Usually when writing this column I’m all fired up about some issue in North Ridgeville. Having just returned from a week long camping trip – no Internet, no phone calls, no deadlines lurking – I’ve chosen to eke out every last bit of relaxation by just conveying some random thoughts. No preaching, no whining. (Perhaps hell hath frozen over after all?)

The Corn Festival is this weekend. Oh, how I love the smell of roasted corn. Be sure to read the stories about the festival’s scheduled musical groups, which are contained in the festival insert in this week’s edition. The interviews I conducted were fun, and you’ll learn the diverse histories of the bands. Talking to “Duke” in the Van-Dells was a privilege … the man is a legend, having been in “the biz” for more than 35 years.

After a long bout of gorgeousness, my nails have been chewed down to their fingertips again, and I noticed Dr. Scott Arndt’s article in last week’s newspaper addressed nail biters. He says he has some tips on how to overcome the habit, but I think I’ve figured out my problem: Teenagers. My oldest son just left to return to college at Purdue, while my youngest son is back to slamming people – and being slammed – into the boards at the hockey rink during summer camp. (Why, oh why,

did I ever invest in braces for that kid? He often smirks and tells me I could have used birth control 16 years ago and avoided the angst.) He’s also getting crunched on the football field, aiming to be one of this season’s linebackers at Parma High School. I wish he could wear pads so thick he’d resemble the Sta-Puft

Marshmallow Man, but the locker room taunts would be anything but sweet.

City Engineer Larry Griffith retires in just a few weeks, and I’m definitely going to miss him. Besides being one of the most friendly, helpful people I’ve come to know in the city, he truly cares about people and the environment. His biweekly reports at City Council meetings, which ranged from the evils of dumping grass clippings into the sewers to doggy doo-doo don’t-don’ts, always elicited a chuckle – and a nod – from those who listened. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.

On the final day of my late-July vacation, my husband, son and I went to Cleveland Browns training camp in Berea. None of us had ever been there, so it was a good time (and free … how awesome is that?). There are, however, some certifiable nut jobs that show up at those practices. If I turn 60 and suddenly adorn myself in dog bones, neon face paint and orange hair, someone pleeeeeze wrestle me into a strait jacket and cart me off. People actually do that stuff, despite 90-plus degree heat. Watching the people on the sidelines, at least for me, provided more entertainment than the guys on the field. One thing was very apparent to me, though, and that’s how much the Cleveland Browns players truly appreciate the fans that come out to watch them. I was impressed.

I would love to share with the community all the fun you experienced over the summer, whether you vacationed near or far. Send me your favorite summertime photos of someplace you visited or even of your kids doing something enjoyable outside. Send your unedited photos to mladywrites@yahoo.com. Be sure to give me the details of what your pictures are showing, too. My goal is to publish them in a future edition.

See you at the Corn Fest!

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