En Hiver

Findlay and Eden 005a
Andre FLanagan, along W Elm in Over-the-Rhine

I missed Saturday. I know. I didn’t have time. I’ve not really been able to get to sleep at a decent hour unless I’m completely exhausted. That might happen tonight. It doesn’t matter what time I put my head down, either; I just can’t really sleep. This time of year is always a little on the tough side for me, between weather and other events. I spend a lot of energy just working on doing what needs to be done. I washed my dishes today, so I was pretty excited about that. Even the really big ones, the stock pot and the 13″ casserole dish. Over my three-day weekend, I had other plans, things I was going to do. I did one of those things I planned. Fortunately, that one thing was wash dishes. I did another thing I planned that I forgot I planned, though – went out shooting† with a friend.

I wasn’t sure what was actually going to happen Saturday morning when I left for work that Friday. I just knew I was looking forward to not having to get up. Again, rough time of year. I made a date, though, and frankly, I really needed to leave the house and spend time with another human being. Best to do that with a human being you actually want to spend time with, don’t you think?

Saturday dawns, and I rise a couple hours after that, something not all that common for me, actually.  I’m usually up before eight on Saturday mornings. Sunday mornings, might go all the way to 8:30 if I’m tired. This past Saturday, it was almost 9:30. That’s practically the middle of the morning! Which is kinda weird to say, actually, when I remember that I’m not really a morning person; not sure when that changed. Before I remembered my plans for that day, I intended to stay in bed and only get out to use the bathroom and eat.‡ Instead, I had to bathe and eat and put on clothes suitable for wearing in public. In January. One of the coldest Januarys in decades. And I was going to be spending hours outside. In the cold. I don’t like being cold. I’m cold right now, and I’m not too thrilled with it. I’ll live.

Findlay and Eden 008b
Since 1852

When the temperature reached the double-digits a little after eleven, and after I ran a couple errands, my friend picked me up, and off we went. We started off with a place I’ve never been, a place I should have been years before, as a Cincinnati native, but never had – Findlay Market. An important landmark in town, this is where the Reds Opening Day Parade begins. It’s where people came with their parents and grandparents, and got special cookies or had lunch with freshly-sliced ham, spent the day browsing the different stalls inside and out in the spring and summer, meeting up with friends for years. My mother was from Indiana, so it wasn’t part of her childhood, therefore it wasn’t part of mine. I was an adult before I ever had goetta, for crying out loud! At least that I remember.

Anyway, I put on my four layers (wait, lemme count again – five layers), and off we went. It took a minute or two to find a place to park, until we just parked in a lot. Walking down West Elm, to the western entrance of the market, we paused to visit with Andre Flanagan. He’s a fixture there every Saturday and Sunday, he said, out there singing for his supper. The cup in front of him helps him get by. It’s not much, but it could make the difference. He’s not begging, though; when we got out of the car, a little better than a block away, I could hear his voice echoing between the buildings. It was hard to miss. Not trained, but that doesn’t matter – it’s a good voice, and it’s a voice that believes what it sings. Andre will perform any number of hymns for you. And if you want, he’ll even give you a little sermon. In my brief visit with him, there was nothing but love in his conversation. Maybe I didn’t completely agree with everything he said, but he did have something to say, and he charmed nearly everyone walking by.

Findlay and Eden 025a
Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices

Once I’d lost feeling in my fingers, we walked into the market proper. Well, eventually; had to stand outside and take a few pictures from there, too, just to get the lay of the land. Remember, I’d never been there before. The first thing I noticed was the crowd. I figured there would be a lot of people, but maybe not so many, since it was so cold. And honestly, for the time of day, maybe it wasn’t that crowded. I really didn’t know what to expect. To the right, a little gelato stand, with a line. This is Ohio – it’s never too cold for ice cream. To the left, a spice merchant, with a counter covered with jars full of various exotic aromas. A little further in, there were butchers and bakers. The candlestick makers were in a different part of the market, one of the outer inside stalls. I walked up and down the main building, trying to remember not to stop in the middle of the narrow aisle, or at least, get out of the way. I didn’t buy much while I was there, I was there to look. I was thirsty, so I got a bottle of water, and there was a honey stall where I bought ten honey straws. Some were flavored with fruit, others were flavored by where the bees got the nectar. I couldn’t help myself, either – I bought a teeny honey bear with wild flower honey. Very good, I’ve never had anything like it. The honey straws didn’t last the night. Three of them were gone before we got back to the car.

Findlay and Eden 133b1
Future magnolia blossoms

We left the market after not quite two hours – since that was all we had at the lot – and headed for somewhere else. I suggested Eden Park, since I wanted to see what I could do with snow pictures. It was cold, so the snow we got hadn’t melted, but it was also overcast – more snow was due. We did wander a little bit, get some shots of the gazebo by mirror lake, and made our way to the magnolia garden. I thought we might try the overlook, but we needed to go back to the car and drive. The walk back from there would have been exhausting. Unfortunately, Krohn Conservatory was open, so parking along the street was non-existent, and the road around the twin lakes was closed. Not sure why, but it probably was because of the recent weather. It was cold and I was tired and sore, and we were hungry, so we went out to have a bite to eat. IHOP. One with a good soundtrack.

Not bad.


†You should know by now, I’m shooting with a camera
‡Did that Sunday


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