I met Joan over 25 years ago at a library show and we started an instant friendship. I began caring for her children in my daycare. JJ was the same age as my son Nick and Mary was the same age as my daughter Jamie. Not only did I care for her children, but Joan and I had one of those friendships that come along once in a lifetime. We thought the same way, had the same opinions about family and raising children.....we just "clicked". Sadly, Joan's husband Jeff was transferred to Ohio after I'd only known them a couple of years. I took the kids and my husband (now ex) and we drove to Ohio the following year for a visit - and I hadn't seen her since then. But we kept in touch via mail - and more recently through email and Facebook.
A few months ago, Jeff and Joan made a very short visit to New England and Hubby and I were so happy to have them over for breakfast. Joan and Jeff got to meet my new Hubby and see our new house. We all hit it off - again! So when I broached the subject with Joan to stop by and visit on our way home from Memphis, she couldn't have been more enthusiastic.
I knew it was going to be a great visit when I texted Joan to say we'd be later than expected, and her text back said, "No problem...drive safe. It's cold and rainy here but warm and friendly inside." And it was. I have never felt more welcomed in anyone's home.
Joan made us some wonderful home-made soup that first night. She makes almost all her own food - including bread. Everything was delicious. We totally enjoyed chatting and visiting with them that evening. Hubby and Jeff hit it off as well.....especially after Jeff showed Hubby his vinyl collection!
The next morning, after a fabulous home-made breakfast, the decision was made to go to "Jungle Jim's"....a local grocery store that is so much more than just a grocery store!!
The outside of the store has statues of all kinds of animals.
Start your carts!
There is an amazing amount of crazy things hanging all over the place. This Campbell Soup can sings when you walk past it.
The place is enormous....with every possible food from every possible country. There were six aisles of cheese, most of which I'd never heard of. And some $120/pound meat in the deli.
They sold all kinds of beer....which they let you drink samples of. Hubby tried a shot before he bought a "growler".
Their bathrooms were voted the best public bathrooms in the country. They look like port-a-potties on the outside, but are real bathrooms when you enter.
A different kind of Elvis
There are International Markets all over the place. There was food from every country you can think of.
Hubby loved the Lucky Charms band.
The firetruck signifies the display of "hot sauce".
There were hundreds of different kinds.
After spending two hours or so in Jungle Jim's, Joan and Jeff wanted to take us someplace for lunch that screamed Ohio. Skyline Chili fit the bill.
Everything on the menu included chili. The waitress kindly helped Joan out with a bib.
We also stopped at the library - Hubby's request. And Jeff gave us a tour of Cincinnati.
After another delicious dinner, an evening of chatting, and breakfast, we reluctantly left for home.
Thus concluded our wild and crazy adventure.
87 gallons of gas
7 different hotels
41 State and Provinces License plates
37 CD's listened to....almost all local artists
4 vinyl records
2 great nights with friends
1 $%#% speeding ticket
1 very fine cowboy hat