I was supposedly on vacation but actually I was on a mission to stick it to The Man. One of my high school classmates, Tim, was spearheading the Occupy Georgetown movement and I headed to southeast Ohio to help out.
Tim thought the town of 3,786 needed occupying because he was sick of seeing fat cat farmers parading the town square in fresh-bib overalls and new John Deere caps. Tim, a typical radical college professor, is so anti-capitalist he gets $130 a year from the government for not growing crops.
By the time I reached the demonstration site, Tim and I decided to occupy the town’s only open tavern. Aside from its rustic furnishings – the bathroom facilities had handles instead of sensors – it felt like Forest Park. When they didn’t switch the TV to the World Series, we moved the protest to Tim’s rural home.
Apart from transforming the US economy, my other goals were to be named “Best Houseguest” and to win the Georgetown Open. When my only competitor couldn’t make the trip, my odds of success greatly increased. I wasn’t taking any chances, though, cooking my famous chicken enchiladas for Tim and his wife.
The next day, we revisited the place where I had single-handedly started the original Occupy movement, in 1973. My niece and nephew, who were checking out colleges, joined us on the campus of Xavier University. I showed them Room 603, of Kuhn Hall, which I had occupied for six weeks. During that sojourn, I didn’t attend class, because I wasn’t enrolled but I did get a job through the student-placement office. After damaging my boss’ car in a fender bender, I was forced to flee town.
We returned to Tim’s house to rest up for the Georgetown Open. It was played the next morning at Buttermilk Falls. Tim was a last-minute scratch, so I was the only player in the field. Buttermilk’s nine-hole championship layout didn’t feature a single sand trap but I kept discovering hidden water hazards. Normally, my 52 wouldn’t have stood up but this seemed to be my year.
I celebrated back at Tim’s house, where we sat on rocks in the middle of Dry Run Creek, gazing at things I rarely see – like hills. If Tim’s property was in Illinois, it would be designated a state park. At night, I saw something that I forgot existed: Tim said they were stars.
Finally, we had to do some business. I was scheduled to speak to students at Tim’s college. I usually encourage them to drop out and find some place to occupy. But, this year, I tried to give the news-writing students some hope. I told them there were many jobs waiting for them and that nothing beats the excitement of covering the fireworks at a library board meeting.
John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.