My cousins tackled the Ironman in Ohio, and I was there to watch. My part in this challenge was simple: do whatever they wanted me to do.
So my brother and I drove by corn fields upon cornfields to stand in the blazing sun for hours to catch a glimpse of them for 30 seconds. SO WORTH IT.
My brother and I drove back and prepared a barbecue, complete with decorations of congratulations. SO WORTH IT, especially since my brother has fire-phobia and the grill caught on fire when he was grilling so there was a lot of spatula waving and running away.
I cleaned the kitchen, and my brother threw out the garbage. I sat on the deck, and everyone went swimming in nature’s water where there were ducks and plants and other live creatures below the surface. We all laughed a lot. We all caught up a lot. My brother, my uncle, and I froze in the tundra of the lower level of the house.
My cousins asked me to sign my books they’d bought and brought. My cousin read a poem from the book, and then so did my brother.
There was some drinking, and I had half a sip of a kamikaze and remembered why they were so dangerous. Also dangerous is the incredible loyalty my family has towards me after this past year and a half.
There was a boat debacle in which my cousin needed to pull a boat with some water in it out of the water before it rained so there would not be more water in it. My brother was then enlisted to help, which entailed a lot of supervising. My other cousin then went down and practically lifted the boat all on her own. Then there was the need to flip it over. The rest of us stood above on the balcony, acting like Statler and Waldorf. The scene offered some great comedy for the family sitting on their deck across the lake from us.
There was a birthday celebration. More decorating. Some cake. There were early morning conversations over tea. There were loads of dishwashing in a dishwasher that fell out of the wall when opened.
There was also sightseeing. My brother and I hit up Columbus where we found:
A scrap metal horse and other large things. Ohio State campus is a city unto itself.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger statue. After driving in circles and not finding it anywhere, I pulled the car over and yelled at the map. That’s when my brother looked up and said, Hey, is that it? And it was! Hooray!
The World’s Largest Gavel. Under construction so I couldn’t get up on it, but I got up as near it as possible, and it was gavelicious.
Scioto Mile. This was like my brother’s Becket Shrine of Canterbury. We walked along the mile and found public art, which is, as we all know, one of my top ten favorite things in the entire world.
A deer on a bridge. Not much more to say about that.
The German Village. For us little Raus, this was heaven. We found The Book Loft, which has 32 rooms of reading pleasure. We also found Schmidt’s Haus Restaurant and Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, and it was like home.
Back at the house, more swimming, more lounging, more laughs. I taught a quick yoga class. There was always something cooking or baking in the kitchen. We all had matching shirts.