Mark's Feed Store, Louisville KY

Oh my. One of the highlights of last week's "writer's fun day" in Louisville, Kentucky, was the finale. At Mark's Feed Store in the Highlands neighborhood, close to where we stayed.
We were seated immediately and choose a second-floor indoor option because we obviously needed the exercise.
 I ordered the assortment of "slider" sandwiches of brisket, pork, and chicken, fried corn on the cob, and potato salad. I wasn't crazy about the potato salad, but everything else was excellent. But the best was yet to come.
Because it was our first "Mark's" experience, each of us were given a complimentary slice of buttermilk pie. I don't think I've ever had buttermilk pie before, but this was amazing.

Our server was wonderful, giving us each (because we were first-timers, again) a free bottle of barbecue sauce to take home. We felt like kings.

The Original Heine Brothers' Coffee Shop, Louisville KY

Last week's "writer's fun day" in Louisville, Kentucky, included a stop at The Original Heine Brothers' Organic Fair Trade Coffee Shop, which is conveniently connected to a Carmichael's Bookstore. Can't do better than that.
Heine Brothers’ opened their first location--this one--in October 1994 in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, KY, and now have thirteen shops and a mobile Airstream espresso bar in Louisville.

The coffee was good, the company was better, and I even got a blog post started with the help of my writerly friends. The location actually faces Longest Avenue (but is it--really?), but the address listed on their website is the same as Carmichael's Bookstore, 1295 Bardstown Road. Seems like a cozy arrangement, if you ask me.

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville KY

I know I've mentioned it before (here, for example), but I love locally-run independent bookstores, and I've come to know that a visit to Louisville, Kentucky, is not complete without a stop at a Carmichael's Bookstore (there are three locations in Louisville).
So for last week's little "writer's fun day" with a few writer-type friends, I was excited to visit one of the Bardstown Road locations (the other, just a half block away, is devoted to children's books). It was opened in April 1978 at 1582 Bardstown Road by Carol Besse and Michael Boggs (the store name is a combination of their first names), and has been owned and operated by them ever since. It is a family business in the best tradition. As the business grew, so did the number of family members involved, and the staff now includes a second generation.
I made a purchase, as I always try to do, that will remind me of this place. And could have spent the day. But, alas, they don't serve lunch at Carmichael's.

Steel City Pops, Louisville KY

Sometimes you're just in the mood for a $5 popsicle, right? Right? Well, on my recent visit to Louisville, Kentucky, I found out what that is like at Steel City Pops.
I had a delicious watermelon popsicle, straight up. I could have had several enhancements to it, such as dusting or drizzling. But I am a popsicle purist.

It was delicious, "made in small batches from the freshest, all-natural or certified organic ingredients, locally-harvested where possible" and sweetened with raw, organic cane sugar (according to the family business's website). But $5? I don't know.

We enjoyed it, though. The Louisville location can be found at 1021 Bardstown Road.

Jack Fry's, Louisville KY

On my recent "Writer's Fun Day" overnight retreat thing with a few writer friends in Louisville, Kentucky, I took the recommendation of a friend and took us to dinner at Jack Fry's in the Highlands/Cherokee Triangle area (whatever that means) of Louisville.  We were seated quickly, without a reservation, but the hostess graciously explained that our booth was spoken for at 7:30. She was probably worried, judging from my size, that I might need more than an hour and forty-five minutes for dinner.
The friend who recommended it said it's kind of expensive, and it was. After a glance at the menu I offered my friends a walk-out option, in which they could leave one at a time and I would stay behind for a couple minutes before telling the hostess that we weren't staying, but they said they would go with the flow.
It was a delicious meal, no doubt about it. I had the $30 crusted pork chop with other stuff, which you can see above. The chop was four or five inches thick, at least. Healthy pigs around there. And the company was pretty doggone good, too. We had a great meal together, and then perambulated outta there. It was just that kind of place. 

Jack Fry's is located at 1007 Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky. Tell them Bob sent you.

Charim Korean Restaurant, Louisville KY

Earlier this week, I met a few writer friends in Louisville, Kentucky, for a twenty-four-hour "Writer's Fun Day" (my first post about it is here). Our first stop, even before checking in to our lodgings at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, was Charim, a Korean restaurant in St. Matthews. Charim loosely translates to "the table is set," and it was.
None of us had eaten at a Korean restaurant before, but we are adventurous writers and gourmands, so we did the best we could. The appetizers (below) were fun and interesting.
After making sure with our server (whose English comprehension and expression seemed somewhat limited) that it would not be spicy, I ordered the bowl of something or other with chicken, and it was fresh and delicious.
Charim is located at 4123 Oechsli Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky.

Writers' Fun Day, Louisville KY

This past Tuesday and Wednesday I enjoyed a second annual (I think) "Writers' Fun Day" with a few working-writer-type friends (here's the post about last year's doings). Our lodgings was the beautiful Laws Lodge Conference Center on the campus of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in (you guessed it) Louisville, Kentucky.
On Tuesday afternoon, we took a walk around the well-appointed grounds--part of them, anyway.

Like the previous year, we made it to the chapel on the grounds, where Terry White favored us with a virtuoso session on the grand piano and pipe organ.
It was a beautiful afternoon to walk a little bit and talk a lot. A lot. About God, church, music, people, and a few other light subjects. A fine time with finestkind people. 

Bender Funeral, Mt. Vernon OH

It was a sad day and a happy day as I journeyed yesterday to The Salvation Army in Mount Vernon, Ohio, for the funeral of Major Wilmer Bender. Major and Mrs. Bender (that's her, above, greeting people before the service started) were my corps officers (pastors) at Cincinnati Citadel Corps, where they served from 1968-1974, if I remember correctly, and the whole family have been family to me since then.
Major Terry Wood (husband of the firstborn Bender, Susan) led the service, which also included tributes from Major Ron Dake, each of Major's children (Sue, Bob, and Bill), a vocal solo by granddaughter Danielle Bender, congregational singing, and more.
Family and friends from all over came to remember and honor this faithful man. I wiped away tears of grief and joy during the service.
A meal following the service gave me a fun chance to catch up with many friends, including the above crew, with whom I worshiped, served, and sometimes stayed out of trouble at Cincinnati Citadel (l to r, Major Gayle (Krider) Senak, Bill Bender, me, Jeanne (Kirby) Howard, Mrs. Major Helen Bender, Major Charlie Dietrick, Major Cathy (Kirby) Young, Major Susan (Bender) Wood, Major Bob Bender, Major Christine (Kirby) Dietrick). Many more good friends were there, and it was a joy--as it always is--to see the depth and blessedness of Salvation Army fellowship.

Reds Hall of Fame Grill at Kings Island

Last Saturday at Kings Island with my wife, the lovely Robin, and our daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids Calleigh, Ryder, and Avery, we stopped for dinner at the Reds Hall of Fame Grill, featuring Montgomery Inn wings, pulled pork, and ribs (Montgomery Inn is one of our favorite Cincinnati delicacies). Back when I used to bring Aubrey and Aaron to Kings Island every Friday, I would camp out in this location (when it was called "Wings") to write, and make the kids report back every couple hours (I think it started out as every hour, but they whined and complained until I agreed to every two hours). 
Like every Montgomery Inn location, this one has wonderful Reds and other sports memorabilia, including the above jerseys, a portion of the left field foul pole from Riverfront Stadium, game bats, etc. I had a gigantic bowl of chili (for $6.99!) and others had pulled pork, hamburger, chicken tenders, etc. Unlike any other Montgomery Inn location, the food wasn't to-die-for, but it was certainly good.

The Reds Hall of Fame Grill is located in "Rivertown" at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio.

Kings Island 2017, Mason OH

Back in the day (WAY back in the day), the lovely Robin and I held hands and rode rides as teenagers at Kings Island, the 364-acre amusement park northeast of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. In fact, I think I first visited (with my similarly redheaded friend, Chip Nance) soon after it opened in 1972. And, when my two children were in grade school and middle school, we bought season passes and visited about once a week. So it was a strange and wonderful experience to accompany our daughter, son-in-law, and three of our five grandchildren to Kings Island yesterday.
We arrived just after noon, after Avery and Calleigh had their first dance classes of the season (and Avery's first ever) in West Chester. Our first stops included the grand carousel, Old Coney, and the Eiffel Tower.

We eventually made it to Planet Snoopy (which used to be "Hanna-Barbera Land") and the kids rode ride after ride together.
What a blast it was watching Avery steer her first bumper car, around and around. And around.
Calleigh and Ryder took multiple rides on the smallest roller coaster.

We all had a blast, and stayed until the fireworks ended a little after 10 p.m. They wore us out. But it was worth every minute, and every lost brain cell from exhaustion.

Suite Night at Fifth Third Field, Dayton OH

I've had more baseball fun--and lived higher on the hog, so to speak--in the last couple months than ever before in my life, and last evening was just the latest episode.

The lovely Robin and I, along with our daughter Aubrey, son-in-law Kevin, grandchildren Calleigh, Ryder, and Avery, and our friends Patty and Ted, joined my friend Karl and his family and friends in a suite at Fifth Third Field, the home of the Dayton Dragons baseball club, a Class A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
It was a fine September night for baseball, punctuated by a full moon and a near-first-game-of-the-playoffs win for the Dragons. Alas, the game was lost, 3-2, in the ninth inning, but boy was it fun. The home plate umpire, Robert Nunez, sang his strike calls, operatically. At first the others in our party didn't believe me when I told them the sound was coming from the ump, but I finally got them to notice it. So fun. And the grandkids even got to see themselves on the big screen.
And the suite was sweet. Free pizza, hot dogs, burgers, cookies, fruit, and drinks, and fine company. And, as you see in the photo above, the grandkids loved sitting (and, despite frequent admonitions, rolling around) on the baseball-shaped stools.

Thanks again, Karl, for a wonderful experience.

Richmond Road Baptist Church, Hamilton OH

What a warm welcome the lovely Robin and I (and our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren) enjoyed this morning at Richmond Road Baptist Church, just around the corner from our house.
We have many friends who have known and loved this church over the years, but we had attended only a memorial service there, a few years ago.
We were there for our friend Pastor Dewey Hughes's first Sunday as the new pastor of the church. We were welcomed personally by at least a half dozen people who recognized us as newcomers (I don't think it was hard at all). The choir sang and led singing on a couple hymns (above).
Two special musical numbers were sung by the composer, whose name I didn't catch (above). 
And Pastor Dewey delivered an outstanding message on "Rebuilding" from Nehemiah. Though we've been friends for more than a dozen years, I'd never heard him speak before, and I'm glad to say it was a great blessing. He "rightly divided the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15), presented strong applicational points, and struck a perfect balance throughout. 
Best of all, the response he had planned to his message invited practical and meaningful participation, and the congregation's reaction was moving and enthusiastic. We left refreshed and optimistic, and committed to praying for this church (which I've been doing already for a while now, as this post on another blog explains). 

Richmond Road Baptist Church is located at 2170 Hamilton-Richmond Rd., in Hamilton, Ohio.