get it home? Mostly we just excited and jittered at the prospect of actually bidding on it. In the mean time Trevor decided he wanted it. He was struggling to get his card out of his pocket when.. .”Sold for 15 dollars!” That was that. We later found out it was a Rembrandt print, textured and framed it was a real steal. Trevor offered to buy it from the man for more money, but he looked at him like he was crazy, and said he wouldn’t sell it. We didn’t stay long as we wanted to get back for President Hinckley’s funeral, but the experience was well worth the drive down. I have to admit I looked up auction locations in Cleveland, and Tom and I are looking forward to the day when we actually need to buy furniture so we can try out our speed in bidding!
Saturday night Trevor showed us around the creepy but fascinating Mental facilities of the “Ridges.” The old building holds many scary stories, most of which are apparently false, but all of which give the place a haunted quality. The building is huge and actually quite beautiful, it is the building you see in the background of the above picture. Following we got to see the OU campus. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and well kept all the buildings were, as well as the alarming number of building projects. The new student union building is impressive to say the least. Trevor really chose a great school. We ended the night with a visit to the local Middle Eastern restaurant. We all had a good laugh when we found out Trevor had taken us to the performance space of a belly dancer. (He was humiliated, which made the situation all the more funny.) The food was great, and the company better.
Sunday after church, Trev drove us around to their favorite sites. Namely to a beautiful peaceful park with a large lake. Past the most incredible house you have ever seen, and by incredible I mean bizzare. It had probably 7 additions, all which were obviously performed by the owner, the last addition being a turret on top, it looked like a building out of a Picasso cubist painting. The front was decorated with a wide range of decorative baskets, pots, and pans all nailed to the house. It was actually very beautiful, and would make for a terrific picture. The other fun site was a local house that’s brick is laid in waves. You drive up and the brick almost looks like it is moving, swirling into itself. It is really quite an optical illusion. The funny thing is, it is just someone’s small brick house, there is no plack to label it a tourist attraction, just the possession of some very artsy folks. We drove past an Indian mound. It sits seemingly unnoticed in a residential neighborhood, again without documentation, and yet the site is amazing when you consider it was created by human hands.
Our favorite part of the weekend however was playing with Bryce, Trevor and Lauren’s 1 year old son. He is a real hoot. He makes lots of faces and loves to play golf. He will hand you the putter then hold his hand up and then swing it down and say “oooh” (in imitation of the Your mark, get set, Go!) Often when you ask him if he wants something he likes he will respond by holding his hands up with his fingers spread wide, and say YAAAAAH- in a highly aspirated fashion, with is eyes wide and his mouth broad. He adores Trevor and Lauren and came running across the gym jabbering and squealing when Lauren returned from her brief absence during the third hour of church during which she teaches in Young Womens. He is learning to say “G’s,” they add a hilarious quality to his vowel dominated talk. He loves cheddar bunnies and is a great eater. We enjoyed reading him stories. At one point he brought we a Pop up book that had been well loved, often when he would open the flaps the Pop-up animals would be completely torn out, and yet he would still gasp in excitement! He likes chips with the salsa. He is well loved by all the kids in the ward, they all know his name and call out to him when they pass him in the hall.
Trevor and Lauren have a great little house with a huge yard. All of their neighbors are kind and have diverse and original personality. There is Tiny next door, a spritely old woman, who went to the auction for the sole purpose of helping them find another bed for their guest bedroom, to the football fanatic across the street, and the street “sheriff” who sits out on his porch and keeps a watch out. It has a nice newly applianced kitchen, and a homey open quality.
We had a wonderful weekend, and can’t wait to go down again! Thanks Trevor and Lauren!