Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Hundreds of Narcan doses used in 2016 Heavy weekend rain causes flooding and damaged roads Child Focus hosts Chamber of Commerce meeting Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures

Hiking boots, coyote calls & memories

Hiking boots, coyote calls, and enduring memories — those are just a scant few things that vacation conjures up in my brain, and those things are on my brain a lot lately as we prepare to set off on this year’s family adventure.

I’m very fortunate that my younger years were full of travel. I’ve seen a little bit of Canada and Mexico, most of the Caribbean, and a large portion of our United States.

This summer, my family and I are heading into New England. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be able to color in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut on that map I’ve kept since childhood. And I’m pretty thrilled too that my husband and I are able to show our kids something other than what’s right here.

There is so much to see and do right here in our own state, and we do go see and do right here, but that’s not really vacation to me. Those are long weekends, little getaways.

For some, vacation means going to a resort on beloved sandy shores, for others, it may mean staying home and not answering the phone for a week.

To me, vacation means being confined to the car for too-long hours and watching the scenery change in between reading sessions and naps and rest stops.

It means parking your fanny at a picnic table at a rest area to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that you put together out of the trunk of the car (because that’s where you have to keep the cooler because the kids have the backseat jam-packed).

It’s seeing something, a part of the country that is so different from your own neck of the woods, and buying post cards to send to the poor souls back home.

It’s the bickering that ensues from the days on end of too-close quarters and all that melting away in two shakes of a lamb’s tail when you stand as a family in front of some spectacular site.

Our family loves the outdoors, and our vacations reflect that.

Our travels mean that we pack more hiking boots than sandals, and more light-weight cargo pants than nice slacks (does anyone call nicer pants slacks anymore, or did I just do a little throwback to my beloved Granny?).

We’ve talked about cruises. We’ve talked about Disney World, and even LEGOLAND, but we always come back to the natural things that we can explore and at the end of the day, reminisce about over a campfire.

I love that. And I think it’s good for the kids, too.

Last year we were in South Dakota. In one day we did the touristy stuff – stood in front of Mount Rushmore, drove the loop in Custer State Park, and marveled at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

While those things were splendid and absolutely worth seeing, it was our four days in the Badlands where our family shared and bonded as we kept a vigilant watch for rattlesnakes, trudged through washed-smooth valleys, and climbed craggy peaks to take in a stunning view of protected grasslands that stuck with us all the most.

We tried to camp on that trip, but God had other plans for us. What the locals called a “normal” summer storm for the area, we regarded as rather mighty. And when the heavens were through unleashing, we took down our newly erected tents and promptly rented a cabin.

One of my enduring memories is the lonely sounds of coyotes in the wee hours of a South Dakota night as I made my way to the bathroom, all alone and wondering how secure I really was should a few of those animals decide to come onto the campgrounds.

You know, on that first night after hearing those coyotes yipping and howling, I sat in the dark on the porch swing of our cabin trying to find out from the all-knowing Google just what these canines might be up to. And as spooky and scary as it was in the dark, under all those stars, and hearing those calls from all directions, it was an encounter well worth having.

It’s something I would not have witnessed had we stayed in a hotel. And a lot of our experiences are tied to where we chose to lay our heads every night.

That’s what we like. And that’s what was in our thoughts as we planned this year’s vacation.

And we are doing the same thing this year, only without the tents, as we make our way through New England, and a little smidge of Canada. There’s something to be said for a sturdy rooftop above your head when you don’t quite know what a “normal” storm for the area you’re in brings.

When I was 13 years old, my younger cousin and I accompanied my maternal grandmother and our aunt on a road trip to California.

We dragged a pop-up camper with us across the country and back again. Gone for about a month, we stopped here and there along the way, and even spent a week in the Grand Canyon just hiking around and exploring.

That vacation has always stuck with me, and it wasn’t centered so much on a particular destination. Each place we stopped was a destination, and all those experiences have stayed with this girl.

Whatever vacation might mean to you, may you enjoy it, may you have safe travels, may you venture off the beaten path from time to time, and no matter what, may you take away with you those enduring memories.

Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.

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2016 News Democrat