Less than a mile from my office is Mary Campbell's Cave. The cave sits
on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, where the river makes it's almost 180 degree turn and
heads north to Lake Erie.
Cuyahoga means "crooked" in some Native American tongue.
Maybe from the Delawares or the Lenni Lenape. That was the tribe that kidnapped Mary
Campbell from a Pennsylvania settlement and brought her to the cave. She was one of the
first white people in the area. She was kidnapped in 1759.
If you'd like to read a brief version of her story, and see a picture
of the cave, you can go HERE
(Mary Campbell's Cave) and see where I spend my solitary moments.
We all should have a place to go and to think, or to meditate, or to
just go blank. I especially like the cave area and that part of the river.
I grew up only a mile or two from here, and we use to play on the banks
of the river and explore the caves, and retrieve balls that had found their way into the
I like the running water. The pristine area that is now a park. You can
almost see those tribes making their way along the banks of the Cuyahoga.
I hope you have such a place. A peaceful retreat to where you can shut
out the world. And be alone with your thoughts. And there are rocks and cliffs along the
Cuyahoga that you can still perch upon, and hardly see a person, even though the park is
teeming with visitors. I know all the good spots, been roosting on them since childhood.
Yesterday was my daughter's birthday. Today, was Chattel Day. Whew.
What a day. I owe some of you some stories, the "rest of the story" about some
of the Chattel Deals I had in progress. Most all went through just like I thought. No big
surprises. My 12 year old picked up 4 cameras for 2 bucks. She's a natural at this, what a
wheeler and dealer.
Oh, she's a talented little actress, and has been in several local
productions, I think she calls upon these skills when buying chattel. The kid is great.
Maybe I should do a video of her, Childish Selling for Adult Profits, hmmm.
Anyhow, after the excitement of birthdays and deals, I took a walk. To
Mary Campbell's Cave. I wondered what that little girl, Mary Campbell went through. What
those Delaware Indians went through. In 1759 this area was still experiencing tribal wars.
The Cuyahoga River makes a natural barrier, and from the "inside" part, where
the cave is, it makes a good fort.
The Delaware planted corn across the river. At what is now one of the
busiest retail places in America, the Chapel Hill Mall area. When I was a kid it was a
golf course. Me and Howie M. got our first holes in one on that golf course. I imagine it
grew some pretty good corn in it's time too.
There was an orchard, supposedly planted by ol Jon Chapman himself,
just east of the golf course. On top of the
hill that overlooks the Tallmadge valley.
I thought about all that today. As I was sitting in Mary's Cave. About
how far I had traveled, only to be so dang close to the start. I've had many adventures,
have lived an interesting life. Hope to keep it interesting. Never know what I'm going to
I've got some plans. Some MORE ideas. But one thing I'm going to do
more often, is visit Mary Campbell's Cave. Oh, I walk by it 3 or 4 times a week, but I
hardly ever stop. It is a common site. A local landmark that I take for granted. But I
heard a little girl, probably about Mary's age when she was abducted, say to her mom
today: "How did they sleep in the winter? Where did they cook the food?"
And about a 1000 other questions all in rapid fire. Mom didn't have any
answers. I helped a little. Being the wizened old local guy, who grew up with the story.
And the cave.
It made me think. About Mary. About the times gone by. How a golf
course became a shopping center. How a corn field became a golf course. How a field of
wild flowers, weeds, and grass, became a source of food to those that worked the land.
How time is continuous. and goes on. Like the water flows by the cave,
the same as it did in 1759. Or in 1259 or how it did so 2,000 years ago.
But now they are diverting water from the river. They (we) are altering
a force of Nature that has survived a millennium. Or two.
And as we face a millennium, how things change. So rapidly. So quickly.
How we can zip and zap ourselves around, in the speed of light, at the push of a button.
Just some thoughts I had today. While sitting in Mary Campbell's Cave.
I thought how I really enjoyed this weekend, playing tennis with the
kids, taking them shopping for birthday gifts. Watching candles being blown out by a young
lady where it seems like only yesterday a little girl stood.
Pretty amazing stuff. I loved watching my young work over the guy at
the garage sale, and saw how he was enjoying it too. He probably would have given those
cameras to her for nothing. But he enjoyed her performance. One of joy. One of finding a
treasure, and having it so UNaffordable, so out of her reach, and then to see the sparks
fly. Between a 12 year old kid, and a 70 year old grizzled veteran of the garage sales
war. He truly appreciated her keen interest in his stuff. He knew he was being played like
a harp, and he loved every minute of it.
When we left the man's driveway, he just looked at me and shook his
head, saying: "Most adults could learn a thing or two from that one".
He knew he had been had. That he "sacrificed" some of his
junk, that he could have gotten a few bucks more, if he had waited, if he had the patience
to deal with some "old fart" that was surly, telling him how worthless his stuff
was. He KNEW that.
And he chose to be taken. By a 12 year old kid that had PURE JOY after
making the transaction. She practically did cartwheels down the drive. And the old man was
beaming, the one that sold her the bargains, and the one that brought her along.
She was proud. And I was proud of her. 4 cameras for 2 bucks. She now
has quite a collection. But she won't open up the blue books. Won't even take a peek, for
FEAR she might find out what they are really worth. And that scares her. Because she might
then be tempted to cash them in. Turn them into gold.
She can. Anytime she wants. But she is having too much fun adding to
her collection. To her they are priceless. Each with a story of how she bargained, how she
bartered, how she used HER SKILLS to make the best deal possible. By being enthusiastic.
By being EXCITED.
By discovering TREASURES, not just looking through other people's junk.
She goes treasure hunting, that one. And she always find it.
It just PROVES one of my theories. You always find what you bring
I've had a FUN weekend. And I have thought a lot. And offered a few
prayers of gratitude, for what I already have. For what is right here and now.
And I said a prayer for Mary Campbell. The little girl that was stolen.
And lived in a cave. On the banks of the crooked river.
And that somehow ended a wonderful weekend. And at the same time gave
hope to a better tomorrow. One that comes all too soon.
I hope you have a place you can go, and think. Relax. Watch the world
unfold, and note your observation is also participation in it's own way.
So welcome all. Those of you that post, those that just look. If you
don't have a Mary Campbell's Cave near you. You can always come here.
Sit on the banks of the Idea River, watch as those ideas roll through.
Feel free to get your mud between your toes, or just enjoy the flow. Tomorrow is a day
that gets here all too fast.
With warm thoughts from the banks of the crooked river.