Last time I mentioned our cemetery trips that became small family reunions. My mother’s parents, Roy and Marie Parry, are buried at Deersville, Ohio. Our visits there were an annual event – not necessarily for Memorial Day – often in the summer.
The night before there was an excitement in the air as we prepared for the trip. The food smells the next morning were not the usual breakfast kind. Through the scent of coffee came the aromas of ham loaf and baked beans. The smell of Grandma’s baked limas through newspaper wrap wafted from the car trunk and all the way there kept me thinking of the meal to come. How I loved Grandma’s baked limas!
It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Deersville from Signal, first through Lisbon out Route 30 to Kensington.
That’s where we always enjoy a family joke about the Kensington Dairy Bar. One year, when I was probably some school age less than 10, we stopped there for lunch. (We must have taken our trip after church instead of having a mid-day meal with our relatives.) I was sitting on the front bench seat of the car in the middle. I had a hot dog with plenty of mustard and I had laid it down on the car seat beside me – just for a minute. Mom got in and sat back down beside me… too soon… on my hot dog. The mustard showed up nice and bold on her navy blue print skirt. I remember there was a considerable upset among the grown-ups about why I would lay my hot dog down on the car seat. Ever since that year, when we go through Kensington past the Dairy Bar, Dad calls out, “That’s where Mom sat on the hot dog,” and we have a good laugh.
Mom’s cousin, Lucile West, and her husband, Hod, lived on Route 800 south of the Tappan Lake region. Their address at one time was R.D. 2, Tippecanoe (which we thought was cute because it rhymed). Often, other cousins, Ruth and Ray Morgan, and their family came from Elizabeth, W. Va., (near Parkersburg). Deersville was a halfway point between them and us.
After a filling buffet style meal, we drove to Deersville Cemetery where I always looked for the angel marker which was a short distance from our family’s Parry headstone. I’ve taken my daughters’ pictures beside her several times. Recently, I learned the angel has been stolen.
Although we don’t make it there for “Memorial” time every year, we have visited for vacations. That may sound odd, but quaint, little Deersville has found some publicity in recent years for becoming a bit of a tourist spot.
Several homes on the main street have been bought by enterprising folks who have turned them into bed and breakfast inns or vacation cottages. My Aunt Osie (Osella) Parry’s house is one of them, of course, the one we chose to rent. There is a general store noted for its hand dipped ice cream. Tappan Lake is nearby for swimming, boating, or fishing and the Dennison/Uhrichsville area has all the shopping spots for supplies.
We first stayed there when Josie, now 13, was almost 3. That year we went to the Warther Museum, which made a nice day trip. We went back when Kathie came along, but she was too little to remember it now. Both girls want to go back enough that they each said so in school reports about “where I want to go on vacation.” I’m sure their “Deersville, Ohio” seemed a strange contrast to the usual “Florida” and Disneyworld” type responses.
I’m very glad because I want to vacation in Deersville again, too. It’s the kind of place to take a book you’ve been wanting to read, the kids can swim every day, you get away for your usual routine, but you are still in “beautiful Ohio.” Maybe this summer …