It’s spring break in Forest Park. Whether you’re enjoying a “staycation” or getting out of town, it’s a chance to renew your spirit. I was lucky enough to get away to that spring break hotspot, Cincinnati.
My high school friend, Tom, and I drove down to see our old cross-country teammate, Tim. Being totally crazy dudes, with full-time jobs, we didn’t get out of Forest Park until 7 p.m., arriving at Tim’s remote farmhouse at 3 a.m.
This didn’t stop us from partying till 5 a.m. It was like being in college again, or in my case, crashing in a dorm room until the authorities removed me.
The next day, we cruised down country roads looking for action. Unfortunately, cold temperatures kept the crowds away from the beaches along the Ohio River. So, we took a ferry across to an historic pub in Augusta, Ky.
Imagine our dismay when we saw the handwritten sign in the window: “Closed due to economic downturn.”
This forced us to motor to another historic pub to watch March Madness. This was followed by feasting on Tom’s homemade pizza, while listening to Tim’s vintage vinyl. I was ready to call it a night at 1 a.m., but we continued the insanity all the way to 2 a.m.
We went completely off the rails the next night; playing Scrabble and listening to Tim’s wife, Peg, sing selections from “My Fair Lady.” It was otherwise quiet at night and the only light came from a sky full of stars.
What a contrast to Forest Park. My neighbors have so many motion-activated lights; it feels like I’m trying to scale the Berlin Wall every time I take out the garbage.
Speaking of the Cold War, we finally had to get serious so that I could address Tim’s history class in the persona of pioneer broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. I’d never seen so many blank faces during my talk before. Was it their failure to read the material, or the fact that my fake cigarettes weren’t working?
The next morning Tom and I returned north. I may have been back in Forest Park but my spirit was still spring breaking.
I grabbed my son and we hit all of our favorite haunts – shooting pool at Circle Lanes and pounding drives against the back wall of Bushwood’s golf dome.
Later, we went to Skrine’s Chops. For meat and potatoes men like us, the menu is ideal. You get a sizzling pork chop and a mound of smashed potatoes. That’s it. No strange or confusing colors on your plate.
That’s when I decided that spring break isn’t just an activity, it’s an attitude. It’s a time to reach out to old friends and get reacquainted with local businesses. Because the last thing we want to see in Forest Park is a sign like we read at that pub in Augusta.